The designer is also a set designer, always. Today even more

The story between design and scenography is an old one.

We forget it because the advent of social media has prompted, after an initial enthusiasm, a series of questions about the arrogance of the aestheticized image, about the search for a designed and unreal perfection.

But the designer's vision is not only functional to an industrial objective. It is made upside down of an organic, totalizing whole, in which the meaning of spaces and objects overlaps in a single story.

As if to say that when you draw a lamp, you immediately think of where it will live.

And vice versa, when designing the interiors of a place, the designer inevitably 'sees' also what it will contain. It is a process intrinsic to the humanistic quality of the profession, which always starts from a narrator.

Set design and design: a long history

This can already be seen in the projects of the Castiglionis: in 1960 Piergiacomo and Achille designed the Splugen-Brau brewery, for which they also designed the lamp of the same name, still in production. A suspension lamp that reinterprets the typological anatomy in an industrial key, without ignoring its more classic iconography.

Exactly as happened for the conception of what today we will call the Splugen-Brau flag-ship store.

In that environment one was inevitably entangled in the story of the brand, in its natural proximity to materials, shapes and geographical characteristics. But the reinterpretation is contemporary: an urban stübe that reflects the Milanese culture of the time. In short: a scenography.

Has social media exacerbated the tendency to aestheticize the designer's story?

Social networks are made up of images, above all: if anything, they have changed the representation of the project, sometimes confusing the waters.

A beautiful image minimizes flaws, captures impeccable detail, can turn a weak story into an emotional poem. And, in the worst case, replace the content.

It is the work of a certain photographic practice, and it has always existed. If anything, what has changed is the way of constructing the interior design, which has forcibly returned to using codes and signs almost universally disliked by 'pure' design.

Cristina Celestino and color

Color, for example. It is a great comeback and it is not obvious to have a sure chromatic sensibility.

Cristina Celestino has often made it a flag in her projects, together with a marked talent for creating seductive spaces, where the only concern is the idea of having to emerge sooner or later from an impeccable scenography of warm, delicate tones that surround forms of the past and contemporary reinterpretations of styles of yesteryear.

It's a world, the one that Cristina Celestino designs every time. Warm, reassuring, enveloping. The wow effect is guaranteed, but this is also the profession of design and the investment of economic and creative resources in the Milan Design Week proves it every year.

Space as Noa's theatre*

The Noa* network of architects does not distance itself from this reassuring frame, but uses a syncretic language, which clearly suggests the hybridization between contemporary signs and memory. Clean lines and warm materials are illuminated by contrasting lights to create theatrical atmospheres.

In this case, the scenography enters the project to underline the passage from the ordinary world to an intimate, reflective space.

Noa's concern* is boredom: architecture as a stable form, always the same. A condition overcome by the desire to fearlessly experiment scenographic tools, non-ordinary materials and discrete natural presences.

The scenography of the meeting

Gabriele Chiave, creative director of Marcel Wanders's studio for years, has absorbed the cosmopolitan and light-hearted attitude of the Dutch designer.

One of the most representative works is a lounge for Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam. In a non-place par excellence, a living room with soft lights has been reconstructed, in a protected and restful atmosphere that dissolves the sensation of a non-place.

Gabriele Chiave grew up in a family of diplomats and traveled the world before stopping to be a designer. In his case the scenographic element is focused on sociality understood in its broadest sense. The possibility of entering and exiting, of passing through, does not mean impersonality but an encounter between human beings.