Founded originally in 1964 by his father, Romano Seletti, Stefano Seletti and sister Miria Seletti, are the second generation of a brand with over fifty years of pedigree, and have been instrumental in shaping the unique and visionary brand that Seletti is today.
Out There Interiors talks to Stefano Seletti, Seletti Holder & Art Director about the vision behind the Seletti brand, his personal design favourites and inspiration.
The OTI team love the new Outline range that you have launched for Spring 2015. What was the inspiration behind it? Did you use somebody’s real life sofa to model it on?
The iron rod used in the design is like the graphite of a pencil, which designs with sophisticated curves the effect of Capitonné stuffing (found in traditional upholstered furniture). Remotely surreal, the series evokes memory stimulations, sending back a familiar image to the viewer.
What are your favourite three Seletti products and why?
It is very difficult for me to choose, I love all the products and the best one is always the newest one, even though I will never betray my past. An example for now is the Toiletpaper Project. These are projects that belong to my origins, products similar to those imported by my father from China in 1972, which he used to sell in local markets (the metal mug, the plastic mirrors, kitchen towels, plastic trays, plastic tablecloths…), and it is exactly for this devotion and this memory that we decided to work with Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari. This is a great return to “popular” and to Basic products with accessible prices for everyone, with a very well selected distribution logic (the tp Collection can be purchased in the best shops all over the world for accessible prices for all). This is a revolution for us.
Another satisfying Project is the collaboration with Diesel and their team. Working in harmony has given us two collections for the table that have obtained great results and very important appreciation. This is just the beginning.
In terms of commercial satisfaction, the other important projects for us are “lighting” and “neon font”, a bright alphabet (and a series of numbers and symbols) formed by letters that can be joined together to form a word, number, symbol or sentence that can light up the environment where one lives or works. It is another unconventional way to ‘enlight’.
What or who inspires you, on a day to day basis?
I find the major inspiration is my family, in my little daughters and nephews. I have in front of me an extraordinary generational context (little girls and teenagers) from 5 to 17 years of age, and I chose them for the elaboration of my new projects, because I like to understand what they watch on TV, how they sit on the sofa, how they use their smartphones. Of course, travelling has contributed a lot to the development of styles, necessities, and colour variety. Since I was 17 I have travelled to the Far East for work and amusement, and I have been married for the last 15 years to my Brazilian wife. (We are…) Two opposite worlds that have created wonderful contrasts in my day to day, and with imperfections that I appreciate so much.
If you could have personally designed one item in history what would it have been and why?
I consider Monsieur (Marcel) Bich my highest level of inspiration: for his design of a lighter, a pen and a shaver. Perfect products, and each one extremely different from the other as merchandising categories, detectable in all parts of the world. All of this without investing in publicity, at least until recently.
How would you describe your own personal interior design style?
It is difficult to define it as a design-style. I am not a designer, unfortunately my school career ended early and I then started to follow my father in his trips to the Far East. At 18 I entered the family company and I immediately loved it. My style and my company’s is a gathering of experiences from the past, future visions, mistakes, different materials, different styles, imitations. A kind of plaudit to the imperfection that makes us different from all the other competitors.
What is a normal working day like for you and your team?
I live and work in the countryside. My house is only 100 meters away from my office. Time is regulated by the slow routine of the village. My daughters go to school by bike in the morning, I go to walk to work and then we all see each other at my parents’ house for lunch (they too live near my office). We don’t have overtime and we stop from 12:30 to 14:00. This way we can divide the day, to have a break from stress and the difficulties of the job. Some of our collaborators stay in our office for lunch where we have installed a kitchen, but most of the guys live nearby and manage to eat at home. This situation is excellent for a work/life balance but it is obviously often changed by trips, expositions (fairs), meetings, and a long holiday I have in Brazil with my family.
You talk about a journey towards a ‘new beauty’ can you elaborate further?
I believe in a concept not too blinded with perfection. I love a used chair, with history, I like a wooden floor with traces, a wall with marks on. Our objects must tell a story but they have prices accessible for all. I believe this to be the real new thing Seletti proposes.
Can you give us a sneaky peak into what concepts you and your team are currently working on? What can we expect to see in 2015/2016?
We are now exploring new merchandising categories, such as outdoor. For the next Salone del Mobile - it’s a famous Italian furniture exposition - we will have a new product in partnership with Studio job that will represent a new revolution!!!
And finally you’re hosting a dinner party, and you can invite anyone to it, living, imaginary or dead. Who would you bring, why and what would be on your menu?
I’d leave it all to my wife because she is a fabulous hostess and a great cook… I would take care of the wine…maybe a Barbaresco to start with and a good Barolo to continue.
To see more of Seletti's innovative products available now at Out There Interiors click here