Interview With Set Designer Elena Mora

Elena Mora is a young, bright creative that serves the art and fashion industry as a set designer, stylist, and lately as the co-founder of creative studio, Tinaa. She talked to Trendland about her vision, her globetrotting experience, and the source behind her unique aesthetics. Take a look!

T: You have experienced the influence of some very different cultures: from Berlin, to Finland, to Hamburg and your homeland, Italy. Have they made an impact on your work and perspective?

EM: During my studies I had the chance to spend some time in Finland, and after that, I worked some time in Berlin. These experiences left me awestruck with the will to see how other people design, what inspires them, and consequently, how my work is involved with the surroundings. Working abroad helped me to shape my ideas. Getting inspired by people with different cultures means also shaping my own path and visual imagery.

T:  “Set designer” is one of your job descriptions – and a very interesting one. What is the process when you create a set story for a photoshoot?

EM:  The process to design a set for photoshoots depends on factors like the client, the topic, and the media. I like to start always from a concept, based on what I have been asked of. After that, it’s basically a process translating my idea into images, that means choosing the right environment, shapes/colors, and objects, with whom and what the story needs to be told.

Choosing materials is also part of the process. Some materials are better then others to express ideas of fragility or luxury, and so on. As well for choosing colors. It’s very nice to see how all these elements combined together give the meaning and the message we want to communicate.

T: Your work has many elements of contemporary surrealism. How has your unique point of view evolved since the beginning of your career?

EM:  The surrealism elements in my pictures are coming from the fact that I simply have fun in what I do. Making pictures allows me to be free ,and imagine situations and combine elements which are unexpected.

T: What do you prefer best: working with inanimate objects, on set designing, or styling a model?

EM:  I like to work with objects and materials most of all. Combining them into color palettes or shapes references makes me happy! As a props stylist, I also work with models, and it’s nice to see how props and space interact with a model’s movements and expressions, and to help add sense to the story.

T: You are also the co-founder along with Giovanni Marchi, of Tinaa, a creative studio on the lookout for new creatives and directions. Tell us more about this project.

EM:  Giovanni and I are friends since university. After graduating, we simply decided to put our works together and to look for clients, especially working in the design field. Still now, even far away, we collaborate on projects about art direction, trying to combine as much as possible with visual image creation and graphic design. We work mostly for catalogs, books, and art direction for design brands. The mix of our two different backgrounds–he lives in Italy and I live in Hamburg, gives a good exchange of inspiration, which help us to always propose new ideas and approaches to the people we work with. At the moment, I think I would like to work with him on a cookbook…I am very fascinated about food and tradition and culture connected to it.

T:  In your portfolio we can find a series of captures under the name “Things I see”. What kind of everyday set draws your attention?

EM: In this section, I collected some pictures I did randomly during some travels and with friends. Keeping memory of where I come from and what I did is very important for me, and If you look twice, our surroundings are full of cool situations and funny moments.

T: What are aesthetics to you?

EM:  I love shapes and fine materials. As well as some Italian artists from the 70s-80s. It’s amazing to see how they were free to experiment in the visual field during the years where anything seemed to be possible.

T: As a creative, how do you manage to stay current? 

EM:  I talk to people who talk to people. I think inspiration is very personal, sometimes an idea comes from an unexpected moment or situation, and sometimes reading a book or looking at some pictures.

For me the best thing is swimming. My brain becomes lighter in water!

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