Emmanuel Babled is known for his persistent efforts at translating traditional manufacturing into contemporary design. “Glass from Venice, marble from Carrara, wood from Denmark, bronze casting from Lombardy, lava from Sicily…. Our studio works with artisans from different regions in Europe. They carry a very precious knowledge”, says Emmanuel Babled who has made it his mission to promote these crafts both through his designs and with the help of high tech production methods. "Many of these crafts have been passed from generation to generation, and this expertise is an essential part of the unique identity of certain regions of Europe”, says the passionate designer, who sees Europe more as a collection of regions than as a continent with separate countries.

Linking territorial skills in this way, Babled Design Studio actually personalizes this year’s Palazzo Litta theme ‘Linking Minds’ – the studio being the link between artisans in several European regions, and the worldwide market. Likewise Emmanuel Babled spends a lot of time visiting the places where his work is being produced – “90% of it is done in Italy, where our roots lie” – because he believes immersion is important. He can often be spotted at marble quarries and in glassblowing workshops and consequently has a profound knowledge of how his design objects are made. And not just that: “When I fly back home, my head is full of all kinds of ideas about future projects. These all enveloping visits are very good for inspiration. Everything in life starts with immersion.”

DEN chair, Render, Design Emmanuel Babled, Production TORART
It is Babled’s ambition to find an international market for invaluable European crafts: people who appreciate high-end craftsmanship and who are ready to pay the right price for it. He translates it into the kind of work on view at Palazzo Litta: a table with inlaid enamelled lava stone from Sicily, together with a wall installation of the same material, a Carrara marble chair on a Rose marble foot from Portugal, and an elegant super light Carrara marble hanging lamp. “My work might speak to a niche market, but worldwide this niche is quite big. I am against the contemporary trend of producing as cheaply and in the largest number possible. We need less stuff - what we do need though is things that are sustainable and sacred. Age old crafts are the personification of this.”

Babled, who recently moved to Lisbon, is about to set up a creative hub attached to his studio in his new hometown and having his strong belief in the value of craft as its backbone. This new Babled project aims to become a living platform for international researchers, designers, producers and schools, all applying the same approach to crafts and design. It aspires to be a linking force between the crafts and professional creatives.

Supernova, Render, Design Emmanuel Babled, Production TORART
The work of Babled Design Studio is on view 4-9 April under the 17th century arcades of Palazzo Litta, Corso Magenta 24 in Milan.

TORART in Carrara, Italy, Production of the light Supernova
Etna craters and lava caves in Sicily, Italy
TORART in Carrara, Italy, Production of the light Supernova
Extraction of lava stone blocks from the volcano Etna in Sicily, Italy