Vogue Living style editor Joseph Gardner talks design inspiration with Dimore Studio co-founder Britt Moran, on the roof terrace of the studio’s Milan gallery.
amassive queue comes with the territory at Dimore Gallery, always one of the most popular destinations at Milan Design Week. This year, the trio of installations created by Italian designer Emiliano Salci and his US-born business partner, Britt Moran, seals the duo’s status as design-world rock stars. Inside the Dimore Gallery, they pitched a series of Bedouin-style tents curated with an edit from their ‘historical’ collection. Across the courtyard at Dimore Studio, they presented Perfectly Imperfect, featuring key pieces from their Progetto Non Finito and Oggetti collections. The finale was the debut of Salci’s Limited Edition collection inside a mist-enshrouded exhibition space. Joseph Gardner: You’ve really stepped it up this year with three installations at Salone. Can you talk about the inspiration behind each?
Britt Moran: In the gallery, we’re doing collaborations with young artists and we also built a strong historical collection of pieces from the 1930s and ’40s all the way up to the ’80s, which spans various nationalities. The concept tells the story of a traveller who has collected objects and furniture as he moves through life. For the studio space, we wanted to surprise and shock people. We stepped away to a new direction because everyone expects a certain atmosphere when they come and see us. We pared down all the decorative elements — it’s a white box, with just one object from our collections in each space. It’s meant to feel like you’re in an incubator with parachute material on the walls. Gardner: Can you talk about the materiality of the pieces and the 1970s influence you seem to be channelling? Moran: Everything you see this year that looks like brass, such as the metallic sides on the bamboo-topped table, has actually been plated in gold, because it has a really nice depth to it. This bamboo-and-plated gold table is a reference to [Italian furniture designer] Gabriela Crespi, who we’ve really fallen in love with. It’s a continuation of our newfound passion for the ’70s and the chic, elegant way of living between Milan and Rome that these aristocratic families had. They would mix new, avant-garde pieces with more historical furniture passed down from family collections. Gardner: I notice your use of lacquered wood in the collection, which feels new for you.
Moran: Yes, we’ve worked a lot with wood this year. We’ve gone back to using the old methods of shellac, where the wood is highly polished and has a beautiful, deep dimension to it. We work with a gentleman who does restoration in churches. He’s our age but he has an amazing passion. Gardner: Could you explain the Limited Edition range? Moran: Emiliano wanted to do something completely on his own. It was top-secret, so when I walked in just before the installation opened, my jaw hit the floor. The idea was to take cumbersome, heavy pieces of furniture — things you’d perhaps find in your grandmother’s best room — and rebuild them. They’re made from exquisite wood, and the problem when you try to reproduce pieces like this is that the wood looks new. It’s a combination of the beauty of the old world, which has its own patina and lovely, burled details, and a contemporary vision. The addition of polished steel and gold-plated brass makes them feel more modern. And it’s really beautiful. VL
Visit dimorestudio.eu. For Britt Moran’s guide to his favourite places in Milan to eat, drink and be inspired, visit vogueliving.com.au