Design Inspirations with Maria Scarpulla.

Design Inspirations with Maria Scarpulla.

Questioning the obvious.

A painter and designer of binational heritage, Maria Scarpulla combines the blue and red of her American and Italian roots with the minimalism and functionality of her chosen home base Belgium. From her studio in Ghent, she creates objects that are utilities as much as they are works of art. A table, for instance, can be a place for working, eating or gathering.

And this is the bottom line of Maria’s work. “When designing an object, I start questioning its obvious functionality,” says the artist. The object becomes “as alterable as its many uses.” Read on for her interpretation of ‘Good design is as little design as possible.’

Maria Scarpulla furniture piece
A furniture piece from Maria’s ‘You Know the Way, Right?’ collection.

All about personality.

To Maria, a good designer is someone whose style conveys a sense of personality, especially to an audience of strangers. What she values most about design work is simplicity. If an object can “easily be integrated into a space in its purest form,” it is a job well done. Maria works with local craftspeople exclusively, and every piece she makes is one-of-a-kind, the only one in the world like it.

Maria Scarpulla with Braun Audio
Tattooed on Maria’s arm is her logo: A bird-like drawing inspired by her father’s kite design, representing freedom and artistic expression.

The spirit of music.

Maria sees music as a source of inspiration: “I love listening to music when freestyling in the studio. [Its] zeitgeist can, perhaps unconsciously, lead to an interesting idea for a design.” Although she can’t pinpoint the exact origins of her ideas, emphasising they can “burst out when you least expect it,” music is always linked to her emotions and creativity. Check our Maria’s ‘Sounds that Inspire’ over on Spotify:

Good design is as little design as possible.

Maria’s interpretation of Dieter Rams’ principle is that a design “often starts from no more than a sketch,” and that this simplicity should be maintained. She states that “every generation can use [his 10 principles] as building blocks” because “every generation has a task to perform, and each part of the quest is to find what that task is.” Maria takes pleasure in seeing an object come to life, that moment, after all the trial and error, when “everything comes together.

Braun Audio x Maria Scarpulla

Looking for more inspiration? Check out Sebastian Bergne’s take on “Good design is understandable.”