At Home With Attico Design Founder Cristina Celestino in Milan

Celestino had owned Osvaldo Borsani’s D70 sofa and P40 armchairs—shown in her living room alongside a Paolo Piva coffee table, vintage Italian lamps, and a standing bell jar she designed with Matteo Bastoni—for years before she found out that many elements of the apartment are attributed to Borsani. Photography by Helenio Barbetta/Living Inside and production by Chiara dal Canto/Living Inside. 

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 Studi neighborhood, 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.”

Celestino in her studio, with her geometric Obei Obei mirrors for AtipicoPhotography by Helenio Barbetta/Living Inside and production by Chiara dal Canto/Living Inside. 


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.

In Celestino’s reading nook, Joe Colombo armchairs pair with her first-ever collecting purchase: a 1965 floor lamp by Luigi Bandini Buti for Kartell, found on eBay. Photography by Valentina Sommariva/Living Inside and production by Alice Salerni/Living Inside.

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.”

The designer in her Milan studio. Photography by Valentina Sommariva/Living Inside and production by Alice Salerni/Living Inside.
In the bedroom are a 1950s Stilnovo floor lamp, a 1960 Tobia Scarpa bed, and a 1970 wall sconce by Angelo Brotto for Esperia, for whom Celestino designed two new lamps last year. Photography by Valentina Sommariva/Living Inside and production by Alice Salerni/Living Inside.
Nature-inspired motifs in Celestino’s Passiflora wallpaper for Misha Wallcoverings reflect her countryside upbringing. Photography by Valentina Sommariva/Living Inside and production by Alice Salerni/Living Inside.
A Glas Italia cabinet filled with one of the first Attico Design designs: perfume atomizers made from fluted glass. Photography by Valentina Sommariva/Living Inside and production by Alice Salerni/Living Inside.
Celestino’s terra-cotta Acanti tiles for Fornace Brioni were inspired by the geometry of hedges in a formal garden. Photography by Valentina Sommariva/Living Inside and production by Alice Salerni/Living Inside.
A single Acanti tile. Photography by Valentina Sommariva/Living Inside and production by Alice Salerni/Living Inside.
Artworks she created with Fujifilm in 2015 were inspired by the Vienna Secession movement and feature some of Adolf Loos’s favorite materials digitally printed onto slate. Photography by Helenio Barbetta/Living Inside and production by Chiara dal Canto/Living Inside. 
Samples for Fornace Brioni, a fourth-generation Italian terra-cotta tile maker Celestino became creative director of in 2017. Photography by Valentina Sommariva/Living Inside and production by Alice Salerni/Living Inside. 
At right, the designer’s Plissé rug for CC-TapisPhotography by Valentina Sommariva/Living Inside and production by Alice Salerni/Living Inside.
Another sample for Fornace Brioni. Photography by Valentina Sommariva/Living Inside and production by Alice Salerni/Living Inside. 
While serving as creative director of the Italian heritage tile manufacturer BottegaNove, from 2015 to 2017, Celestino designed these feather-inspired wall tiles. Photography by Helenio Barbetta/Living Inside and production by Chiara dal Canto/Living Inside. 

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