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We gathered a roomful of design connoisseurs at Jimmy on the rooftop of the James Hotel last Thursday for our first Design Dialogues event, featuring Italian design legends—and longtime friends—Piero Lissoni and Giulio Cappellini. It became clear early on in the evening that the two men are a study in contrasts, Cappellini’s ebullience tempered by Lissoni’s soft-spoken reserve. During a brief conversation before the proceedings began, Cappellini quipped, “I like to play with Piero when he comes to see the prototypes. He likes very pure colors like grey, and beige, and white. And I show him everything in orange; I cannot live without color!”

The pair’s distinct sensibilities became even more evident during the discussion itself. When asked to consider the future of design, Cappellini was hopeful, citing Brooklyn as a favorite hub for young talent and joking about scouring the fairs to find “the next Piero Lissoni.” Lissoni countered with reservations about the increasingly technology-driven design process and culture of ‘celebrity designers,’ reminding the rapt audience, “True design is passion. There has to be blood in it.”