THE DE­SIGNER DUO

STUDIOPEPE

ELLE Decoration (UK) - - Content -

This Mi­lanese duo’s de­signs have long ap­pealed to us for their sense of colour and form, but hav­ing just com­pleted its most re­cent in­te­ri­ors project – a tem­po­rary apart­ment con­cept dur­ing the Mi­lan Fur­ni­ture Fair called The Visit ( see p70) – Studiopepe is poised for a new col­lab­o­ra­tion with New York gallery Mat­ter. It launched in May with ‘Out of the Blue’, a lim­it­ededi­tion col­lec­tion of eight ob­jects in cyan shades (see above), and con­tin­ues later this year with fur­ni­ture and light­ing fo­cus­ing on scagli­ola, a tra­di­tional Ital­ian sur­face fin­ish that imitates mar­ble.

Lelli Mami and Di Pinto met while study­ing art and de­sign at the Po­litec­nico di Mi­lano. Af­ter grad­u­a­tion, both went on holiday to Mex­ico, where they met by chance on a re­mote beach. They spent the rest of their trip to­gether and ce­mented their friend­ship. Back home, they be­gan col­lab­o­rat­ing on set de­sign projects and set up Studiopepe in 2006 (the name comes from Via Guglielmo Pepe, the street in Mi­lan where their orig­i­nal stu­dio was lo­cated).

The pair’s big break was an ed­i­to­rial com­mis­sion from Ital­ian mag­a­zine Case da Abitare: their shoot ‘on the theme of sur­re­al­ism and non­sense’ made the front cover. Soon, they were de­sign­ing shop in­te­ri­ors and win­dow dis­plays for fash­ion la­bel Max­mara and Dan­ish de­sign brand Fritz Hansen. Af­ter that, they be­came cre­ative di­rec­tors at Mi­lan gallery Spotti. ‘It was a start­ing point for our in­te­rior de­sign work, as we had to re­design the en­tire space twice a year,’ says Lelli Mami. ‘ We also cu­rated ex­hi­bi­tions in­volv­ing the most cre­ative new brands.’ Armed with this ex­pe­ri­ence, they made for­ays into prod­uct de­sign: in 2010, they estab­lished the Spotti Edizioni fur­ni­ture range, and the fol­low­ing year, their ‘Kora’ ➤

STUDIOPEPE IS KNOWN FOR ITS SENSE OF COLOUR AND FORM, CRE­AT­ING IN­TE­RI­ORS AND PROD­UCTS WITH PER­SON­AL­ITY

STUDIOPEPE…

vase for Atipico was un­veiled – an an­gu­lar, asym­met­ri­cal ves­sel in­spired by stat­ues in the Erechtheum tem­ple in Athens.

An­cient Greece is just one of a va­ri­ety of in­flu­ences cited by the cre­ative duo. Lelli Mami is in­ter­ested in pho­tog­ra­phy, Sur­re­al­ist art and ar­chi­tec­ture; Di Pinto stud­ied fine art and loves the hand­made. ‘ We are very in­spired by art, es­pe­cially re­gard­ing the study of shapes,’ says Lelli Mami. ‘De­tails in a paint­ing can be a start­ing point for a prod­uct or an in­te­rior.’ They also like the con­trast be­tween hum­ble and pre­cious ma­te­ri­als, and pay a great deal of at­ten­tion to what hap­pens in the fash­ion world. ‘The way that cre­ative peo­ple mix vin­tage with de­signer, Levi’s with Chanel – we love that ap­proach,’ says Di Pinto. How would they de­scribe their own de­sign style? ‘Sim­ple, re­fined pieces that could be from the Art Deco era or even from the 1980s, but still look con­tem­po­rary,’ says Lelli Mami. ‘For us, good de­sign is some­thing made with hon­est ma­te­ri­als that you can love for years.’

So, what does the fu­ture hold for Studiopepe? A prod­uct col­lec­tion for a fash­ion brand and a range for a ho­tel are both in the pipe­line – the lat­ter prov­ing par­tic­u­larly ex­cit­ing. ‘ We would love to de­sign a whole ho­tel, right down to the tea­spoons,’ says Lelli Mami. But what­ever hap­pens, the duo plan to keep work­ing to­gether. ‘Ev­ery project is worked on by both of us. Each of us adds a lit­tle piece of our­selves to the cre­ative process – and hope­fully the re­sult is that one plus one makes three!’ (@stu­diopepe_of­fi­cial; stu­diope­pedesign.it).

‘FOR US GOOD DE­SIGN IS SIM­PLE, RE­FINED PIECES MADE WITH HON­EST MA­TE­RI­ALS THAT YOU CAN LOVE FOR YEARS’

Clock­wise from top left Ari­anna Lelli Mami (far left) and Chiara Di Pinto. ‘Home Cou­ture’ ex­hi­bi­tion at Spotti Mi­lano (also see be­low). An ob­ject from the ‘Os­si­mori’ col­lec­tion by Studiopepe

Clock­wise from top left Pieces from Studiopepe’s ‘Os­si­mori’ col­lec­tion. Two shots from the ‘Home Cou­ture’ ex­hi­bi­tion at Spotti Mi­lano. One of the eight ob­jects in the ‘Out of the Blue’ range. The ‘Gelosia’ screen by Studiopepe for Spotti Mi­lano

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