FENIX’s Design Duo Double Feature Project Questions the Concept of Duality

05.06.24 | By
FENIX’s Design Duo Double Feature Project Questions the Concept of Duality

It is often said that good things come in pairs. “I have always been fascinated by how, in architecture and design to a greater extent than in other disciplines, a number of creative duos are active,” says Federica Sala, Milan Design Week 2024’s Design Duo Double Feature curator. “A creative couple, whether their relationship is purely professional or also extends to their private lives, has to perfect the difficult art of dialogue and mediation in order to successfully combine the input of two different minds in a single design solution.”

It’s with the concept of duality and balance in mind that FENIX®, the innovative materials brand created for interior design by Arpa Industriale, set out to research the potential of that characteristic in materials and surfaces. Design Duo Double Feature invited six pairs of designers to create something with the brand’s dual-use furnishing elements, created by combining FENIX materials with other surfaces produced by Broadview Holding brands Arpa®, Formica®, and Homapal®.

Federica Sala

“To illustrate the exceptional versatility of FENIX, either alone or in combination with other materials, we decided to multiply the number of minds involved in the project to encourage lateral thinking and, consequently, double projects: in form, function, [and] transformation,” she shares.

Selected by Sala, international design teams CARA \ DAVIDE, DWA Design Studio, Martinelli Venezia, Næssi Studio, mist-o, and Zanellato/Bortotto accepted the opportunity to work with FENIX to explore its functionality, transformability, mobility, versatility, and sustainability. In the end, each pair devised an original design solution focused on duality through experimentation with the product and its capabilities.

1-2 many by mist-o

1-2 many by studio mist-o

Three colorful, sculptural structures with a tiled appearance emphasize repetition and the material’s beauty and versatility. Tommaso Nani and Noa Ikeuchi divided FENIX Giallo Evora, Azzurro Naxos, and Verde Kitami panels into 6mm-thick tile-like squares with metal joints. The volumes’ intended use is open-ended.

“We decided to interpret the concept of duality by starting from the single element, accentuating how when taken individually, it holds only limited significance, whereas duplicating and multiplying lends it a fresh relevance,” say Nani and Ikeuchi.

1-2 many + mist-o



Two chairs or one? You decide. Ambo explores the dichotomy of togetherness and solitude, finding the solution in a seat that’s created by joining two chairs that fit together perfectly. Whether used together as one or functioning separately, they retain their unique duality.

“Despite being part of a unified whole, the two individual pieces resist the urge to conform by resembling one another, and instead each maintains its own distinctive character, which is further accentuated when separated,” say Cara Judd and Davide Gramatica.

Bold use of color and the use of two materials – Arpa Rosa Shade in Kèr finish and FENIX Giallo Evora – further show off Ambo’s characteristics. The addition of TUET Galea Rosa and Galea Giallo adds a wavy effect to the exterior surfaces for further dimension.


Duo by Zanellato/Bortotto

Duo by Zanellato/Bortotto

This double rocking chair must be used by a pair to achieve the perfect tension and balance, supporting one another in the process. A study of the professional relationship between the two designers, Giorgia Zanellato and Daniele Bortotto, conveys comparisons, imbalances, and agreements – some of the stages found in the creative process.

Duo consists of two rigid FENIX shells held under tension by nautical rope stays. The structure of the seat itself, made of FENIX Blu Shaba, is paired with Formica Laminate F9229 Dark Sky Birchply for the base.

“Working as a pair demands a dialogue that allows us to achieve a goal. Equally, this duality also helps to support one another and to remain in a constant balance in which the meeting point in between is always the solution. In much the same way, this seat only reaches its stability and comfort if used by two people at once,” says Zanellato and Bortotto.

Duo + Zanellato/Bortotto

Inbetween by Næssi Studio

Inbetween by Næssi Studio

Inbetween’s structure features two sides, one to display and one to contain. One side is designed to display personal items that belong inside the house, and the other to hold everything from the outside world.

The materials used also underline the theme of duality. FENIX Rosso Askja, a matte shade, is juxtaposed with Homapal Copper Stratos Diagonal, a multicolored metallic surface.

“It is a double-sided piece of furniture that inhabits the domestic space thanks to its two functions: on one side, an open storage unit facing the interior of the home, and on the other, a backdrop with a mirror directed at the entrance of the house,” say the designers.

Inbetween + Næssi Studio

Match by Martinelli Venezia

Match by Martinelli Venezia

The Match table interprets duality through color, functionality, and fun. Its design is reminiscent of a classic dining table, while the central “fold” in the tabletop transforms it into a ping pong table!

The tabletop, base, and ping pong paddles use two FENIX colors, Bianco Malé and Rosso Namib. Match’s “net” was created by bending FENIX, whose versatility can also create softer shapes.

“Our goal was to offer a new vision of this multi-feature material, and the theme of the curve seemed to us [to be] an interesting point of view,” say Carolina Martinelli and Vittorio Venezia. “The two alternate colors we used highlight the concept of duality, which is disclosed in the object in a game of dynamic contrasts: function/dysfunction, conviviality/rivalry, and formal/informal.”

Match + Martinelli Venezia

Theia by DWA Design Studio

Theia by DWA Design Studio

Named for the mythological Greek goddess of light and guardian of treasures, Theia displays and theatrically illuminates precious objects as a floor lamp and a storage unit.

With its U-shape, Theia highlights the brand’s mastery of creating original shapes using different surfaces. Here, FENIX is combined with Homapal materials, creating duality through a contrast of colors and lights. Externally, the lamp has a shell in FENIX Viola Orissa, while internally, the reflective finish of Homapal’s Plex Copper creates a color contrast that adds depth.

“At first glance, it exudes a warm light that envelops the surrounding space, but from up close, its hidden charm becomes apparent – a cabinet ensconced in its recess that offers considerable space to hold objects that deserve attention,” say Frederik De Wachter and Alberto Artesani.

Theia + DWA Design Studio


Installation by Studioboom

The Design Duo Double Feature installation links indoor and outdoor spaces through a single white three-dimensional geometric shape made in FENIX. The volume weaved in and out of the showroom’s display windows, guiding visitors through the experience. Serving as a backdrop for the creations, the installation highlighted the color combinations and the materials’ tactile properties.

To learn more about the Design Duo Double Feature exhibition, visit

Kelly Beall is Director of Branded Content at Design Milk. The Pittsburgh-based writer and designer has had a deep love of art and design for as long as she can remember, from Fashion Plates to MoMA and far beyond. When not searching out the visual arts, she's likely sharing her favorite finds with others. Kelly can also be found tracking down new music, teaching herself to play the ukulele, or on the couch with her three pets – Bebe, Rainey, and Remy. Find her @designcrush on social.