Lorenzo Martone On The Art of Cycling
Lorenzo Martone has certainly made a name for himself in his celeb-packed milieu, frequenting not a few star studded events and parties. Where he has really made his mark, though, is in the worlds of fashion, communications and most importantly here, cycling. Having moved to Paris and realised the potential for cycling the city’s vast network of streets as an effective means of transportation, the Brazilian-born entrepreneur set his sights on designing city bikes that would merge style and function in an effortless, chic union. The result was the fantastic, dynamic Martone Cycling Co, whose range includes stylish accessories, lights and unique iPhone cases. Even if you are ambivalent to bike aesthetics in general, just a quick glance at their new campaign will instantly expose you to a new level of superiority in bike design and form that is difficult to forget. I wanted to find out what was behind this committed passion for bike design, as well as Martone’s thoughts on cycling as an art and an enduring, ever-popular pursuit. His answers didn’t disappoint.
I suppose the first question to ask is, why cycling? Is this a passion that started early in life or something that has developed?
Biking to me has been until 2012 just a hobby – or better saying – my preferred way of transportation. I lived in Paris from 2004 till 2008 and used my bike a LOT to go to school. I guess I had that dream of becoming a french man and carrying a baguette in the basket kind of thing. When I moved to New York I kept peddling around to go to work and dinners and just being social and I realized how biking truly is a life style. But it was only in 2012 I had the idea of designing a bike both functional, focused on city life style but also beautiful – considering 4 months of the year we can’t bike in NY due to lots of snow / storms – which results in the bike being in the living room. It was groundbreaking to me to be able to work on an idea that was already part of my lifestyle. Really energizing!
Lorenzo, it is clear that both function and design are key concepts to your Martone Cycling range. Would you say that one ever inhibits the other, or do they go hand in hand in this case?
I think they help each other – because every decision we make have to both respect our aesthetics but also a bunch of legalities – you can’t have a bike made of lucite or feathers – It has to agree with norms and that initially limited my creativity – but nowadays I’m more familiar with them so it works as a catalyst – We design an everyday project but we elevate it – we make biking stylish by adding a subdued angle here and there. By using painting technics from the car industry ( gold metallic or Matte black and gray for instance ). My goal is to change the streets of the capitals of the world – I want to make them happier, more colorful, more impactful. Architecture is years ahead of biking – there are gorgeous buildings everywhere. But the streets are ugly – you walk around and its dull. Martone Cycling Co. has this objective: to bridge design x fashion x biking. It hasn’t been done before and I believe we occupy a pretty special place in the industry.
Men’s Regard €1100,00
Cycling certainly seems to be a hobby or activity that has transcended so many decades and eras, despite ever-changing technology and developing transportation mediums, why do you think this is?
I’m glad you point it out – in my modest opinion, its because its a perfect design, a perfect product. Thats why it has survived so many years and still is a favorite of smart people that understand the power of biking into development. It’s clean, it’s quiet, it doesn’t use oil or gas, it brings exercise and fitness into your everyday life and it’s sustainable. A good quality bike, if well taken care of, lasts 10 years or more. What transportation methods out there can say the same? Not many. The multiple layers of biking are so positive it transcends generations and I strongly believe its the solution to transportation to many cities around the world !
Do you find that cycling is conducive to experiencing a certain spatial freedom in often busy and bustling places, a sense of liberty that is not available by other modes of travel or experience perhaps?
Absolutely – Martone clients always send me emails saying “Thank you for making my journey to work so magic;” and things like that – its a moment of peace – a moment where you ( hopefully ) can’t or shouldn’t be looking at your phone. It’s a time to reflect -to think about life, to sing out loud, to enjoy the view – to reconnect with the universe out there. It’s very poetical – almost spiritual. Lets say it’s a treat to your self – to your body, to the environment. That’s what makes biking so cool.
What is your favourite city, or other space, to enjoy your bicycle range to its full potential? What is it about this place that maximises the riding experience?
I have lived in so many cities and have biked in all of them – each has it’s own vibe, energy. New York is in my heart now but so is Paris – so it’s hard to decide: one is dynamic, the other is dreamy. I also recently opened an operation in Los Angeles and despite of what everyone says ( that you can only drive there ) I actually ride my bike a lot and felt in love with the city too. European cities are more like an eye candy because the architecture and history are enticing – but then in NY or LA you have the crazies and that also work as eye candy to me.
In May 31 / june 6 I’m going to do the Lifecycle ride – from San Francisco to Los Angeles for a charity: 545 miles on the West Coast – i think its going to be fantastic – because of the natural beauty and because I can just bike an entire week without having to work ha ! But I want to fall in love and do a big bike ride with someone special – so let’s see what happens next.
And finally, if you had to convert a non-believer and convince them to open their minds to cycling, what would be your top three reasons for saddling up?
Well – because its sustainable, because its uber cool and because it gives you damn sexy legs ! These alone will make any car manufacturer become a biker I hope !
Words – Kadie Regan
Photos – Ed Schofield