Name: Britt Moran
Place of birth: North Carolina, United States
Occupation: Interior designer, entrepreneur
Name: Emiliano Salci
Place of birth: Tuscany, Italy
Occupation: Interior designer, entrepreneur
Mr. Moran, as an interior designer and co-founder of the Dimore Studio firm, would you say there’s an element of voyeurism in your work?
I'm a really curious person myself, and I do think everybody's a little bit voyeuristic in terms of seeing other people's private spaces! I grew up in the countryside so whenever we would go to visit a town, you'd have the chance to walk along the sidewalks and that would give you the chance to glance into people's homes as you passed. It’s something that even still, whenever my business partner and Dimore co-founder Emiliano Salci and I are traveling, you know, you're taking a taxi from the airport to the city and you gradually move into the center where you can get a quick glance through people’s windows.
Getting to see into my neighbors’ homes was always my favorite part of trick-or-treating as a kid. I think we all have that innate curiosity.
(Laughs) Right, I have the trick-or-treating memory, too! You’d get one look at just the front hall or the foyer of whoever's house you’re trick or treating at…
Do you think that’s when your love of interiors was sparked?
It could be! But my mom also subscribed to a few different interior design magazines, and I loved looking through those. I grew up in North Carolina, which is one of the southern states and has its own very specific architecture because it was one of the Colonial states. As a child, we my mom would take us on visits to Charleston and Savannah, where we would see Southern Revival architecture, plantation homes — and despite the negative history they may have, the architecture, I think, is still really spectacular. My parents would go to a lot of auctions and estate sales as well, where you could buy antique furniture. It’s something we still do together, and that’s complete voyeurism because you’re basically rummaging through someone’s possessions.
“That’s always the objective for us, that we’re creating something that is going to last forever, rather than something that will be easily recognized.”
What kind of special pieces in your own home do you think someone would love to find at an estate sale or catch a glimpse of through your window?
We’re between homes at the moment! But for any of the homes we live in, color is something that makes a long-lasting impression on people — more so than even special pieces of furniture or objects. One of our friends just painted his living room gold, completely gold, and I remember I was riding by their place on my bicycle and I caught a glimpse of it from the street and had to stop… So I think color is really important to having that impact.
Aside from being an interior design studio, Dimore also creates objects, furniture, and textiles. How do you ensure that these elements also create that long-lasting impression?
I think what we're doing trying to do more of is make things that are timeless so that they can stay in the home as long as possible. With our first collection in 2017, we really wanted anyone with any kind of home to be able to introduce one of our designs into their space and have it insert itself perfectly, because it was timeless in its proportions and construction and material. That’s always the objective for us, that we’re creating something that is going to last forever, rather than something that will be easily recognized.
It’s also important for your designs to enhance your clients’ personality, too. There needs to be a balance.
Sure, I mean, the home is your container! It's where you put your collection of things. I think everyone collects things, some in a more minimal way, some in a more maximal way… But I think it's always an extension of one's personality more than anything. Whatever our clients have put together over the years: travel souvenirs, objects they’ve received as gifts, things they've purchased… These all become part of their own personal collection to furnish their house. It’s their own personal space, and I think we're good at creating the the envelope that can holds everything that they already have.
How do you accomplish that? I can imagine there is a lot of research involved, especially when you’re working for a brand or company.
With retail or hospitality spaces, it's much less personal. The brand gives you a brief and they ask you to digest it. They give you an introduction to the DNA of the brand, and usually they ask you to do a re-interpretation of it. When you're working with a residential, private family, there's much more of a constant interaction with likes and dislikes and needs. Personal space is very different. They don’t just give you a blank sheet of paper and tell you to go ahead!
You’ve previously described your work as selling a whole world.
We really do try and hit all of the senses! So when we create spaces for something like Salone di Mobile, we’ve got the music, and the lighting, and the scent, and the touch… And I say it very modestly, but I think that there's this very magical atmosphere that combines whenever you have all of these elements in place. It's a completely different world. And I think we're able to do the same thing for clients through the fabrics that we use, the colors on the walls, the lighting. I like to use the example that whenever you interact with people during your day, they contribute in some way to enriching your lives through the things that they tell you about; books, films, art, whatever they’ve seen in their life. And I think that that's one of the things that we try to do as well as, you know? We want to contaminate people with what we like more than anything else.
Is that kind of world-building something you’ve always been interested in, even for your own company? You’ve recently opened your own gallery on top of everything else.
Right, I mean, I'm always a little bit worried that I'm going to run out of time to do all the things I’m interested in! (Laughs) I think it was always our goal to expand into different fields; even from our very first space, we were laying the groundwork for what we were going to continue doing. I think it's always what we had in mind, this kind of layering, all these different worlds together. The most important thing was always to start weaving a story and to create these layers that make up a lifestyle brand.
Have you always been a creative soul in this way?
Emiliano is more of the artistic one, actually! I think we’ve found a balance between us. I studied biology at university, so I think I'm a good example that you don’t have to study something specific to do it! If you have a passion about something, you find your way.