I have been loving and reporting on Cristina Celestino’s work for quite some time now.
Cristina is an Italian architect and designer, founder of Milan-based design studio Attico. You will probably recall some of her projects like the Atomizer perfume bottle collection, the Ecstasy dressing table, the Bon Ton pendant lights, the Velasca glasses and Obei Obei mirrors from the Ambrosiana collection, or the Olfattorio glass vases.
Cristina is a great collector of Italian design masterpieces and curious towards all objects. Today, she exclusively takes us to her home in Milan.
Here is her interview, illustrated by photographer Cristina Galliena Bohman.
Hi Cristina, tell us a bit about your background…
I’m both architect and designer. I think that the background of architecture and design is the same. The creative process is similar, the timing and the actors are different. My work experience as an architect has been very important for my training.
I studied Architecture in Venice: it was a great experience both for the excellent teachers and the charme of the city. The curiosity toward all the objects, being a collector of Italian design masterpieces, the move to Milan in 2010 and the work experience as interior architect at the Sawaya & Moroni design office, were the ingredients that bring me ready to start my own business with Attico.
What’s the story behind Studio Attico?
The name comes from the penthouse close to San Pietro in Rome where I spent 10 months in 2009/2010 before moving to Milano. ATTICO in Italian means penthouse; it conjugates the best quality of materials with the purity of shape creating pieces that express “the luxury of imperfection.” ATTICO aims to be the spokesperson for a re-discovery of the manufacturing industry within industrial production. I became an entrepreneur and an editor at the same time, in conversation with small to medium sized businesses. Actually my work spans from limited editions for galleries and museums, to mass products for major companies, to special commissions for brands.
You love …. You hate …
I love to spent holidays in architectural trips. In 2012 for example I made a round trip visiting Le Corbusier masterpieces across France and Suisse. In 2008, I visited Yale University in New Haven with a lot of interesting building, in particular made by Paul Rudolph’s Luis Kahn and Eero Saarinen.
I love any kind of home made fruit jam.
I love my job.
I love hunting rare Italian design masterpieces from flea markets to design auctions.
I hate design copycats.
I hate lies.
Your favorite room?
There is something very special in the dining room. These are times for living rooms that include the dining area. I love the fascination of bourgeoisie rituals when this room was a kind of mise en scene of the owners for the guests.
Your most precious belonging?
Concerning the collection, a Fontana Arte low table designed by Gio Ponti in the 30’s.
How did you start your design collection at home?
It all began 10 years ago. In that period I was living in Florence, working on architectural projects such as the Scuderie Medicee restoration. My home was empty, ready to take shape. One of the first pieces has been a rare floor lamp by luigi bandini buti for Kartell. In a couple of months I found a second one in Milan. Same color. I realized soon that a kind of design virus struck me! I felt in love immediately with vintage Martinelli lamps serpente, ruspa and visiere. Gabbianelli ceramics as well, are some of my very first passions.
Your best interior design advice?
My advice is to buy the only things you really like. Don’t look for bargains and special sales forgetting your personal taste. In this case the home risk to become a bazaar without a fil rouge behind. Once you get the right pieces, just try to fit them in different locations. When it works, it is done.
Milan’s best shopping addresses?
I suggest Nilufar Depot, an amazing design gallery.
Antonia, a retail temple of multi-brand fashion in Brera. I love the velvet seating, the marble of the floor and the bronze of shelves stock shoes.
People who inspire you …
Luigi Caccia Dominioni.
Best design hotel you’ve ever been to?
Hotel Boite designed by Edoardo Gellner and commissioned by Enrico Mattei for ENI in the late 50’S. A masterpiece near Cortina D’Ampezzo, recently restored.
If I offer you the keys of an existing architectural construction, which one would you pick?
La Maison Blanche designed by Le Corbusier, in Le Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland.
How is your usual Sunday morning?
I confess that sometimes I work a little bit if necessary. It’s more fruitful than other working days. Otherwise I do relax with my family, travelling or taking care of my plants and flowers.
Thank you Cristina!
Photos © Cristina Galliena Bohman (her blog at Talentedstories.com)