Design Matters with... Dimorestudio

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As the design world congregates in Milan for the world-famous design fair, Salone del Mobile, we speak to the minds behind one of its most celebrated design studios, Britt Moran and Emiliano Salci

What role does craft and design play in your life?

Britt: Craft is what we have built our entire company on as we are really fascinated by items from the past for their construction, materials, and proportions. Our DNA is based on that, and we encourage the people we work with to go back and look at past designs that weren’t rushed but were given time. We live in a fast-paced society now and we are losing a lot of this time to think. I read that at the start of a project, Carlo Scarpa would say to his clients: “I’ll see you in five years”! That would be an amazing luxury that we no longer have.

Emiliano: Unconsciously, we live with design every day: the Bic pen, the iPhone, paper clips, everything. The handmade aspects of objects are really important to us. I personally like it when you can combine industrialisation with a beautiful product because you can sell it on a large scale, but it has a handmade touch. For example, when we visited the Richard Ginori factories, we saw the plates are mass produced but the finishing touches are handpainted. This is special.

How would you describe your interiors style?

Britt: Emiliano and I are very similar and there are a lot of influences from art, travel, movies and different time periods in our collections. We like it when the interior of a place reflects where we are. All the places that we have lived in Milan have had a ‘Milanese-ness’ about them and we are currently restoring a house in Pantelleria that reflects the energy of the island.

Emiliano: We come from different backgrounds, but we have contaminated each other – in a good way!

Britt: We have different taste in some things, but a lot of common factors pull us together. If we go to a flea market or antiques fair together, for the most part we gravitate towards exactly the same thing.

Milano Mozart
Milano Serafino

“Carlo Scarpa would say to his clients: ‘I’ll see you in five years!' That would be an amazing luxury that we no longer have”

Britt Moran

What is the best craft or design gift you’ve ever received?

Britt: One of the first gifts I was given by Emiliano was a Splügen Bräu lamp by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni. I love that it was named after a bar here in Milan that he designed with his brother, Pier Giacomo. We actually just used a group of them ourselves in a restaurant we designed here in Milan called La Trattoria del Ciumbia.

Emiliano: We both have a really strong admiration of Castiglioni, who not only looked at the beauty of objects but their functionality. Britt also always brings me back a piece of pottery when he travels home to America.

Britt: I’m from North Carolina and where my parents live there is a strong pottery community called Seagrove Pottery. They create beautiful, utilitarian ware that is rustic because it is salt-glazed in the final stages. People come from all over the States to visit and they have kiln openings, so I always try  to go and bring something back for him.

Where in your home do you do your best thinking?

Emiliano: For sure, it’s at home and not in the studio because there are always a lot of interruptions! It’s usually while I’m travelling that I feel most inspired  – especially on the train home to Arezzo where we have the Basilica of Saint Francis with artworks by Piero della Francesca, which is also a place where I get inspired.

Britt: For me, it’s not one specific room but definitely at home.  It’s where I have more time to think and decompress over breakfast and so on. But I agree with Emiliano, it tends to be more when I am travelling. If I analyse what we do and our approach, we try to recreate moments and experiences, so we draw inspiration from things everywhere. Not to recreate something but to interpret the fantasy of something.

What is the first and last item you bought for your home?

Emiliano: The first thing was a Fronzoni ’64 table by by Padova when I was 20 and still living in Arezzo. The last thing I bought was two little woven handmade trays from an amazing little independent basket store here in Milan, because I needed two TV trays for dinner.

Britt: The first thing was probably a piece of pottery! Funnily enough, the last thing I bought was also three beautiful baskets from Vietnam during my travels in Southeast Asia last summer. I have a real thing for baskets.

Emiliano: I’m actually trying not to buy anything more for the house as I’m between houses. There is already a lot in storage so I don’t want to buy anything else until I can organise what I already have!

Milano Serafino
Trattoria Del Ciumbia

Which item in your home brings you the most joy?

Emiliano: The lighting in a house is so important, so a beautiful lamp brings me a lot of joy. When they started to replace the original lightbulbs with low LED lighting, I was worried because it makes a huge difference to a space! I also have the Carlo Mollino chairs that were made for the Teatro Regio in Turin – these are incredibly special and hard to find.

Britt: We have both collected a lot of beautiful pieces by Piero Portaluppi. When we find pieces that are one-offs, we try to buy them because the craftsmanship is just so amazing.

What do you – or would you like to – collect?

Britt: I’ve been thinking about the amazing Wim Wenders film Perfect Day and I was so completely enamoured with the idea of living in a very simple space. I have a dream that, at some point, I would like to find a house where I can concentrate on having one really beautiful object from all the fields that I like. For example, I really love Italian art from the 12th and 13th centuries, the ones that are on gold background, so I would love that. I would also like to have an Imari Japanese vase. A grand curiosity cabinet of sorts, as long as we’re dreaming…

Emiliano: For me, it’s always furniture over objects.

What item in your home can’t you bear to part with?

Emiliano: It would be really hard to think of one thing to eliminate. I don’t really think I need any of the things I have but it would make me feel sad to part with any of them.

Britt: For me, I would have a really hard time getting rid of books. I really need my books around me.

What’s the greatest heirloom you’re most proud to pass on?

Emiliano: It would be information rather than something tangible. I’m lucky to have been exposed to things first-hand – from the early editions of Salone del Mobile and de Padova to meeting Castiglioni in person – and I always try to take what I’ve learned from them and translate it into what I do today to safeguard this information. These days, a lot is being lost, so I would love to pass on the tradition of safeguarding information.

Britt: I have a huge passion for collecting books and I would love to donate to someone or a school or an organisation – or even set up a library. Italy’s history of publication is amazing; I recently discovered a series of insert-books called the Masters of Colour, a little like an encyclopaedia series that are beautifully designed and so informative.  The whole collection is 120 and I bought them on eBay for like 20 euros and I couldn’t believe it.

“We both have a really strong admiration of Achille Castiglioni who not only looked at the beauty of objects but their functionality”

Emiliano Salci

What is your go-to gift for a host?

Emiliano: It’s either chocolates from Marchesi or flowers which are sent beforehand to our host. It’s very Milanese to do that. It could also be the day after – depending whether dinner went well or not!

Britt: There’s a beautiful flower shop here in Milan called Angelo Radaelli Fioraio and we always send our flowers from there. It’s a very chic space on Via Manzoni designed by the architect Guglielmo Ulrich. We also have a lady that helps us in our homes who makes the most delicious spinach quiche, so sometimes we ask her to make one of those and we’ll take it with us.

Emiliano: But that it very special so it depends on who the dinner is with…

Dimorestudio will present its project ‘Attracted To Light’ at Salone Del Mobile from 16-21 April, Via Solferino 11, Milan.

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