Every year, Milan buzzes during its furniture fair. This event is the occasion to celebrate the rich design culture everywhere in the city, and especially in the Brera neighbourhood. This Milanese neighbourhood – where the Academy of Fine Arts is – gathers the crème de la crème of artists and designers, such as Boffi and Dimore Gallery, to name but a few. It is a must-see for the ones who visit the city! Paolo Casati, who manages the Fuorisalone, a whole of 650 events around design in this neighbourhood, invites us at his place to talk about this unique and rich project.
Paolo, what are you doing for a living?
I am communication designer. I cofounded Studiolabo, a communication and design company which offers services in consultancy and in graphic design to different media and to artistic and cultural events organisations. I personally work on the Milanese Design Week because I am the founder of Fuorisalone, a platform that promotes and organizes the event in Brera neighbourhood. It is a territorial marketing operation which aims at promoting and developing the business of the first design neighbourhood in Italy, through a communication plan dedicated to it.
For how long have you been living in this house?
We have been living in this house for 7 years, and we renovated it twice. The first time was in 2008, in both floors of the house, and the second time was between 2011 and 2012, before Maddalena was born. On this occasion, we converted the basement in the SiloSilo Studio, for Silvia, who is a freelance illustrator, designer and cofounder of the brand Rita Rita.
Where do you spend the most time in your house?
We spend a lot of time in the living room. With the kitchen, it is the heart of the house. The kitchen is the perfect place to spend time with family: we dine there, we talk and we relax. Another of my favourite rooms is the basement, which, in addition to being a studio, is a home theatre and also the best place to listen to vinyls and to read.
Have you decorated this house yourselves?
Yes, we chose everything ourselves, without the help of an interior designer. It has sometimes been a little difficult, because Silvia and I don’t have the same tastes for everything, but we eventually achieved a result, thanks to compromises, and it suits us both. We both love thinking about what we want, and Silvia does it with her emotions while I am more rational. We feel and consider the house as a process, a place that can continuously change and adapt to our desires and needs.
Where did you find the furniture for your home?
Every piece has a story. Some of them come from my first student accommodation, some others were bought in online auctioning or in North-European shops, and the rest of it comesq from the family inheritance or from a trustful second-hand goods dealer we are not giving you the name! We are constantly searching. Decoration is not something established and permanent: it can evolve at any time. Our last finds are a D70 sofa by Osvaldo Borsani for Tecno and a coffee table by Gio Ponti that Molteni remade.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Pragmatic, romantic and intuitive.
Are there restaurants you would recommend in Milan?
I recommend La Latteria San Marco, 24 San Marco Street, and the Antica trattoria La Pesa.
What is your current design must-have?
The P40 by Osvaldo Borsani for Tecno, the lamps by Sarfatti for Stilnovo and a 50’s chest of drawers. In terms of materials, it would be teak, marble, brass and every surface made in old cement tiles. I also love herringbone parquet flooring when it is contrasting with concrete and resin.
How do you combine family life and nice decoration?
According to me, the key is imperfection, ability to compromise and harmonization of the design pieces with the daily objects. For Maddalena, we chose natural wood furniture and toys, and tried to avoid the ordinary plastic objects as much as we could. When you make good choices, the daily life needs go perfectly together with a personal style and with pieces which have a story. Bareness is definitely the best solution.
For you, what are the best family holidays?
It would be in a house on the beach or on a sailing boat, at sea, with family and friends. The destination would be Sardinia, Formentera or Ibiza.
What are the places that cannot be overlooked in Milan?
I’d say an Airbnb at Rossana Orlandi’s with a project orchestrated by Ambra Medda and Nina Yashar, and Nilufar’s warehouse on Lancetti Street that you must see! You should also see Ron Arad’s work at the Rotonda della Besana, and Marni with Marni Ballhaus on Umbria. Finally, go and have a look at the XXI triennial in several Milanese places: Marras, Cola di Rienzo street, and Hermès at the Teatro Vetra.
Credits : Constance Gennari @thesocialitefamily