Compared to the image of a designer, the job of style editor is somewhat underrated. Yet it could be stated that even Gio Ponti, master of Italian modernism, thanked part of his achievements as an architect to the keen eye for presentation stemming from his tenure as editor-in-chief of Domus, the magazine he co-founded in 1928. To a young designer working in Italy, it is not self-evident nor easy to start to create products. In 2006, following studies in Interior and Product Design at the Polytechnic University of Milan, Arianna Lelli Mami and Chiara Di Pinto found themselves in a start-up paradox. More or less as an alibi, they named Studiopepe ‘a creative consultancy’, offering services for styling – picking and putting the right things in the right spot for the covers of magazines like Casa Facile, Casa da Abitare and Living. Meanwhile, they also arranged great looking presentations of design products for Spotti Milano, a high-end furniture shop in the fashionable Porto Genova district. Driven by pure love for colours and aesthetics, their portfolio grew. Nowadays Studiopepe is one of the leading players working for Molteni & Co, Agape, CC Tapis and Baxter. In the past two editions of the Salone del Mobile, Studiopepe demonstrated a conceptual way of thinking with presentations like ‘Out of the Blue’ and ‘The Visit’. Most recently, the studio delivered an.ti.cà.me.ra for the avant-garde department of Co van der Horst in Amsterdam.
Arianna Lelli Mami and Chiara Di Pinto know their craft. Studiopepe excels in mixing design with history and art, creating new aesthetics by adding surprising effects to things made today mixed with objets trouvés from ages ago.
In the past two years, Studiopepe gained wider recognition from the international press and public, initiated by the success of two consecutive exhibitions during FuoriSalone in the Brera district of Milan. Central to the ‘Out of the Blue’ exhibition (2016) was a collection of eight plaster sculptures exploring the analogies between light and form via the photographic process of cyanotype (from the Greek kyanos; meaning dark blue). The presentation was part of a group exhibition at Brera Design Apartment, which was partly painted dark blue for the occasion. While ‘Out of the Blue’ had all the typical trimmings of a case study, heading towards the larger picture was last years’ ‘The Visit’, in which Studiopepe unfolded their vision of the ideal apartment.
Preparations their own offices, located in a classic Milan apartment, functioned as the blueprint of the final project presented at Brera Design Apartment. The project staged several of the products Studiopepe designed from 2012 onwards, like the Gelosia room divider/screen and the Koine | Callimaco handmade vases, both designed for Spotti Edizione. And Statica, the lamp hanging over the computer tables, was a prominent eyecatcher in ‘The Visit’. Many of the items still decorating their own offices today originate from collaborations with major brands like Molteni & Cie, Agape, Baxter and CC Tapis. The wide stretch of the beige-lacquered faux-leather curtain that adorns the large office wall while hiding the archive is a mind-blowing artefact of style.
This production was published in WOTH No9. This issue is still available here.