Salone del Mobile Milano

Born at SaloneSatellite

Cristina Celestino


Photo by Fabrizio Polla Mattiot - Ateliermistral

In your CV you refer to SaloneSatellite as a sort of launchpad for your career. That was in 2012, when you already had seven years behind you and a studio, Attic Design that you set up the year before. Was this “running-in” period important for you prior to your “success”? 

SaloneSatellite marked my official debut in design. I had shown a small collection of furnishings, commissioned by a client, at a small Fuori Salone event the year before. So, thanks to my previous experiences in my studies and with companies, I was ready as regards production process and designing, but being at the trade fair I had to tackle the press, meet my colleagues and get to grips with the city itself, I wasn’t familiar with its dynamics then. 

How did you manage to progress your own work, while working for other people and then tear yourself away completely to set up your own studio? 

In the beginning I only worked on my self-produced works at the weekend, then I set aside a day during the week, and slowly started to take on commissions. Then pregnancy signalled a halt to the rest and a chance to pursue my own work. It all happened gradually and very naturally. 

You mostly work in the field of decoration, and your official entry into the design world coincided with a widespread return to the decorative. Aside from your great talents, do you think this trend has helped you? In other words, how important are passing trends to designers? 

They are important and I have been lucky. My design approach, the general taste and the company objectives have all chimed. Rather than a return to the decorative, I’d say that the focus on “dressing” one’s house has increased, with attention to detail, carefully chosen objects that make people’s environments unique and personal. Even mass-produced pieces. Both in the environment and in retail. In global fashion retail, for example, we tend to set boutiques apart, to customise them according to place to make for a unique buying and selling experience. The idea of a fixed brand identity is giving way to concept interpretation by a number of different designers.  

Your work ranges from domestic interiors to retail displays, from products for companies to one-offs and small series for galleries and you collaborate with fashion brands. It all seems seamless and carries a precise design imprint, but is there one sphere you particularly favour? 

My training as an architect, rather than as a designer, makes me feel more at ease when I tackle overall interior projects. I make no difference between spheres. It’s easier for me to think about the furnishing when I also have to think about the “box.” Taking the environment, the context, into account is a process I apply even when I have to design a single object or piece of furnishing. 

Your projects are often complex, and they often have to be tailored to the quirks of the material, such as glass or ceramic, when do you call the project you’re working on “finished?” 

The relationship with whoever is in charge of the production is paramount, right from the very beginning. We discuss any improvements together, move on to the prototypes and then on to the verifications. These are the steps that lead to the final result.


01. - 02. Proiezioni - Una stanza tutta per sè
Photo credits: Cantiere Galli

03. - 04. The Happy Room 
Photo credits: Mattia Balsamini 

05. - 06. - 07. Interior design and furnishings for the new Sergio Rossi boutique in Paris
Photo credits: Mattia Balsamini / Sergio Rossi store in Paris  - Credits: Sergio Rossi
08. - 09. Opalina Collection 
Photo credits: Mattia Balsamini

10. - 11. Tram Corallo 
Photo credits: Mattia Balsamini