As the Salone del Mobile 2023 begins its mad dash through the streets of Milan, The Socialite Family invites you to pay the designer duo shaking up the new Milanese design scene a visit: the pair at the helm of the RedDUO design studio, Andrea Rosso and Fabiola Di Virgilio. In the Navigli district, the two artistic directors — both from the fashion world — have chosen a house away from the crowds, formerly occupied by carpentry workshops. It was love at first sight for this unusual property — since they visited it virtually during a trip to California — for which the parents of little Rei chose to rethink the flow of the spaces with the help of their architect friend Andrea Caputo. Combining their shared imagination of a dreamy California with that of a wholesome Japanese spirit, the trio orchestrates a mixture of styles and genres on the banks of the Milanese canals. All while retaining a certain linearity of materials specific to the architect of the premises. With light wood that runs along their bay window, from the blinds to the bench seat to the kitchen cupboards. Mixing “succulents, white tones and spherical windows”, the young family chose a solar and minimalist universe evoking the case studies of the West Coast. Volumes that play with the light and become an ideal playground to display their experimental creations. Like their signature vase The Third Eye Vase or their multi-functional container Palo Santo. The location of this architectural UFO is even more unclear.
In Milan for the Salone del Mobile? Come and discover The Socialite Family space at La Rinascente, located in Piazza del Duomo, 20121 Milan. Open Saturday to Monday from 09:30 to 22:00 and Tuesday to Friday from 10:00 to 22:00.
Andrea and Fabiola, can you introduce yourselves?
We both worked in the fashion industry for many years. Fabiola’s background was as an artistic and design director, whereas I was a creative director in the clothing sector. But we didn’t meet through our work! That magical moment happened in April 2018 at the Milan Furniture Fair. A flat, a son, and a house later, we continue to cement our family life through the spaces that surround us. We’ve given our family home our own look, with numerous hand-crafted pieces that become part of our daily life. And it was this that led to the creation of RedDUO. We launched our studio in December 2022 after working on our home and a few interior projects such as the Pelican Hotel in Miami South Beach.
Tell us about your childhoods. What sort of environment did you grow up in, and how did it influence your idea of beauty?
I was born in a small village by the sea and spent my youth on the Adriatic Sea, which definitely influenced my culture and aesthetic tastes. The Italian Riviera’s atmosphere with its colours, its intimate warmth, its “salty linen” fragrance and the diversity of the cities where I later lived, such as Rome, Miami, Boston, London and Milan, meant I embraced an eclectic clash of styles which all contributed to my creativity in projects I carried out later in life.
I spent my teenage years in a rough street environment combined with a love of nature. Being a Gen-Xer, I think skateboarding, surfing and snowboarding have fostered this blend of the industrial and natural worlds that I like to incorporate into everything I do. Tommy Guerrero’s music, artist Phil Frost’s work – and his musical exhibition in Aaron Rose’s The Alleged Gallery in New York – shaped my creative streak and motto “make something new from nothing.” That’s why today, when working on my own projects, I like to recycle used military clothing rather than make new pieces.
We’ve given our family home our own look, with numerous hand-crafted pieces that become part of our daily life.
In a few words, how would you define the style of your duplex in the Navigli district?
We came across this house when we were away in Palm Springs. This trip to California certainly influenced the interior’s ambience. This includes desert stone effects, succulents, mineral and white tones, and spherical windows. We love mid-century modern architecture. There are also Japanese – which Andrea particularly loves – and modernist elements.
You called on your architect friend Andrea Caputo to renovate areas that were former workshops. What made you opt for his particular architectural style?
Andrea is a close friend and an architect who can provide technical solutions while empathising with the various problems that arise with interiors. He shares our love of Japan and the southwestern United States (California, Arizona, Texas), be it the landscapes, the surrounding nature or architecture. It was thanks to this common ground that we joined forces when it came to our home. Our ideas matched his suggestions, which seamlessly met our expectations. Andrea also has a very good linear use of natural materials like wood. One of our home’s main features is the facade and a line of wood that hides a dimmer switch. Andrea suggested this idea when he first showed us his initial ideas for the project. We immediately fell in love with the idea.
The appearance of Milanese interiors has always been an inexhaustible source of inspiration for our brand. How do you use these decorative styles in your home?
We have a rather atypical house for Milan. Furniture-wise, we chose several pieces by Italian designers who we really like, such as Angelo Mangiarotti, Caccia Dominioni and Vico Magistretti. We also love scouring for vintage pieces that aren’t necessarily by a known designer.
We came across this house when we were away in Palm Springs. This trip to California certainly influenced the interior’s ambience.
We are in the middle of the 2023 Milan Furniture Fair, where you’re exhibiting creations by your RedDUO design studio. Tell us about the concept behind your installation.
Modular items are fun! I guess we were influenced by our son Rei’s numerous toys! This was behind the ModulaRed, which uses the simplest shapes and assembly elements that we could think of. A natural-coloured compressed MDF square, which is mounted using a D-shaped wooden blue or orange spacer. Similar to LEGO, this MDF square features four D-shaped spacers, making it easy and fun to assemble. The ModulaRed can be integrated into an existing wall, brick or stone, used to give form to a bookcase or create a separate space, for example hanging or storage areas. This playful and natural installation frames our most treasured creations such as the “Third Eye” vase, the Palo Santo incense holder, loads of lines, an art blanket and ritual cushions.
What is your favourite piece from our collection?
The Cameleon bench, without a doubt!
Art galleries, hidden-away restaurants, cultural sites away from the crowds: what places do you suggest we visit during this manic week in Milan – and further afield throughout the year?
There’s a lot going on during the Milan Furniture Fair, the city is completely wired around it! If you visit Milan during the year, we recommend the places we usually go to: the Cardi Gallery, the Massimo De Carlo Gallery, the Spazio Maiocchi Gallery, and finally the Compasso design showroom. We also love to stroll around niche stores like the vintage concept store The Cloister. If you’re a foodie, we recommend the chicken and baked potatoes at Giacomo Rosticceria or the mondeghili at the restaurant in the Portrait Milano Hotel. Not to mention the Bene Bene Bar, the city’s brand new “place to be”, guaranteed to win people over!
We love mid-century modern architecture. There are also Japanese – which Andrea particularly loves – and modernist elements.
Photography : Valerio Geraci – Text : Juliette Bruneau @thesocialitefamily