MILAN — Whether looking to revamp one’s house, add a little design touch to a habitat or just daydream over inaccessible mansions and eclectic furniture pieces, these five Instagram accounts can help spark inspiration for mixing styles, textures and colors and ultimately serve as a guide to finding beauty in unexpected places.
If the “saved” folder in your Instagram account is a mix of sophisticated Milanese interiors and dreamy Parisian residential projects, the go-to social destination should be the profile of Fabrizio Casiraghi.
The young Italian architect is a master of striking the balance between these two worlds and others, nonchalantly blending styles, eras, references and textures. His attention to volume and subtle use of light is second only to his talent in warming up rigorous lines with a heightened color sensibility.
Casiraghi describes his aesthetic as “an informed balance of sobriety and generosity,” which he often enriches with exotic touches through unusual furniture and home decor pieces. The Milan-born architect considers himself a spiritual son of the Milanese tradition, quoting Gio Ponti, Piero Portaluppi and Gabriella Crespi, but he doesn’t shy away from emphasizing his more diverse influences, such as Madeleine Castaing, Maison Jansen or Hans Agne Jakobsson.
Casiraghi graduated from the city’s Politecnico university before moving to Paris and working for French architect Dominique Perrault. When back in his hometown, he volunteered for the Fondo Ambiente Italiano, the association of historical monuments that includes Villa Necchi, which played a key role in enhancing Casiraghi’s eye for detail. He further developed his methodology by taking the lead on international projects while working at Dimore Studio.
In 2015, he founded his agency Casiraghi in Paris, and takes on projects spanning from residential and hotels to restaurants and boutiques. He renovated the famed Drouant restaurant in Paris and curated the concept of the Cassio bar in Hong Kong as well as the Ftelia Beach Club in Mykonos.
He recently renovated Saint-Tropez’s famed Hôtel La Ponche and is behind a soon-to-open Bellevue Hotel in London, as well as residential projects in Miami and in California — meaning there’s plenty more to come on his Instagram feed. — Sandra Salibian
If one ever wondered about the thinking behind a design project, design duo Roberto Palomba and Ludovica Serafini provide insightful content — and quotes — on their Instagram account aimed at chronicling their 25-plus-year career in design and architecture.
They established the Palomba Serafini Associates firm in 1994 committed to “placing humans at the center of every project,” as Serafini put it, helping people enhance their daily lives, homes and the public spaces they visit. That approach translates into a practical and unflinching design ethos in which they blend the modernity of pure shapes and pristine colors with the reassuring vibe of handcrafted furniture objects, like wooden stools and candleholders.
According to Palomba, this approach has not only gained the duo global recognition (they have scooped up the Compasso d’Oro, Ahead Award, Good Design Award and German Design Award during their career) but also anticipated a trend that the pandemic has put front and center.
For the Salone del Mobile, the duo readied a range of projects, including the most recent highly decorative Versace home collection, as well as Poltrona Frau’s foray into outdoor furniture, evoking references to the Mediterranean lifestyle and the large farms built with white bricks so common in Southern Italy. They also masterminded Kartell’s experimentation with nonplastic materials, developing the futuristic HiRay outdoor collection crafted from metal.
Striking a balance between inspirational images of the places they visit with polished pictures of the objects and interiors they create, as well as glimpses into their studio routine, their social media feed is rife with quotes from the designers about their creative process. “For us design represents a real way of being and not only of appearing,” one caption reads. — Martino Carrera
For those on the quest to find geometry in the world, scrolling down the feed of the David/Nicolas studio can have a soothing effect. Banking on their eye for shapes, designers David Raffoul and Nicolas Moussallem — who established the firm in Beirut in 2011 — share not only their projects and behind-the-scenes of their work, but also art pieces, objects and close-ups of architectural elements they randomly come across, as well as locations that inspire them.
“Inspiration is everywhere: we like to think it is a matter of context, some things are simply in the right space at the right time and they just inspire us. It can be music, travel, the universe or an old piece of material that is just hanging around,” said Raffoul.
Yet it’s no mystery that their background significantly influences their work, which is rich in geometries and patterns rigorously imposed on materials including marble, wood, glass and steel, but all filtered through their retro-futuristic aesthetic.
The duo met at the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts, where they both studied for a bachelor’s degree in interior design, followed by master’s degrees at Milan’s Politecnico. Despite their young age, they have been prolific, having already staged several exhibitions and collaborated with established international brands such as Italian rug specialist CC-Tapis, Dutch design company Moooi and Portuguese porcelain manufacturer Vista Alegre, among others.
