Marta Sala: Design in the Blood

Marta Sala: Design in the Blood

Being part of one of the most powerful design families in Italy makes her a formidable observer. Marta Sala is niece of the fabulous Caccia Dominioni and has been exposed to this fascinating world throughout her life. In 2015, this Milanese woman felt inspired to start her own design firm, Marta Sala Éditions (MSÉ). In the space of two years, the acronym has become one of the best respected and most enticing on the international stage. With 25 years of family networking with the greats under her belt, Marta Sala has understood the need to revisit her heritage. To add a touch of the contemporary to the past, better understand and thereby revitalise it. Her aim is to protect the human element by surrounding herself with it as much as possible. This expressly encourages the development of knowledge, an essential microcosm linked to the precision of machines. At MSÉ, Marta Sala supervises production. In recent weeks, her work has been shown in Paris. This is the third time she has released a collection designed in collaboration with Rome architects Claudio Lazzarini and Carl Pickering. She appreciates their particular way of optimising usage and space. Marta Sala admires furniture and clever objects both at MSÉ and in her daily life. Those where the detail is as important as the overall look. Harry, Megan, Renoir, Guya: each has a personal story and specific characteristics starting with its name. Sometimes light, malicious, or funny, these creations are the very essence of Marta Sala. They are fascinating and personal as if they have emerged from an Alberto Savinio painting. A surreal interview with everyone’s favourite new designer at her Paris home.

Salon Marta Sala Appartement Paris Meuble Fauteuil Marta Sala Éditions
Salon Marta Sala Appartement Art Oeuvre d'art Table bassel Marta Sala Éditions

Marta, what was your motivation for launching your own furniture collection? How did this crazy idea come about – because it’s far from a simple thing to achieve?


It all derives from the need, and desire, to be surrounded by a contemporary environment after a 25-year family affair – which was certainly important, but firmly rooted in our past history. The contemporary world is the key to reading the past, because it brings the most important aspects to the forefront. It is a great responsibility in terms of the heritage and the culture that I grew up immersed in. Design and furniture in Italy always have always had their own history and family lineage in their own right. Now, in an ever-expanding market, that has changed. Brands have grown, which implies massive structural and organisational change for these organisations. Families have been replaced by major corporations, resulting in truly remarkable product quality but with a trade-off, giving a product that is more standardised and less special. In launching a new label, I’m attempting to retain a “human” scale to promote genuine expertise, which is a skillful blend of the greatest human expertise combined with precision of machines. I grew up in a world that was made up of people and their personalities. My mother, my craftspeople, my uncle, Luigi Caccia Dominioni – and this is the microcosm that I’m aiming to promote. Every Marta Sala Édition  piece is unique thanks to the proportion of the work that is undertaken by hand, and yet, at the same time, it’s available in large numbers. It’s just a question of production time.

Salon Marta Sala Appartement Paris Meuble Fauteuil Tapis Table basse Marta Sala Éditions
Salon Marta Sala Appartement Paris Meuble Tapis Marta Sala Éditions
Salon Marta Sala Appartement Paris Meuble Table basse rouge laquée Tapis Marta Sala Éditions

Who designs your pieces? Do you give any particular instructions?


I handle the production process personally. It’s a kind of organisational project. I love it, and I try to improve the quality and the structure of the organisation each day. I chose to kick off the collections with Claudio Lazzarini and Carl Pickering, two Rome-based architects whose work and talent I have known and admired for a long time. When I found out about pieces that had been designed for projects that date back to before our collaboration – the Harry side table which I love (so stylish) and the Megan table lamp (incredibly intelligent and sophisticated), as well as the Elisabeth sofa – I decided that these pieces should be available on the market, too. The market is constantly looking for items like these that are as intelligently designed as they are well made, and I therefore continued down this route. Embarking on a quest to find old items to bring to market is so exciting! Many others were created upon request or drew their inspiration from me, such as the Renoir mirror, the Silla mirror, or the lovely Dudina (I like the idea for a family of furniture available in different sizes for a wider range of solutions to choose from). As for the Claudio and Carl pieces, they are each intelligent in their own, unique way in terms of optimising the use of space. They are multi-functional and free to be interpreted as you see fit.

How would you define the spirit of the Marta Sala Editions label?


The spirit behind Marta Sala Editions is difficult to define. What I do know is that there is a direct relationship with the manufacturing process, as well as with the customer base and the professionals such as architects and journalists alongside whom I work on a daily basis. This is a world that operates on a large and small scale at the same time, and which comes together in terms of quality, style, culture, and a job well done. It’s a truly special way of working.

Salon Marta Sala Appartement Paris Meuble Table basse laquée Tapis Marta Sala Éditions
Portrait Marta Sala Salon Appartement Paris Sala Éditions
Chambre Marta Sala Appartement Paris Coussins Marta Sala Éditions

Where are Marta Sala Editions furniture items available to buy?


David Alhadeff (The Future Perfect Gallery) distributes Marta Sala Editions (MSE) in the USA. He’s an extremely talented man with extraordinary design knowledge. The rest of the retail network is still being put in place. Nevertheless, our two flagship showrooms remain 15 Cours Monforte in Milan and 12 Rue Jacob in Paris.

Which item of furniture in the collection is closest to your heart?


The strongest piece from all three collections, in my opinion, is the WandaFull, which is a balanced and complete micro-architecture in its wown right. As for my favourites: Harry, Megan, Silla, as well as the utterly crazy sofa we call Angelika, and the Renoir, Claudia… Oh, and I love Guya, the floor standing lamp with a contemporary stance. There is a touch of humour in every item, which starts with the story behind the name.

As a child, did you ever meet with anyone iconic who left an impression on you?


It goes without saying who my inspirations are: my mother, Luigi Caccia Dominoni, Gadella, and the great Italian design school!

How would you like to develop your brand in the future?


In the immediate future, with a new collection from Lazzarini Pickering, which recently appeared before my eyes after a lot of thought. As for the long term… watch this space.

Chambre Marta Sala Appartement Paris Meuble Fauteuil Marta Sala Éditions
Salle à manger Marta Sala Appartement Paris Meuble Fauteuil Tablel Marta Sala Éditions
Miroir Salon Marta Sala Appartement Paris Marta Sala Éditions

Photography: Constance Gennari – Text: Caroline Balvay – Translation: TextMaster @thesocialitefamily

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