A century of design in a Milan architect studio

Have you ever been in an architect’s studio in downtown Milan, close to Da Vinci’s Last Supper? We have… at Antonella Dedini‘s recently renovated studio.

architect How ever did you find a place in Milan that’s at the same time so dense in history, class and industrious serenity?  “I was lucky” Antonella Dedini says  “but I also think that nothing happens by chance. I believe in coincidences and in the energy that they can unleash. I found this space in the centre of Milan in June 2011. It’s a gorgeous home from the early 1900s that was renovated in the fifties by architects working at the effervescent Milanese avant-garde during that period. It contains interior details that resemble the work of Figini and Pollini and there are also clear choices regarding styles and materials that allude to a more recent intervention by Luigi Caccia Dominioni. It didn’t seem real to me. It was perfect for how I had imagined my new architectural studio should be – a place to accommodate the furniture and objects I already owned and wanted to find a home for, stuffed full of history and crossroads of destiny.” architect 2

What kind of physical and emotional environment have you built for your workspace? “The space I’ve now been occupying for over a year is about 80 square meters. It was obtained from the division of a larger apartment, which until the 1980s had been the studio home of Herbert Ohl, a great German architect and designer, as well as the last director of the Ulm School of Design. Incredible! A good omen and good karma from a combatant architect and professional who, like me, really dedicated a lot of energy to teaching. I work peacefully here now. I’ve sorted out my things, my collection of design objects that remind me of my teachers, and my books. I’ve catalogued my past work and reorganized and planned the work to come. I’ve brought my family furniture to this studio, together with paintings and photographs that had long been awaiting the right space. I’ve obviously put my tastes into it, and my passion for combining history and the avant-garde. The space in which a person lives or works must be both a receptacle for memories that give meaning and nourishment, as well as a ‘recycling plant’ of the contemporary – a filter formed by one’s tastes and personal interests.” architect 3What values and what kind of approach do you employ when dealing with interior architecture? “I don’t believe in trends. I only believe in people living in different ways, with different perceptions of the concept of living. Today a good designer must know how to understand and embrace different cultural visions, and only a multidisciplinary approach can lead to a convincing design interpretation. As during the Renaissance, the architect must now take on the role of “art director”, be able to create a dialogue between the arts and disciplines at various levels, and recover their “sixth sense” for everyday design. We need to tear down the various barriers separating sculpture and architecture, designing things and designing interiors, and exterior planning and contemporary art. Wherever possible, an “interior and living designer” must formulate a vision that’s easy to read, and find the right language to go along with or against the complexities of our time. Working in Interior Design today is a great privilege, but also a great responsibility.”

architect 5 architect Antonella Dedini has created a work environment in which the modern and the future exchange ideas about design. The clean geometry of the spaces frames the furniture and works of art, (some original, others re-releases), designed by the most significant architects of the 1900s: Scarpa, Albini, Zanuso, Ponti, Eames, Aalto, Sapper, and Santachiara, among others… Do you spot them?

architect 6  DediniStudio_ingresso3 architect IMG_1022 The studio by Antonella Dedini investigates alternative design criteria based on a contamination among Architecture, Interior Design, Art, Design and Communication. The design is simple and sophisticated, the clear function through attention to the invisible, the essential, to the details, the use of only natural materials, understanding the context and the ability to combine History with contemporary language. Photo credits: Alessandro Belgiojoso