At this special edition of Salone del Mobile they will keep up the pace, as they readied “a variety of objects ranging from a flat pattern to a whole interior,” explained Moussallem.
For instance, they developed the new Victoria line with Tacchini, creating a modular system that includes armchairs, chaise longues and ottomans, supported and embellished by a geometric tube structure. The duo also unveiled a collection of marble patterns for Del Savio 1910 and a freestanding bookshelf with Gallotti & Radice, for which they conceived the installation at the fairgrounds for the event. Lastly, they curated the interior concept of Milan’s new Meta coffee shop, which will open on Sept. 8. — S.S.
Ever dreamed of sitting on a meteorite or a life-sized golden ingot?
Those kinds of unconventional objects — injected with a dash of refreshing surrealism — are core to the creative vision of the Atelier Biagetti design firm helmed by designer Alberto Biagetti and artist Laura Baldassari.
As funny as their designs can be, the duo’s aesthetic has a deeper meaning, too, one rooted in challenging the boundaries between disciplines to foster a conversation around what design means today and how it relates to people.
“Our aesthetic realm is a state of chaos and, frankly, we love it,” said Baldassari.
“We don’t care about differences, style, trends, we are more focused on ‘psychological tools,’ on what we need to take you on our journey. The clash of cultural differences is everything and, together with the human body, is the most important component of our work,” added Biagetti.
To be sure, their vision, reflected in the firm’s Instagram account, is disruptive and futuristic, blending references to the arts, fashion, movies and more, as if every discipline were intertwined. It results in unconventional projects, objects and hybrid spaces, which dissect and deconstruct their function, reconfiguring them for new purposes.
With a number of high-end collaborations under their wings, including with the likes of Memphis, Venini, Gufram, Valextra and Louis Vuitton — it was the first Italian design studio to collaborate on the luxury brand’s “Objets Nomades” collection in 2019 — the duo is taking part in the current edition of Salone del Mobile with the “Grand Hotel Atelier Biagetti” project.
Conceived as an imaginary place filled with items that are meant to unlock experiences, the project will serve as the backdrop for several object releases in which food and design will merge — again a proof of their interdisciplinary approach. The first product is a coffee blend developed by the duo using coffee beans from Central America and India packaged in a blue box with the fictitious hotel’s logo.
“We’ve always felt the urgency to be many things at the same time, and we’ve never wanted to be defined in a certain category. Our work is generated from our experiences, and it comes from a process of following our intuition, often strongly linked to our origins,” said Biagetti. — M.C.
Arianna Lelli Mami and Chiara Di Pinto are the creative forces behind Studiopepe, a design and architecture agency encompassing interior and design as well as creative consultancy, which they established in Milan in 2006.
“Being part of a duo is always a dialogue where each of us adds a little piece in the creative process and the result is more like: one plus one, equals three,” said Lelli Mami, adding that the cofounders “spend a lot of our time experimenting with new combinations of colors, shape or materials in order to find out a new aesthetic.”
These experiments are duly documented on the studio’s Instagram account, which piles up a spectrum of work and plurality of references, each accessible to users as detailed in the captions. Projects include fabrics created for French furnishing fabrics and wallpapers specialist Élitis and named after Italo Calvino’s “Invisible Cities” novel; vases designed for Tacchini in cubist shapes in a nod to Pablo Picasso and Dora Maar, and the contemporary interior concept conceived for Rinascente’s women’s wear floor and shoes area, which featured steel tubes winking to Milan’s underground stations designed by Franco Albini and Franca Helg in the 1960s.
In between Studiopepe’s many projects, images of the inspirations also pop up, creating an appealing mood board on the feed, which has been enriched with the initiative the agency unveiled during Salone del Mobile for the Mohd luxury furniture and design company.
For the occasion, the duo conceived an installation named “Botanica Collettiva” — or “Collective Botany” in English — representing an ideal ecosystem blending design pieces and nature. Incidentally, the project marked the official opening of Mohd’s new home in the city, dubbed Mohd Officina Milano.
“The space is shaped by the harmonious coexistence of a variety of botanical species [mirroring] the plurality of products and brands that Mohd offers; a plurality of voices that dialogue in perfect harmony. Our concept is based on connections and on the unexpected, with the goal to design an environment that excites and surprises the visitors,” said Di Pinto. — S.S.