JCP Universe is an eclectic brand that aims to change the design status quo in a revolutionary way. The brainchild of a radical think tank held in Milan in 2015, JCP was conceived by architect Livio Ballabio and is orchestrated by CTRLZAK studio art direction. A fusion between art and design, the brand’s creations blend classic and contemporary style in a surprising new idiom that defies the norms.
Founder of JCP Universe, Livio Ballabio has been introduced to design by his tutor Raffaella Crespi, known as “the custodian of the Italian design”. An inspirational designer and architect with a degree in industrial design from the ‘Politecnico di Milano’ Livio is also the son of furniture makers. Grounded in this typical Italian know-how, Livio started experimenting and learning new skills through partnerships with the academic and manufacturing world (Cappellini International, Paola Navone and Rodolfo Dordoni to mention few).
Currently CEO and Creative Director of few iconic furniture companies he his working hand to hand with CTRLZAK studio challenging and disrupting the traditional norms of Italian design. Leading the artistic direction of JCP Universe, CTRLZAK brings to the brand its hybrid approach integrating different disciplines and cultures. CTRLZAK founders, Katia Meneghini and Thanos Zakopoulos, are both artists and designers in their own right. The Italian-Greek duo’s creations are inspired by their travels and experiences around the world and by their own rich cultural backgrounds. The studio creates artworks, objects and spaces but– above all– situations and experiences where people can come together in order to make what really matters: human relations.
Under the artistic direction of CTRLZAK, JCP Universe draws upon their extensive research into traditional know-how, heritage, cultural contextualisation and artistic expression. Experimenting with diverse methods of narration, CTRLZAK uses irony and symbolism to go beyond aesthetics and functionality, in order to activate mechanisms of reflection. JCP Universe is a brand that inhales the future and exhales the past; JCP Universe is a brand that uses design craftsmanship and know-how as a propellant to bring traditional design to science fictional future. Elevating functionality of design, JCP Universe creates cathartic experiences where objects are stargates to the future. Every piece evokes memories that overcome the sense of time. Design stories that make you reflect on their true meaning while giving life to creations of worlds unseen. JCP is an imaginative universe that transforms normality by encouraging to reflect on our own way of life, here on Earth.
“The unique objects featured go beyond mere aesthetics, trends and common taste promising to transform everyday life”
JCP Universe is home to excellence and cross-disciplinarity. While CTRLZAK’s creations have been selected by institutions like MOMA, the Louvre and the Venice Art Biennale, JCP Universe can boast some of the most daring names in the design scene. Like Nanda Vigo, a risk-taker pioneer of design vanguard and close friend of maverick artists of the likes of Lucio Fontana, Enrico Castellani and Piero Manzoni. Architect, designer and artists her work has been revolving around the idea of the conflict/harmony between light and space. So it is her SUN-RA lighting system for JCP Universe, reminiscent of ancient Egypt symbolism. Italian young talent Matteo Cibic, on the other hand, brings his eclectic vision for anthropomorphic shapes and fantastic features to create a series of limited editions that can be easily imagined as the first interiors of our not-to-far-away life on Mars.
JCP Universe transforms interiors into time-travelling machines, where time, space and light take the shapes of artefacts with distinct functionality. This is the case of Sam Baron’s PREFLECT set of bookshelves-cabinets where one can display unconventional objects to intensify their uniqueness. Influenced by the Middle Ages and Renaissance ‘gravures’ about perspectives and ideal spaces, the project combines geometry with optical illusion and depth of research. Thanks to the mirrored surfaces’ reverberation, any collectable item placed in it are multiplied. Made of a thin metal structure and starting from an imaginary perspective, the cabinet’s lines with a grained black finish evoke an architectural drawing where all the outlined surfaces are completely covered with super-mirror panels. Using JCP Universe’s new design language: “they need new mirrors more than they need strange new worlds, to find aliens”.