STUDIOPEPE are a design duo – Arianna Lelli Mami and Chiara Di Pinto – their work is understated, distinctive, bold, contemporary and timeless.
Australian photographer Paul Barbera is an author of Where They Create project in which he visits and documents studios of artists to explore their creative spaces and inspirations. Barbera’s interest was turned into the project and later into the book that stands as a visual diary compiling creative environments from all around the world.
Paul met them through Vogue Living while shooting at the Milan Design Fair this year. They were a featured studio from the fair in the magazine.
During Milan Design Fair 2015 Barbera got a chance to meet with design duo behind the rising Studiopepe. Arianna Lelli Mami and Chiara Di Pinto are trying to bring back 50s Italian aesthetics that seems to be vanishing today. Duo talks about their studio, inspirations, and objects they collect and incorporate in their creations. Their interview will be released exclusively on Trendland.
“Unfortunately Milano is a city that has forgot its past and now it has lost the extreme elegance and internationality it had during the 50’s-60’s.”
HOW DOES THE CITY IN WHICH YOU LIVE INSPIRE YOU?
We like the Italian aesthetic of the late 50’s and on, the ‘educated and sophisticated rising middle class’ style who were very well represented by masters such as Caccia Dominioni, Gio Ponti and De Carli and in Michelangelo Antonioni’s movies like ‘La Notte’ set in Milano. A style which was a kind of revisitation of the ‘neoclassical’ aesthetic, with a large use of precious materials, such as marble and brass, precious woods and patterns.
Unfortunately Milano is a city that has forgot its past and now it has lost the extreme elegance and internationality it had during the 50’s-60’s. You have to watch the Italian movies during this period: stunning! Now we and other designers are trying to rescue this beauty. On the other hand there is a lot of vulgarity, and show off design and speculation and that’s a problem of all the international cities.
It’s a pity when you see historical places changing or being destroyed. But at the same time many things have been rescued. Think Villa Necchi or Triennale….
WHAT IS SOMETHING THAT I WOULD BE SURPRISED TO FIND IN YOUR SPACE?
Our style is eclectic, we try not be too trend oriented, on the contrary we like to use ‘new classics’ reinterpreting them using unexpected combinations..In our studio we have a sort of wunderkammer where we collect any sort of find that inspire us for their shape or texture or colour, flea market treasures…Arianna is a great collectors of photo trouvè and she is working on a book project to showcase them. Chiara loves anatomic props and all the things that belongs to that aesthetic.
DOES THE SPACE YOU WORK IN HAVE AN INTERESTING STORY?
Our studio was the warehouse of a photographer. We kept the original architecture and original decoration of the studio: plaster ceiling, antique wooden floors, large windows and old radiator. Iconographic elements that we aimed to maintain and mix with design classics from the seventies, flea markets finds, pieces designed by us, and props and things as inspiration pieces, whether it is a color or a shape or a graphic….
WHAT INSPIRES YOU IN YOUR SPACE?
For us inspiration does not come from a specific thing but is more something that we grab in the air! Inspiration can come from everyday life, but then you see what echoes with your background, with what is already part of you. The goal is to be receptive and prepared for what can grasp you suddenly.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD?
Our neighborhood is an interesting place, a typical Milanese one with old palaces and trees. Our studio is near Bar Basso, a bar that from the 80’s is one of the favorite destinations for designers and artists and now is a famous meeting place for architects and designers during the Salone del Mobile.
DO YOU WORK AND LIVE IN THE SAME SPACE, IF SO HOW DOES THAT AFFECT YOUR WORK?
No, we don’t. As a duo we have a common space for working but we live in different spaces.
“Our style is eclectic, we try not be too trend oriented, on the contrary we like to use ‘new classics’ reinterpreting them using unexpected combinations.”
“For us inspiration does not come from a specific thing but is more something that we grab in the air! “