Met a few hours before the official launch of Salone del Mobile 2022, Arianna Lelli Mami and Chiara Di Pinto appear calm, strong in a calm consciousness that reveals great satisfaction with all the work done in recent months and which makes , that they can arrive prepared for this year’s long-awaited appointment. Actually the production for this one Milano Design Week by Studiopepe, founded by the duo in 2006, is huge and ranges from the new and long-awaited inaugurations of the FuoriSalone 2022 circuit to the now traditional collaborations enriched with new elements. In perfect teamwork, while one speaks, draws and refines the last details and then intervenes with timely information and background. The description of the projects is followed by very personal stories, references and life player: “our ideas are born of experience, from sensations, and then we like to confront and chat a lot when we are two”, they confess in chorus and reveal their winning recipe.
Over the years, we have learned about your work for the “posters” that you have shown from Salone to Salone. First and foremost with The Visits house, so the top secret Invisible club up to the ritual and mysterious space of The Arcanists.
What will be the theme this year that you want to present and that you feel can tell your sensitivity?
We are not for the fixed agreement, every year we like to reinvent ourselves by putting ourselves to the test even with new worlds and still unexplored territories. If last year we faced the challenge with the digital poster, this year we present for the first time a collection designed for Philia Gallerywithout a doubt a great opportunity.
For this Salone we have focused on collector’s item design, with limited edition handmade pieces by author and with a large planning phase behind it. This is not a real manifesto, but it is an opportunity that well sums up the road that started years ago with Out of the Blue. All this tells the story of the Study, made of passion and a lot of research, especially in terms of the materials that are a great source of inspiration for us.
You were expecting it: this year, the FuoriSalone circuit will be expanded with the long-awaited debut at the Necchi plant in Baranzate on the outskirts of Milan. Studiopepe will be among the main characters on this new stage with “Temenos” designed for Galeria Philia. Tell us more about the project
There was an opportunity in the air with the collaboration with Galerie Philia and when this opportunity opened we could not hold back. There Necchi factory it is a space inaccessible for many years, which finally reopens, and which proves to be a real industrial time. We were ourselves, the first time we visited it, struck by the size, by the light but above all by its solemnity.
For the concept, we took as our starting point our interests and from the same architecture, which in part suggested how to develop the project. We have always been fascinated by the object’s symbol and anthropology, and for the occasion, the study focused on the meaning of the objects we design and their reasons for being. The question is simple: what makes an everyday object sacred? We have therefore built a unique place, one Temenos able to enclose something special even geographically. Our modern colonnade houses the collection for the gallery, developed together with the skilled hands of the craftsmen. Everything will then be preceded by a video that will introduce the theme and the project, not conceived as a popular explanation, but a series of images and sounds that will plunge into the atmosphere we wanted to create.
Remaining in Industrial Architecture, Mohd Officina Milano south of the city is set to Mohd In Bloom, the summer garden that reflects a new relationship between interior and outdoor environment
Nature up close is a rediscovered theme, and the lockdown experience has done nothing but put the light on a link with the beauty behind the house or even around the corner, something we had partially explored with the project for Elle Decor All ‘Open. For Mohd, we began a journey that had already begun in September with Collective Botany, and this time we inaugurated a secret garden behind the industrial building. For the installation, we have made sure to interpret the theme outdoors based on the products marketed by Mohd, which for the occasion will present some works in limited edition with new scales and special colors. In addition, attention is drawn to the theme of materials and sustainability: the last day will be given the opportunity to pick the flowers present in preparation, and the profits will be donated to Forestami.
From new districts we move to the heart of Milan, from cc-tapis with the collection inspired by Sonia Delaunay design to Visionarie with a capsule collection that explores the five senses that pass through Gallotti and Radice, Tacchini, Alimonti, Jov, Baxter and more others. What do these projects consist of, and how do you manage to reconcile your very specific identity with the nature of the brands you work for?For us, designing is an instinctive and natural gesture, it is not something that is either contemplated or decided at the table. Studiopepe’s touch is cross-cutting: we are designers, but we also deal with interiors and architecture, and we do not limit ourselves to creating an element, but of an entire environment with the intention of creating aimmersive experience. Our path has always focused on materials, shapes and is based on a solid idea of storytelling that is born at the same time as the product. All of this constitutes our baggage, which we reject from time to time with corporate requests, and take advantage of these opportunities to experiment and use new codes.
In general, Salone represents the moment when you can show all the work in the studio. This is the case with the projects for Alimonti, where we rethought the showroom in Corso Venezia and designed a series of products that examine the tactile and organic aspect of marble, which is usually considered hard and not very flexible, and which on this occasion a soft element is rediscovered with sensual forms. If with cc-tapis and job we will present two collections of rugs; for TOOY, we were able to complete the family of ties with a system that manages to synthesize the more technical aspect with the aesthetic. Also by TOOY within Mohd Officina we will exhibit special editions of a floor lamp with a pop soul.
Even with Tacchini, the work was very focused on the combination of craftsmanship and design, with handmade pieces. For them, we present, among other things, a resin lamp, an unusual material that we wanted to give a new preciousness that transforms the whole object into a hybrid element that can be used in different ways. This is followed by Baxter, for whom we have designed a collection for outdoor life, and Visionnaire, with which we launch two products that will be the beginning of a larger collection dedicated exclusively to the senses. What we will see these days will be a hanging lamp made of molten glass and a mirror.
Studio Pepe’s path continues at the fair with Sancal, where your aesthetics meet the typical of the seventies and eighties and the great masters. What will we see at the stand?
The challenge that has been proposed to us is to interpret a Milanese apartment in our own way: modern and which does not forget the heritage of the city. Although we are big lovers of Ponti and Portaluppi’s world, which inspired us in 2017 for The Visit, this time we have decided to refer to avant-garde Milan and the big protagonists like Aulenti, Colombo and Stoppino. All the existing pieces have therefore been reinterpreted with materials and coatings that evoke the period when they play with typical codes from these years, from plaster to office curtains passing through silipol, like the one used by Franco Albini for the metro in Milano. .
In conclusion: this year, the Salon seems to be returning to its splendor after two special years, and the numerous (and prestigious) projects in which you are involved are proof of this. How will you personally handle this week and above all what do you hope to find in this newly discovered Salone?
In a relaxed way and without special expectations: You have to resume the pleasure of seeing, discovering, selecting, with a path that does not focus so much on quantity, but which follows what interests you personally. The days of boarding events are over, thanks to the manifesto projects that occupied us most of the day, we learned to look a little but willingly. The salon is an opportunity to find out what the brands and designers we love do, to visit beautiful places, from buildings to industrial areas. We have learned to live it without “fregola”, which then makes us remember nothing, and after the experience of the Unseen Club we absolutely trust our friends word of mouth.
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