At Home With Attico Design Founder Cristina Celestino in Milan
May 5, 2020
By Monica Khemsurov
Italian architect Cristina Celestino is the last person you’d expect to have an understated home. Since founding the studio Attico Design in 2011, she’s cultivated her own brand of baroque, feminine maximalism, one rooted in classical Milanese style and heavy on color and texture. Many of her furnishings feature feathers, florals, or fringe. Her interiors—for clients like Fendi, Sergio Rossi, and LuisaViaRoma—tend to be wrapped entirely in saturated velvet upholstery, graphic carpeting, and candy-colored tiles. Yet inside her 1,722-square-foot apartment in Milan’s Città Studineighborhood, the walls are white. The sofa is taupe. “Personal interiors need a different approach than public ones,” she explains. “I wanted to keep my own house freer and not linked to a specific period, partly so I can change it easily.”
Reason being, Celestino has spent the better part of her life collecting iconic works of Italian modernism—from a 1960 Tobia Scarpa bed to a 1982 Paolo Piva coffee table—and wanted her space to act as a blank canvas for re-arranging or replacing those objects as she acquires new ones. (One ongoing obsession: lamps. “I have so many that part of the collection is stored at my parents’ house,” she says.) The spare decor also keeps the focus on the character of the apartment itself, which is why she bought it in the first place: Built in the 1940s, it has a wide living room, original Palladiana marble and parquet floors, and a striking ceramic fireplace. Recently she discovered that the fireplace—along with a console, table, wardrobe, and some of the apartment’s interior doors—were all designed by Italian icon Osvaldo Borsani, whose Tecno P40 armchairs and D70 sofa Celestino has owned for years.
It’s not to say that Celestino’s design language is missing from the apartment entirely, though. The shelves are lined with her own colorful glass atomizers and vases, and other nooks feature her cabinets, mirrors, and lamps. She also has shells, corals, and dried flowers scattered around the space, reflecting one of the biggest themes in her work: natural forms. “The house is essentially a catalogue of my research and my personal identity,” Celestino says. “It’s not the identity of a brand. But it perfectly reflects my vision.”