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01/04/2021 | DESIGN, PEOPLE

STEFANO SELETTI: REVOLUTION IS THE ONLY SOLUTION

Posted by: Gisella Borioli, interview

He is not an architect, a designer or an artist but he is certainly a creative man who calmly combines all the qualities of creatives people he works with and whose ideas he puts on the market. All treated lightly, with irony, in a life's view where the unknown, the surprise, the wonder, the different, the game are real values. His affinity with artists such as Maurizio Cattelan or Studio Job has then made kitsch like art and vice versa. Seletti stores represent a bit  what Fiorucci boutiques were many years ago: a fantasy place without formal and cultural boundaries.

During these twenty years, what has changed, and now what will change?
Everything, from the way you sit on a sofa to food culture.

The hallmark of your work?
A beautiful and healthy confusion.

How would you define trends of contemporary design?
Optimal, carefree, cheerful and affordable (at least that's what I'm working for).

Do you remember your first experience at Superstudio?
The first experience dates back to ten or eleven years ago and I proposed “Estetico Quotidiano” line. I still remember how important it was for me and my company to be part of a reality so full of creativity.

How important was the mise-en-scène?
Fundamental. At the time Fuorisalone was taking its first steps so being in the heart of via Tortona meant a lot. The stylistic choice linked to settings and theatricality with which it was treated were a very important element and gave prestige to companies that did not want a classic exhibition approach.

What must an international show have, in addition to the product, to be attractive?
An exhibition must first of all have content. A thousand other things can be built around that, but they're secondary.

An anecdote, a meeting, a memory of that experience?
I remember a curious Tom Dixon standing at our space door and observing contents with a combined spirit of contempt and curiosity. Our products and installations have never satisfied everyone's tastes. Now we are good friends and we respect each other even if our stylistic directions are the opposite.

What's Milan Fuorisalone?
The best week for this beautiful city.

Is Milan the only design capital?
I have no doubt about Milan as real capital of design. I have seen all the other "design weeks" around the world for my job. No one changes a city as much as it does in Milan. Notwithstanding that improvement is fundamental, I believe that city and its institutions are involved and have done an excellent job in recent years. And they will come back for it.

If you had to mention a maximum of three design icons of the past few years, yours or others, what would they be?
Let me first say that I am not a designer nor, unfortunately, I studied design. Today I'm lucky to collaborate with three realities that come from art world more than design understood in academic sense. They are: toiletpaper (Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari), Marcantonio Raimondi, Malerba and the Studio Job duo. For what Seletti is today, they are my perfect icons but I am always attentive and open to experimentation.

In fact, you have enlisted glowing artists who brought you ideas for a renewed home imagery instead of designers. Why did you choose this unusual path?
Actually, design has never been so comfortable for us. Not having a tradition in that field, I preferred to deal with the various product areas, where we now move, with a necessarily different and "revolutionary" approach. We had to do things like no one else had ever done before. This concept led to tableware collections such as Estetico Quotidiano (presented for the first time at Superstudio) or products dedicated to lighting such as the Monkey Lamp. Products whose starting point or inspiration are not so much design but art. Fortunately, my reference artists are the ones I am currently working with, and others will come.

Irreverent, playful, pop, erotic, eclectic objects for contemporary home have been a strong trend in recent years. Now, after Covid, a new-normal return and a focus on sustainability are expected. Is design scene set to change?
It has already changed with the pandemic and it's going to change once again after that. Fortunately, our company is small, young and lean, ready to change at a speed that is allowing us extraordinary results. Artists vision I work with helps me to follow trends and, when we are really good, to anticipate them.

Your stores are bazaars of limitless fantasy. Where are your flagship stores? 
We are currently in Milan, London, Manchester, Amsterdam, Paris, Moscow, Shanghai, Verona and other cities that I don't remember now and we are working to expand this range of action. Our stores are constantly changing, which for decor sector is definitely unusual, certainly closer to fashion world. However, as already mentioned, we think that speed and change are fundamental characteristics for our brand.

Your next project?
Just one ???? :-). Quite many, different and multi-channel. Projects that will bring us closer to areas that we do not yet touch, always with an unusual and revolutionary look. Our slogan today more than ever is "revolution is the only solution".

Milan Store Seletti, pop-iconic pieces irreverent mise-en-scène with Toiletpaper.
Hybrid porcelain collection designed by CTRLZAK, Italian-Greek duo, born from two cultures union.
Flashing Starman lamp to shed light on “cosmic darkness” with Diesel Living.
Ironic Seletti market at the Temporary Museum for New Design, Superstudio 2010

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