Your Salone del Mobile installations are always one of the most hotly anticipated during the week of the design fair. What was the inspiration for your Salone del Mobile project this year?
Our inspiration started with psychiatric wards in Scandinavia designed by the Finnish midcentury architect Alvar Aalto. We’ve had these two cabinets from a psychiatric ward he designed for three years now. One day, we were putting together the technical sheet for them and wanted to find out more information. So we started looking, and we found out where they came from, and they had these amazing photos of the wards. There were these extraordinary colours and some of the hallways had incredible designs on the floors with linoleum. Super modern; super contemporary. So we said: why don’t we do something like that for Salone? But we’re going to take it from the floor and go up onto the wall — a floor-to-ceiling installation of tiles. We’ve made tiles that have been hand-painted in geometric patterns using our signature colours, done in collaboration with a company called Ceramica Bardelli.
What else can we expect to see at your Via Solferino gallery and headquarters?
We have two rooms that we’ve closed off to make a Wunderkammer [a Victorian cabinet of curiosities]. We’re going to fill it with objects and all of the things that really inspire us — either from our personal collections or things we’ve collected for our studio. As for the furniture we’ll be showing, we’ve really concentrated on precious materials this year. The focus has been on the inside of pieces, rather than the outside — though obviously, the outside is beautiful. There’s a foundry here in Milan that works with bronze — they’re the same ones that work with contemporary artist Giuseppe Penone and sculptor Arnaldo Pomodoro — so we chose them to help us with the handles and certain details of the pieces we’re presenting. We also have a lamp that they’re doing the bronze detailing on. So that’s one part.
Your collections have been slowly expanding since your first Salone del Mobile exhibition in 2005. Is there anything you’ve never done before this year that you’re excited to show?
The outdoor collection and our collection of fabrics is going to be really interesting for us. They’ll be shown at the Circolo Conbattente this year. We’re always excited about everything, but the fabrics are going to be amazing and outdoor furniture isn’t something everyone does. To showcase them, we’re creating a room that’s almost like a winter garden — a large area that has all the outdoor furniture in it with blue floors like a swimming pool and a little shack set up to host all the fabrics. We wanted to do something very theatrical — something completely unexpected. So we came up with the idea from an old issue of Vogue Italia that we had seen with balloons all over the floor like a party. It’s very dreamlike.
Can you give us a sneak peak of what the fabrics will look like?
We’re really excited about our outdoor fabrics particularly. Emiliano loves taking photos — we had a whole series of photos that he had taken of facades here in Milan, or when we were in Sicily — just for the colour schemes more than anything. We took those photos of the facades and blew them up or reduced them so it creates a design on the fabrics — that’s one version we’re doing. Normally outdoor is only black, white, red or stripes with just the piping as a contrast and that’s it. Ours is a very unusual way of treating outdoor.
Dimore Studio seems to be popping up everywhere these days: designing hotels from Guadalajara to Paris, countless restaurants and private homes and exhibiting at art and design fairs across the globe. Is there anything you’ve never done that’s still on your wish list?
In the distant future? It would be so fantastic to do the set design for a film. It would be a lot of fun, especially for all of the research you have to do, the details.
Neither of you are from Milan — Salci was raised in Tuscany and Moran in North Carolina — but both have chosen Milan as a home base. What is it like living and working in the city?
It’s incredible, you have an amazing amount of people who are capable of doing an incredible amount of things. Very rarely do you ever hear a craftsman or artisan say they aren’t able to achieve something, which is amazing. It’s probably one of the most valuable things that Italy has at the moment — we’ll say Italy instead of Milan because there are so many artisans across the country — but especially here in the area around Milan because it has such a strong history and tradition of furniture making. Italians have a way of doing everything that is a little bit better, or a step above how other people do things. They’re very meticulous and there’s real sense and eye for beauty and style, and for how things should look. Everything is beautifully executed.
Visit Dimore Studio’s New Furnishing Collection in their headquarters at Via Solferino 11 from April 4th to April 9th, from 11 am to 8 pm
Outdoor Collection and new Fabrics will be shown at Circolo dei Reduci e Combattenti Via Alessandro Volta 23 from April 4th to April 9th, from 11 am to 8 pm