Ulap Design is a contemporary design company based in Italy and founded by Cristiana Tumedei (born in Forlí, 1986) and Andrea Pregl (born in Rovereto, 1975) in 2017. Befitting the contemporary zeitgeist, the duo originally crossed paths on Instagram; what began as a mutual appreciation for each others’ digital content morphed into a partnership in both life and work. Tumedei comes from a communications and consulting background; she graduated from the University of Bologna in 2008 with a degree in International and Diplomatic Sciences before working for a range of clients on a freelance basis. Pregl’s background is in graphic design and visual arts; he first attained a degree in Graphic and Visual Design, specializing in photography and cinematography, graduating in 1997 before going on to study painting at the Academy of Fine Art in Bologna. Ulap Design is based in Ledro, in the Trentino region of northern Italy, an area that is renowned for its woodcrafts.
Ulap’s mission focuses on using contemporary design to promote sustainable practices and ancient craftsmanship; the studio is committed to developing design objects, furniture, and accessories that subscribe to the Made in Italy ethos. The designers have a strong preference for natural materials and combine this with a clean, fresh, and playful design aesthetic. The Kimmo Shelf (2017) is a neat microcosm of what Ulap is all about: it’s a multi-purpose shelf constructed of impeccable, solid wood ends—in maple, cherry, oak, or walnut—and high quality elastic straps that give the piece a lighthearted touch, all produced locally with artisans and Italian suppliers. Similarly, the Yem Bird Feeder (2017) was developed in close cooperation with local artisans in Trentino—including a carpenter, wood turner, and blacksmith—to produce a sleek, refined silhouette that stands out because of the quality materials, workmanship, and bright color palette.
The duo have also been involved in more directly ecological projects. Before establishing Ulap, they designed the Plum Gun (2016), a device that picks the fruit of a heritage plum variety and 'shoots' the stone out where it can germinate and contribute to the renewal of this traditional Italian tree. The innovative design won first prize in the Ultra (Fake) Violet contest in Centrale Fies, Italy.