Product designer and artist, Elena Salmistraro lives and works in Milan. Graduated from Polytechnic University of Milan in 2008, together with architect Angelo Stoli she founded her own studio in 2009, where she has been working on architectural and design projects ever since. She works as a product designer and artist/illustrator for leading companies in the creative industry, including Apple, Lavazza, Alessi, Bosa, Seletti, De Castelli, Cc-Tapis, Timberland, Replay, LondonArt, Lithea, BluBleu, B-Line, Bitossi Home, LuisaViaRoma, Yoox, Mogg, NasonMoretti, Massimo Lunardon, Okinawa, Texturae, Stone Italiana, Effecte, MyHomeCollection, Durame. Besides, she collaborates with prestigious Art and Design Galleries, such as Dilmos, Rossana Orlandi, Camp Design Gallery, Subalterno1 and Secondome. Her creations are the result of a combination of art and design; utmost care for details, painstaking search for the harmony of shapes and poetic style characterize her projects. One of her work’s priorities is the search for the expressive language of objects, which may fascinate people by evoking emotions. Her projects have been selected for some of the most important art exhibitions including: “The New Italian Design“, a traveling exhibition organized by the Triennale Design Museum of Milan, curated by Silvana Annicchiarico and Andrea Branzi, with stops in San Francisco, Santiago de Chile, Cape Town; the “The New Aesthetic Design” at 2013 Shanghai Biennale for Triennale Design Museum and at 2015 Gwangju Biennale, South Korea. In 2016, during the XXI edition of the International Exhibition of Triennale of Milan, she took part in W-Women in Italian Design, Triennale Design Museum’s ninth edition. In the same year, during the art event “Normali meraviglie La Mano ” curated by Alessandro Guerriero and Alessandra Zucchi, she painted a hand designed by the artist Mimmo Paladino, which was exhibited at the Triennale of Milan. She was appointed World Ambassador of Italian Design in 2017 during “Italian Design Day”, an initiative promoted by Triennale of Milan in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities. Since then she has attended meetings in Zurich and Rome 2018. The same year, on the occasion of the “White in the City” event, promoted by Oikos and curated by Giulio Cappellini, she contributed with Alessi to the project/installation “L’esercito delle spazzole”. In 2017 she was awarded with the “Best Emerging Designer Award” at Salone del Mobile- “Salone del Mobile Milano Award”. In 2018 she was appointed Ambassador of Brera Design District for FuoriSalone in the occasion of Milan Furniture Fair and for this circumstance she designed an installation for Timberland in the very heart of the district. In 2018 in the occasion of Marmomac (Verona), she was awarded with the “Icon Award”. Elena Salmistraro’s works have been displayed at major Italian and international design industry fairs, including Salone Internazionale del Mobile (Cosmit-Milan), Step 09 (Milano), Maison&Objet-Paris, Homi, Marmomac (Verona), Cersaie (Bologna), Stockholm furniture and light fair (Stockholm, Sweden).
When did you know you wanted to be a designer?
There is not a precise moment, I have always loved to draw. Over time my interests have changed, my passions, my favorite subjects have become objects, then I discovered the work of Alessandro Mendini, of Ettore Sottsass and the whole current of Radical Design, it was a lightning stroke, a sudden love.
What is your main source of inspiration?
It will seem trivial, but my main source of inspiration is life, understood as everyday life. I can get inspiration from anything, a magazine, an event, a color, the important thing is the emotion that arouses in me. If something can amaze me, convey it, modify it and transform it in the correct way, it can amaze and excite others too.
How does the Italian design is considered in the World?
Italian design is always observed with great attention and interest. I believe that the impossibility of enclosing “the Italian design” within a stylist definition, fascinates a lot those who observe it from the outside, the Italian style is in its essence a non-style, it is a universe made of infinite facets, of ideas , of experimentation, of research, is a world unto itself to be discovered.
What is your favorite object, the one that should never miss in anybody’s house?
My favorite project is definitely the Cupola coffee maker by Aldo Rossi for Alessi. I believe it is a unique, unrepeatable object, perfect from every point of view.
Who is your favorite designer ever?
I do not have a favorite designer, but I’m from Milan and I was born in the eighties, so without any doubt Elio Fiorucci.
What is your secret dream?
I’m very superstitious, so I absolutely have to keep the secret 😉
What are you interested in right now? What would you like to create the most?
Right now, I’m trying to focus on bigger projects. My work is mainly the result of a careful transition from two-dimensional graphics to three-dimensional materiality, so the change of scale is a very stimulating research for me, it helps me to better understand the spatiality of objects. For this reason, maybe, I would like to design interiors.