The Italian architect Cristina Celestino established her architectural studio, ATTICO in Milan in 2019. She creates lambs, furniture and living accessories under her label. She is known for her many collaborations with international brands like Fendi, Nilufar, BottegaNove and Sergio Rossi to name a few. She took part in the Salone Satellite where her product Atomizers got nominated and is now part of the permanent collection of the Italian Designers at Triennale Museum of Milan.
For this year’s Salone she created the TRAM CORALLO for Rubelli and designed the interior of a typical Milanese tram.We went for a ride
IRMA: Which was the most inspiring part of your latest project, Tram Corallo in collaboration with Rubelli for this year’s Salone del Mobile?
CRISTINA CELESTINO: I think that the most interesting part of Corallo project is the concept itself: the idea of designing an experience of a journey inside the transport vehicle, an icon of the city of Milan.
IRMA: To design an object which is constantly in motion and change of location, how did the environment, the streets, lights etc. influenced your design?
CRISTINA CELESTINO: The project itself is been shaped on the relation between Milan and the streetcar.
Inside the tram, the division into two zones makes Milan and its urban landscapes the main subject of the surreal footage: the window at the back of the streetcar becomes a frame for the city.
Even the main entrance to the vehicle is designed to be spectacular and to unveil the most intriguing parts of the project.
Also, the graphic and the colors of the exterior have been chosen to make the vehicle iconic and recognizable even whilst in motion.
IRMA: Materials or shapes: Which one is the starting point for you? And is there a special ritual you do when starting a new project?
CRISTINA CELESTINO: Before I start a new project, I familiarize myself with the material I am planning to use. I try to learn about them and the range of possible processing. I spend a lot of time together with craftsmen and with whoever is in charge of the manufacturing.
IRMA: You are a master of combining artisanal skills and modern designs. What is always your first thought when designing, the craftmanship of the form? Can craftmanship lead to a successful design?
CRISTINA CELESTINO: My starting point for all my projects are more the story telling side of it, wheter it is interior or furniture work.
Moreover, when a client is a company, such as Fendi or Sergio Rossi, with a great heritage and a solid history, I study really hard the brand identity and language, their own stylistic codes.
The shape is born as a consequence of my research work. I develop the artisanal aspect because I always try to understand very deeply the materials I am working with.
I like to work with traditional materials but using them in an unusual way. Sometimes I use ancient and lost techniques, sometimes I experiment with my artisans in order to create original and new results.
IRMA.How important is pattern and textile design in your projects? You use a lot of different materials matching the client’s identity. How does material and texture inspire you for your design?
CRISTINA CELESTINO: I usually start my design process from my clients’ roots, trying to understand and absorb from their history and heritage their own stylist code. From this research I start making my own story telling using colour palettes and materials that I find inspiring and close to each client.
I love to surprise with my object, playing with variation of scale and to use patterns and texture that are usually for something different from the use I made in my design.
For example, last year I came for the first time closer to brick tiles, a material I never used before, thanks to the collaboration with Fornace Brioni (I was engaged as creative director in 2016).
I would say I know the borosilicate glass much more than other materials, also because I have a very good relations with my glass supplier, since the times of the Atomizers (2012).
About metals: I like to use metals with its own natural finishes.
IRMA: To which extent will travelling influence more and more our life in the future, what is your personal opinion?
CRISTINA CELESTINO: Nowadays we are used to travel more and more. Thanks to the low cost flights everybody can move very easily. I think that today traveling has become the real experience, more than the action to reach somewhere else. This is the idea behind my project, the concept of creating a kind of discovery and entertainment on board. The idea of experience is already inspiring several companies in the field of transport: Airbus, for example, is developing the project of putting beds inside the cargo hold of the planes.
IRMA: Design is getting more presence in our lives, through Social Media our taste and knowledge gets educated and influenced. Where do YOU look for new ideas and inspiration?
CRISTINA CELESTINO: I find inspiration in my everyday life, in the city where I live, Milan, and in its urban landscapes.
I am architect and collector of Italian Design masterpieces. For this reason, often my ideas come from the world of the architecture or from my background studies, and from my personal considerations about the work of the Great Masters.
IRMA: Let’s stay with motion and talk about the Fendi Travelling Dressing Room. What was your inspiration for this project and how does a moveable composition differ in design from something stationary?
CRISTINA CELESTINO: To design “The Happy Room” for Fendi, the theme of “motion”was not a important one for the project itself: its briefing was about the design of a VIP Room for Fendi’s clients, in the best stores in the world.
I decided through my language to link not just at one specific place, but to the Maison, to its stylistic codes and to its own heritage.