by Anmol AhujaFeb 24, 2021
"We are like an old couple who is always fighting over stupid and silly things".
– Arianna Lelli Mami (Co-founder, Studiopepe)
Two souls bitten by the travel bug and sparked by curiosity and a passion for hidden and surreal things define the relationship between Arianna Lelli Mami and Chiara Di Pinto, the founders and art directors of Milan-based design agency, Studiopepe. The duo, in the third episode of UNSCRIPTED, opens up about their quirks, alter egos and pet peeves, and recounts how a mere coincidence years ago landed them where they are today…
Graduated from Politecnico di Milano in courses of interior design and industrial design respectively, Lelli Mami and Di Pinto never interacted during school despite meeting many times at the coffee machine. Their paths, however, crossed over a month after their graduation when the Italian designers found themselves on a tiny, deserted Mexico beach while on their separate holidays. “She had a backpack and I saw her red hair and I screamed, ‘Chiara! Chiara!’,” recalls Lelli Mami who bumped into Di Pinto amid a handful of people and a few palm trees. “I was waiting for a bus to head to Chiapas,” adds Di Pinto, “and if she was passing by 10 minutes later, we wouldn’t have met". It was 2005, the year that marked the starting point of their partnership. “From there, we travelled a lot and discovered each other – our creativity and taste – and when we got back, it was all about finding our voice and shape our stories,” adds Lelli Mami, who established Studiopepe in 2006 with Di Pinto as a design, architecture and creative direction agency.
While I don’t like to talk a lot with people, Chiara can speak with anyone. She is more open and can even talk to stones. – Arianna Lelli Mami
Over the years, the Italian studio has worked on projects including a constellation-shaped virtual showcase of their products and projects (De-siderio, 2020), interiors for a Thai fashion chain in Bangkok (Jaspal Store, 2018), and a pop-up club occupying a 19th century warehouse at the Fuorisalone (Club Unseen, 2018). The works have consistently been recognised by the use of strong iconography, layers of storytelling, and experimentation related to colours and materials.
Arianna brings me back to the earth as I often jump too far when discussing ideas. – Chiara Di Pinto
While the multifaceted practice is forged by a fascination for art, objects and alchemy – spanning realms of set design, interiors, product design and creative direction – the duo’s personal style is stirred by a sheer discordance in perceptions and ideas. “We are like an old couple who is always fighting over stupid and silly things,” chuckles Lelli Mami, who further adds that their practice follows a dialectic approach in which everything is brought to the table and then one idea is carved that starts with a story.
Know more about the fellow designers as they reveal their crazier side on UNSCRIPTED. Tap on the cover video for the complete conversation.
Curated by Pramiti Madhavji (Consultant, Content Adviser, STIR), UNSCRIPTED is a STIR-original series of quick-witted video interviews with 30 leading design professionals who give us an undiscovered peek into their lives. A melting pot of quests, revelations and quirks, the series spans 30 weeks with a release every Sunday as designers reveal unheard and unknown nuggets from their lives, in response to 30 questions.