Gianluca Mingolla

The MADE NORTH Gallery presents new and experimental work by established and emerging northern designer/makers. We aim to promote a range of northern designer/makers and provide opportunities to find out a little bit more about how they work and their sources of inspiration.

Soundwave Table — Combination of traditional craft skills and digital production

Gianluca is a recent graduate from the Manchester school of art where he studied Three Dimensional Design.

He is passionate about furniture design and developed a comprehensive understanding of material, design processes and manufacturing techniques. Gianluca combines traditional craft skills with innovative technologies in his work, allowing him to maintain meticulous attention to detail and high quality of output. This has enabled him to design and make furniture that pushes the boundaries of the handmade. Having discovered the relevance of craftsmanship making in an era where the future is digital, he has been inspired to translate these findings through a personal and individual approach to design.

Featured Maker Interview

Soundwave Table

Who or what inspired you to become a designer/maker?
I have always been interested and passionate about art & design from a young age, throughout my degree I established my passion for furniture design and was constantly inspired by designer-makers and manufacturers who have been able to professionally combine craft with rapid prototyping, an ambition I will always strive towards. I set myself specific future ambitions and discovered which fellow designers I aspired to follow. Such as manufacturers De La Espada and linked designers Matthew Hilton and Benjamin Hubert.

How would you describe your work?
At University I set myself the task to pin point the necessity of skilled craftsmanship making within today’s digital era. This grew into a fascination that led to an in depth exploration between craft and technology creating a blend that moved beyond the limitations of the handmade, yet celebrated traditional skills. I strived to develop this balance which is now core to my making process.

mcr serving set.
Manchester serving set

Where are you based? Please describe your studio.
I am currently based in Manchester city centre, since graduating I have been working full time in Manchester as a freelance designer/maker for 24 Design and Ferrious. In the past months I have extremely enjoyed my current work role, the opportunities and projects I have been a part of have proven to be a valuable beginning to my future career which I am and always will be grateful for. I currently share a studio with a small group of fellow past graduates from the Manchester school of art, as we have all embarked on diverse work roles we are all able to inspire and support each other when necessary.

What piece of work are you most pleased or proud of, and why?
I am most probably pleased with my London by Night table, a perfectly proportioned table celebrating traditional skills complimented by CNC and laser work. The considered use of machined hardwoods, attention to details, laser etched surface come together beautifully.

The surface feature, a carefully selected laser etched city map, makes the table complete. The subtleness of the etching makes it look unlike standard laser etching where the wood looks burnt and stark. In this table I wanted to showcase my brand of embracing the blend between my traditional skills and innovative technologies. So that the table becomes a talking point to celebrate the craftsmanship and digital technologies. I can then close the distance between the maker and the user.

London by Night.2


Above images show the London by Night Table

What is the most satisfying part of the work you do?
My ambition was to craft this fascinating surface in a way that didn’t look like it had been accomplished with a laser. It was important to retain the image’s intricate details and also keep a practical, functional surface so I worked hard on developing the right lasering parameters. As mentioned previously, the choice of materials was crucial, the Maple’s close grain has the perfect characteristics to suit this technique.

It enabled me to achieve a subtlety that one doesn’t associate with laser work. One of the most satisfying aspects of my work is when the members of the public question the textured pattern on a regular basis, at times linking it to an organic trail growing from the centre, or the beautiful irregular veins present in marble. It is only when they take a closer look that they begin to recognise the city map due to the familiar landmarks such as the river Thames flowing through the centre of the table.

What would be your dream project?
My dream project would be to work alongside De La Espada, which would enable me to access their dedicated factory located near the silver coast in Portugal. There I would have the opportunity to work alongside their highly skilled craftspeople who combine noble materials, traditional joinery, handcraft and advanced technology to realise each design to the highest standard, they also set out to push the boundaries of what can be achieved with solid wood.

Tables textures and patterns

When you’re not working what do you like to do?
When I’m not working freelance I am also a bar manager at a city centre nightclub, I believe to work well and in fact enjoy working within a busy and fast paced environment, providing me with the ability and willingness to work late nights & weekends. I also devote my spare time to the martial art of Muay Thai to which I am extremely dedicated to and have been for several years. It has given me the self discipline and respect I apply to day to day basis.

What does the north of England mean to you?

Having being born and raised in Bedford with a strong Italian heritage I will always consider the south as home but Manchester and the north is now my home away from home. I have lived here for the past four years and I can’t see myself leaving any time soon. I have high aspirations and future ambition and I honestly do believe the north is the perfect platform to enable me to achieve them.


See and buy a Gianluca’s work in the MADE FRESH exhibition
MADE FRESH Talk & PV on 17th April, 6pm-9pm. 
RSVP here

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