Studiopepe is a design and architecture agency founded in Milan in 2006, by Arianna Lelli Mami and Chiara Di Pinto.
Studiopepe’s focus is on research through the use of a multidisciplinary approach: this includes interior design, product design, and creative consultancy. The language they use for their projects is stratified, it combines poetic vision with a strong iconographic identity.
Studiopepe’s vision is based upon experimenting, continuous research on colors and materials and the contamination with the contemporary language of art. Installations, study of formal archetypes, experiments with materials and the dialogue between opposites are some of the themes developed by the Studio.
When did you know you wanted to be a designer?
We both studied Industrial design at the university together at Politecnico di Milano, at that time we don’t really know what we want to be as it is normal.
We start very naturally to imagine and create together more for interior editorial stories an later on we start to design private and public interior, in that occasion we design bespoke pieces for our project and some brands were very interested in produce them.
Right now the design part or our studio is becoming more and more important, as well as the hotellerie/public spaces part.
The curiosity always lead us to be a designer even if in the beginning we did not know what does it mean exactly. The process that lead us was very fluid.
What is the main source of inspiration for Studiopepe?
For us inspiration does not come from a specific things but is more something that we grab in the air! Inspiration can come from everyday life, but then you see what echoes with your background, with what is already part of you. The goal is to be receptive and prepared for what can grasp you suddenly.
Usually we talk and discuss a lot before starting a project one thing that con not be miss is paper and pencil ….ideas are fast and we have to fix it on paper. We like also to start to think about a story behind the project try to image a scenery or a story hidden that’s why we often start with a sort of title who can describe the idea.
What architectural goal challenges Studiopepe right now?
We are now completing the project for one of the floors of the Rinascente store, in Milan, which is a symbolic place for Milanese shopping.
Then there is a big project for a hôtellerie concept that goes beyond the usual patterns, we can’t say more but it’s going to be be something different and surprising.
And then a lot of design both for companies but also for more conceptual brands and galleries.
How do you unify poetic vision and rigorous design? The link between emotion and function is a long time issue for architecture: how do you overcome it?
What is truly beautiful is never useless. Form and function are now correct concepts but which should be taken for granted in industrial design. The design has gone beyond industry. The shape must also follow other logics, it must precisely excite and respond to beauty criteria that are not ephemeral and volatile but are linked to the authentic and profound beauty of well-made, well-designed, well-made things, to be kept with you forever, for get out of that world of seasonal disposable design that follows the perverse logic of fashion, and that fashion itself is (we hope) abandoning.
What makes Studiopepe’s projects recognizable? What are your more distinctive traits?
Our style is eclectic, we try not be too trend oriented, on the contrary we like to use ‘new classics’ reinterpreting them using unexpected combinations, and you can see this philosophy in all of our projects.
Our approach is based on the continuous research of colors and materials in relation with their shapes and the environment. We love to investigate the subjective and objective sensations and experiences linked to colors in order to create the best way to define the personality of each project. This study, a peculiarity of our Studio constant research, allows to design the identity of a product and its physical perception.
We also like to use important materials which gain beauty over the years, because we believe that design product has to last almost forever.
What is, according to you, the most emergent trend for the coming decade?
We don’t really like the word ‘trend’… because it strictly related with the passing time concept, and the temporariness. We think that – now more thant ever – we should all put our efforts in creating something that is really timeless and genuine… in word something that tells the truth.
How does design face up to the new challenges of this particular period?
We think the challenge nowadays is to stay deeply rooted and always in a listening attention to what is surrounding us. We could compare the design attitude to a tree that has roots in the earth but at the same time branches who are free to move as the wind blow.
This “new era” could bring a lot of changes in terms of accessibility, especially for public spaces. We all have to deal with it, the designers first and also the clients. The challenge is to try to keep it as much human as we can. We should not forgot that all this will be transitional and we will be back to a new normality in some times. That doesn’t mean we will be not carrying any consequences.
From a more personal prospective we think the «uncontact» approach could involve heavily our way to use object or to share them. Home and everything is connected with private spaces will been seen under a different light, it will be considered more a shelter, and we all put more attention on our homes and in general to our private.