We talk to our favourite interior designers about their work and ask them for tips
Who are they? American Britt Moran and Italian Emiliano Salci, who first met 16 years ago. Moran was a graphic designer and Salci, a former furniture designer, was working in fashion. Both had a passion for design and interiors, so, in 2003, they set up Dimore Studio in a 17th-century palazzo in Milan. Two years later, they launched their first furniture collection at the Salone Del Mobile design fair. It was a pivotal moment: they soon became a firm favourite with the fashion world, collaborating with houses such as Hermès and Bottega Veneta, as well as renowned hoteliers Ian Schrager and Thierry Costes. What’s their style? The duo’s trademark, says Moran, is that their practice moves ‘ between art, fashion, design and architecture that spans from the Art Deco to the 1970s’. They seamlessly combine ‘ different materials and eras, maintaining a dialogue between the past and the contemporary’. This can be seen in their gallery showroom, where furniture by Giò Ponti sits alongside Venini glassware and their own furniture and fabrics (the duo launched their first textile collection last year). The pair also tend to plump for rich materials, such as silk and velvet, and unusual colours, from dusty tones to jewel-like hues. Take Dimore Studio’s interior for the Pomellato jewellery store in Milan, which was inspired by the ceiling of the Peacock room at the Freer Gallery of Art in Washington, US. ‘ We wanted to find a colour reminiscent of Japanese/chinese lacquers so we came up with a shade for the shop’s wooden archway that’s not really a red or an orange and has a touch of pink to it,’ says Moran. ‘ We try to find unexpected colours, ones that no-one else is using.’ What are their recent projects? The new Aesop store in Milan (centre), which was partly inspired by the butler’s pantry in historic Milanese building-turnedmuseum Villa Necchi and features teal subway tiles on the ceiling. The duo have also completed the Hotel Saint-marc in Paris, which has an Art Deco jazz club vibe; the Fendi Privè apartment in Rome (for a peek inside, head to p192) and a number of residential projects (Paris St Germain, left; Milan Solferino, top). What are they currently working on? New fashion boutiques in Tokyo and London and residential projects in New York, Vienna and Lugano. ‘The property in Lugano is a modern new-build for an art collector. We wanted to do something that’s opposite to the building’s exterior, so inside it feels like a 1940s Italian home,’ explains Moran. ‘ We worked really closely with Italian carpenters on the craftsmanship, so it’s very detailed and bespoke.’ They say ‘Rich colours and textures are part of our design DNA.’ dimorestudio.eu
‘ We move between art, fashion, design and architecture that spans Art Deco to the 1970s’
How to choose the right fabric There is a saying in Italy: if you buy once, you should buy well. We encourage our clients to invest in high quality fabrics that last. We mostly only work with natural fibres (we would never use something like polyester or vinyl), but we have also used amazing technical fabrics. For example, Kvadrat’s ‘Sudden’ polyurethane fabric (£90 per metre; kvadrat.dk) is incredible. It’s waterproof and, when it’s stretched taut and applied to surfaces, it looks like satin. In a home, it would work well as a headboard. In our projects we try to mix fabrics. There needs to be a marriage of materials, but it’s more interesting if they are different.
How to pick colour and pattern At the moment, anything goes; there’s a real feeling of more is more. The key is to strike a balance between plain colours and patterns. If you’re using a pattern, you do have to think about the repeat, but sometimes it’s fun to break the rules. One of the ideas behind our new fabric collection was to have out-of-proportion, off-scale patterns that you can use without worrying where the repeat falls.
How to use fabric on a wall Wallcoverings help to soften a room. Usually, we would back the fabric with batting (this is wadding, like you would use for a quilt) and then commission an upholsterer to build a thin wooden structure around the edge of the wall you want covered. Then you tack the fabric onto that frame and hang it, like a large picture.
How to perfect curtains For curtains we always keep it simple, often just adding detail, such as pleating, to the header. It is important not to scrimp on the amount of fabric that you use so that, when the curtains are closed, you have proper side panels that look full and rich.
From top Interior of Hotel Saint Marc, Paris, by Dimore Studio. Dimore Studio’s exhibition at Salone del Mobile Milan in 2016. ‘Divano 082’ sofa by Dimore Studio