Great Women Grow

The ‘Studiopepe’, made up of Chiara Di Pinto and Arianna Lelli Mami, met at the Politecnico di Milano. Together, in 2006, they opened an agency for interior design and creative consultation which, over the next ten years, became a reference point for sophistication and elegance. Highly in demand, they never shy away from unexplored contexts and always manage to surprise and excite

Chiara Di Pinto and Arianna Lelli Mami, ©Andrea Ferrari
Chiara Di Pinto and Arianna Lelli Mami, ©Andrea Ferrari

Arianna is fascinated by the individual interaction within domestic spaces and loves to collect objets trouvés. Chiara has an atavistic interest in materials, shapes, and colours and an instinctive approach to design. It didn’t take long for many to take notice of the Studiopepe duo and the passion, elegance, and interpretation that make each of their projects both unique and sophisticated.

Your careers immediately got off to a great start, and then ‘exploded’.
Everything changed, especially after The Visit, our project for Milano Design Week 2017, which was a turning point for Studiopepe. The Visit was a successful project that confirmed our approach to design, summing up years of research and experimentation. Now we’re focused on many projects, primarily in the fields of interior design and product design.

Define your stile.
Our philosophy is based on a conceptual approach inspired by the unexpected, with a background of visions and imagery. We’ve created a new aesthetic in which objects are put in relation to one another according to various rules, including those of rationality and surprise.

Boutique Alysi, Milano, progetto Studiopepe
Boutique Alysi, Milano, progetto Studiopepe

Poetry and austerity. How do you reconcile the two?
We balance them. We love to explore the experience of space as it relates to the colour, materials, and elements which comprise it, blending artistry and poetry with austerity, which is necessary in the planning and research phase.

How are you similar and how are you different?
Ours is always a whirlwind of delicate agreement.

How much of your work is experimentation and research?
Our projects are known for their strong iconographic identity, based on experimentation. This entails a constant study of colours and materials and of the cross-contamination between various modern design languages, with the goal of achieving a specific result that respects the individuality of each client. Our inspiration may come from different worlds: from ancient Greece, from the modern masters, from contemporary design, or from art and photography. We seek to preserve only the archetypes and to always follow our intuition. We spend a lot of our time searching for a new aesthetic.

Boutique Alysi, Milano, progetto Studiopepe
Boutique Alysi, Milano, progetto Studiopepe

What was your most recent interior design project?
A retail project in Bangkok for a well-known clothing brand, which opened at the end of November. Soon we’ll be inaugurating a hotel in Paris and we’re also working together on two restaurants in Germany.

In addition to your work as creative consultants and interior designers, you’ve entered the field of product design. How did you get started and how has this evolved?
We began by designing products that we couldn’t ‘find’ on the market for our projects, and having them made by trusted artisan craftsmen. Then companies started to express interest in adding these objects in their collections, and so we opened our studio’s product design division about four years ago. We currently work with numerous furniture and accessory brands, but have also collaborated with fashion houses, creating series as well as limited editions and one-of-a-kind pieces.

 The Visit, progetto Studiopepe, ©Andrea Ferrari

The Visit, progetto Studiopepe, ©Andrea Ferrari

What kinds of design elements have you created? What are your most recent pieces?
We’ve created various objects and elements, from upholstered furniture to ceramics, from rugs to artistic objects. Most recently we designed a series of upholstered furniture, armchairs, ottomans, and small tables for Tacchini.

What other companies do you work with?
We work with many brands, both Italian and foreign: Tacchini, Baxter, Agape, Wall&decò, Ceramiche Bardelli, CC Tapis, Atelier de Troupe, and many more.

Revolving Moon, design Studiopepe per Agape
Revolving Moon, design Studiopepe per Agape

What differences are there between creating an object of design and creating an interior space?
The approach is similar. All of our projects are eclectic: we combine themes of collective memory with an unexpected detail. It’s a fluid interaction between ideas, materials, and needs.

What have you learned from product design that you didn’t know before?
We’ve learned that aesthetics and beauty are not only tied to form. We want to create an emotion.

Thalatha e Zefir, design Studiopepe per Baxter, ©Andrea Ferrari
Thalatha e Zefir, design Studiopepe per Baxter, ©Andrea Ferrari

Are you satisfied with the results? What are your favourite objects to design?
Absolutely. We do this job to create beauty, something that involves not only the surface, but also the substance of things, and plays with elegance, grace, and surprise together. We don’t have favourite objects to design. We simply like to explore the unexpected aspect of everything we do.

Creating together. What is your point of mediation? Do you have a method?
The method is to start by brainstorming, often in contrast with one another, in order to find common ideas and inspiration.

Co Van Der Hosrt, progetto Studiopepe, ©Silvia Rivoltella
Co Van Der Hosrt, progetto Studiopepe, ©Silvia Rivoltella

In terms of your personal tastes, what do you particularly love?
We both love art and travel.

What are your homes like?
They represent our personalities and are constantly evolving. This goes for our living spaces as well as our work space.