Creative director Silvia Venturini Fendi and Dimorestudio talk us through their new collaboration for Design Miami.
The sound of the waves breaking out at sea. Palm trees swaying back and forth to the syncopated beat of the city. The smell of petrol vaporising on the balmy tarmac outside of a petrol station. The sun-drenched highway stretching far into the horizon. The strip of luxury waterside spa retreats. Party in the city where the heat is on. All night on the beach until the break of dawn. Welcome to… Okay, I’ll stop. You’ve got it, Miami.
Miami is the undisputed metropolis for Art Deco architecture, made popular by Bruce Weber’s 1982 Calvin Klein campaign starring Tom Hintnaus. It’s a mecca for art dealers, curators, collectors and seasoned art connoisseurs alike. Art luminaries and visionaries walk alongside art students and Basel-virgins – but it’s okay. You’re in Miami, it’s Art Basel, what have you got to complain about? Experiencing it firsthand as a guest of Fendi, to say I underwent some kind of drug-free hallucination would be an understatement. Granted, it’s the start of a life-long addiction, but there are worse things to be hooked on than art, right?
Sauntering past a sun-drenched Market Pleasure on my way to the Design Miami space, I feel like I’ve stepped inside one of William Eggleston’s colourific masterpieces. At the event, Fendi were celebrating their seventh year at Design Miami, this time in collaboration with Italian design duo, Britt Moran and Emiliano Salci – collectively named Dimorestudio. The space in which we stand – Moran and Salci’s high-luxe Roman Lounge – is caged by panels of smoked cathedral glass lit by LED lights.
Running my hand down the silk-smooth shaved mink day bed in front of me, it’s clear Dimorestudio really understand the language of Fendi. For Venturini Fendi, who first encountered Dimorestudio’s work in the Fendi Paris store, a shared approach to design was integral. “There is a link to the Italian aesthetic of the 50s and 60s in their work – big masters like Giò Ponti for instance,” she says. “This was something we really liked, along with their use of colour, the lightness of their work and the geometry. I think it’s very mathematical. There are many aspects that link us, but you can see that they are really influenced by our traditions and history.” Originally intended as a one-off collection, the demand on the opening day alone was unprecedented. “Being a curious person, I don’t put boundaries on my work,” she continues. “I like to jump on different things. I never say never. I think it’s interesting to always have new challenges.”
Here, Britt Moran of Dimorestudio runs us through the co-op.
Wonderland: Tell us about your individual design backgrounds.
Britt Moran: We both come from furniture families. Emiliano’s family had a furniture company in Tuscany and my family has a home furnishings company in the US. It’s always been in our blood.
W: And how did you two meet?
B: We met in Milan, through a mutual friend. I was working as a graphic designer, Emiliano was working as an art director. We had the chance to work on a project together, and then we thought it would be nice to continue working together. That was 13 years ago, so it’s worked out well.
W: Very well! Where did the name Dimorestudio come from?
B: Dimore in Italian means “dwelling”. In Italy it’s a bit more of an atmosphere surrounding an old building. It has a historic connotation too, that’s why we chose it. We very much like the idea of the dilapidated and decrepit reimagined in a very beautiful way.
W: Yeah, your work has many historic traits. What periods are you drawn to most?
B: Definitely the 20s, the 30s, the 40s, although a lot of people say they see the 50s in our work. It’s kind of this mid-century modern that we like.
W: Describe your working dynamic – do you work together at every stage of the design process?
B: We do, because we are very different, so I think we complement each other nicely. I think Emiliano is more contemporary than I am, and I’m a little more traditional. I think it’s the way we push each other or inject our own opinion into each other’s work that makes it what it is today.
W: Definitely. So, tell me about working with Fendi.
B: After collaborating in Paris three years ago we said it would be nice to work together again. So when this opportunity came about we were obviously thrilled. We came up with the idea of recreating an apartment with a Roman influence, and an Italian look to it. That’s how we started. I have to say it was a super-easy project because when we did our initial presentation, we proposed all of the pieces you see today. We thought they’d do a selection of two or three, but at the end they said, “Let’s do all of them!” That was extremely gratifying. We were able to find a link between what we do and what Fendi does, especially with the colour choices and the right proportions that create a sort of lightness to the objects, so that they don’t seem imposing even though they are large.
W: How did you decide on which fabrics to use?
B: Well, obviously it’s Fendi, so we wanted to make sure we were using their leathers and their minks. We use brass a lot, it’s kind of our trademark, so it was a nice way to integrate the two. It was fantastic for us to be able to use such luxurious materials.
W: So aside from Fendi, what else are you working on at the moment?
B: We’re doing a couple of hotels in Mexico, one in Guadalajara. We’re also doing a hotel in Paris, it’s a fantastic project.
W: Would you want your own hotel?
B: I’d love to have our own hotel! I think a Dimore hotel would be fantastic – just because I think it’s so nice when you’re able to create a fantasy world for people. Now that would be amazing.
Words: Brooke McCord.