Paolo Stella: “I want more, more and more (of life)”

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Paolo Stella. Ph. Credits Valentina Sommariva

His apartment is a continuum of architecture, furnishing and design, a platform for narrating his objects starting with their stories.

He studied architecture at university. Then fate – oh no, he doesn’t believe in it! – led him to other professions. Out of choice, therefore, he’s an actor, writer (which he very much prefers), creative director and web strategy expert. Basically, he’s a creative and a communicator who refuses to be labelled. He thought up the idea of narrating design and interior design from an actual residence in daily use – his own. @suonarestella is platform for real lives and objects. For the stories of architecture and design that Paolo Stella relates and (literally) allows “ordinary’ people to experience through the ups and downs of his day. It’s a clever and original – we would describe it as digital - way of talking about design. A new perspective, an evolution of the way in which objects can be discussed. What really counts are the emotions sparked by these furnishings devised to be shared with us and improve our daily lives. All power to Stella for managing to shift the perspective in this narrative, putting people at the centre and explaining to the curious, younger generations that homes are not just a refuge but also stories in their own right.

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Paolo Stella. Ph. Credits Valentina Sommariva

How would you greet people who don’t know you? With a smile.

Your main character trait? I’m a sponge. I absorb everything that’s going on around me and transform it creatively.

What did you want to do when you grew up? I’ve always found it rather tedious having to pigeon-hole myself, I’ve experienced and tend to experience cadenced revolutions that upturn my life. When I was little I said “an astronaut” just to give them the answer they wanted and stop any further discussion. I suffer from vertigo; can you imagine me wanting to go 1,000,000 feet up?

What do you value most in your friends? A lack of interest in the public part of me.

What makes you happy? A combination of temporary hormonal secretions that we should ensure happens as often as possible.

Your favourite musician? It’s like happiness, a temporary detonation that matches a particular moment I’m in. They change, often, like one’s mood.

Your favourite author? Idem as above.

Your favourite architect or designer? Wright, Gio Ponti, the Rationalists but also Bernini. Why choose one when there’s so much beauty to explore?

Who are your imaginary heroes? The great revolutionaries.

A real-life hero? Single mothers.

Who are the influencers? Who cares? It’s a much-abused label that they pin onto you as soon as you acquire a couple of extra followers, it’s laden with stale, boring machination. I’d never describe myself as an influencer. Certainly, never in the category of influencers chosen to appear on TV. Totally unprepared parodies lured in to be massacred by people’s spite. They never choose a single one who’s a positive example. Now, Liliana Segre really is an influencer.

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Paolo Stella. Ph. Credits Valentina Sommariva

Writing or performing? Writing. I love being free.

Three books you’d take to a desert island? Accabadora by Michaela Murgia, Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk, and Uncle Vanya by Čechov.

The TV series you never want to end? GOT.

Digital or real? Digital needs real.

A story you’d like to tell? You want me to tell you about my next novel?? Naaaaah.

The last time you found you couldn’t communicate? Everything’s gone well so far. I think I’m lucky to have a natural propensity towards digital. As long as that’s the main channel, that’s fine by me. Then I’ll change. Just as we’ll all change.

Your favourite object? It’s not an object. I’m not attached to anything material.

Your favourite place? Cefalù.

Reuse or recycle? Recycle, the circular economy demands it.

What do you do towards being “sustainable”? Small everyday sensitive acts. And I’m working on a project to find a solution to waste packaging.

Elective affinities with? Cristina Fogazzi, despite the fact that we’re so different, with very contrasting attitudes in public – and in private – she’s one of those people who’s always there and always will be. As I will for her.

Who would you like to invite to one of your dinners? Meryl Streep. I think she’s the only person in the world for whom I feel a sort of veneration. In any case, I’m fascinated by all women who are strong and sensitive. (Yes, more women than men)

Is @suonarestella a cage? It’s an attempt to escape from a cage. In the entrance to my home I asked for some wallpaper with a huge cage. The animals are all drawn half in and half out. They are us, for much of our lives, trying to tell the world who we are. On the other side of the cage is the central chapter of my first novel, which is my personal attempt to show myself to the world outside my shell, to show you who I am. We have an ancestral need to be seen for what we are. It’s really challenging. Letting people into my home, even just virtually, was a process of collective analysis that really moved me.

Your favourite room? The bow window, which is also the reason why I bought this house, halfway between intimate meditation space and frontal display. That’s how I feel right now. It might seem like a dichotomic distinction, but according to me they are two faces of the same medal: you have to be really intimate to be able to show yourself without fear. 

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Paolo Stella. Ph. Credits Valentina Sommariva

We’re the only ones who can save ourselves? And no-one can save themselves. Our salvation stems from a personal decision to save ourselves, at which point others become an essential part of the process. But everything, firstly, comes from within.

Your favourite colour? Blue like my eyes. Or rather, how I’d like them to be.

Your favourite dish? Aubergine Parmigiana, and while I’m writing this reply, I’m blocking my nutritionist who would have a fit if they read it.

What is talent? The most common and overestimated thing in the world. We’ve all got it, in our own particular way. The real problem lies in managing to make it flourish, getting rid of all the energy blocks we’ve applied – whether consciously or not – to our existence. My personal research work is all focused on identifying them and dissolving them.  

Your life motto? I want more, more and more (of life).

26 October 2021