Ask a Designer: Stefano Seletti on marijuana or fast food

Ask a Designer: Stefano Seletti on marijuana or fast food


The sofa is the bun, the roll is a hot dog,
the cushions are tomato and cucumber slices. Stefano Seletti loves little provocations. Fast-food furniture and animal lamps made
his company’s name. His objects are bright, loud and garish. But then, he doesn’t take himself all that
seriously. Stefano Seletti and his wife Adriana like
to decorate their own home with products from Stefano’s company. “I love my work, so I also love all the things
we make. They’re my passion. I like surrounding myself with them. When a new rug or plate is finished, I can
hardly wait to try it out at home.” Stefano Seletti lives in this farmhouse in
the countryside of the Po Basin near Parma. He bought it twenty years ago and has decorated
it in his personal style. The living room’s centerpiece is the Seletti
“Phone” rug. But not everything here is from his company. “I like to mix things, like this sofa by Moroso,
with our own photo-print pillows. Something of one color combined with these
strong images – I like these so-called mistakes, and not the perfect combination.” Not far from his home is Stefano Seletti’s
company headquarters, with a large showroom for iconic Seletti designs. The “Hot Dog Sofa” and “Burger-Chair”. The “Banana Lamp”, originally an expensive
art object cast in bronze, is now made of synthetic resin and retails for 229 euros. The bestseller is the “Monkey Lamp”, designed
by Italian artist Marc Antonio. “It’s an object with a personality. It keeps us company, and it’s decorative. It makes us smile and expresses our desire
for joy and being carefree.” The Seletti company’s beginnings were a bit
more humble. Stefano’s father Romano began importing basic
housewares from China in the 1960s. Stefano joined the family business after finishing
high school and quickly developed his own ideas. He wanted to replace the housewares with amusing
and unusual decorative objects. Nearly all of it is still made in China, though. Now 47 years old, Stefano doesn’t create the
designs himself but works closely with various professional designers and artists. This duvet cover features dollar bills with
his face on them – an idea from his friend Maurizio Cattelan. The “Sending Animals” cabinet offers storage
space and is a tribute to the one-time farmhouse – as is the plastic tablecloth in the kitchen,
another design by Cattelan. Seletti knows there’s a thin line between
art and kitsch. “I think we’re good at not drifting over into
excessive kitsch. We manage to stay on that thin borderline. The ‘Monkey Lamp,’ for instance, has been
copied countless times. But none of the knockoffs has the artistic
touch of our lamps. You can see right away that they’re knockoffs. They look like gadgets.” This conservatory with open fireplace and
comfy sofas strewn with Seletti pillows is the only addition he made to the old farmhouse. Sometimes, Stefano Seletti can’t find any
space for a new collector’s item. So it gets stored here in the laundry room,
his own personal cabinet of curosities.


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