Watch Studio Pepe’s otherworldly design manifesto

The Milanese design duo have gathered their inspirations and pieces from the past year into a magical video

Modernist architecture building in the middle of the desert
The setting for Studio Pepe's Desiderio, a modernist architecture dropped onto an imaginary desert
(Image credit: press)

Designers Arianna Lelli Mami and Chiara Di Pinto of Milanese design practice Studio Pepe spent the past year wondering about ‘the use of public or domestic spaces and our ever changing relationship with objects.’

The result of these explorations is summed up in a poetic video manifesto titled Desiderio. ‘In these challenging times, questions are necessary and of a different kind,’ they say. ‘The sociality and the use of collective spaces have radically changed. For this reason, this year Studiopepe focused the attention on a concept related to a more mental dimension.’

Watch: Studio Pepe’s Desiderio

Meaning ‘desire', the origin of the word ‘desiderio' intrigued the designers: ‘The word is composed of the Latin prefix de-, meaning "lack of", and the word sidus,
 which means "star",’ they note. ‘To desire something literally means, “to lack stars”, to “feel a lack of stars”, or in other words to feel that something is wanting, and therefore foster a sentiment of passionate seeking,’ a feeling that well encapsulates much of 2020 so far.

The word became the central focus of the pair’s ‘imagined constellation’, a compendium of their most recent projects and an opportunity to present them away from a physical design week setting. ‘[The project] involved formal research and research on materials, analysis of signs and language, all aspects that are characteristic of our design vision. It’s no longer a physical place that reflects our projects, but an imaginary architecture.’

A red-lined sketch from Desiderio

A sketch from Desiderio

(Image credit: press)

Located in a mysterious place (a modernist structure dropped onto a desert on earth, or on the surface of a new planet), the imagined building contains Studio Pepe’s rugs designed for CC Tapis, lights and furnishings for Baxter and pieces for Gallotti e Radice among others. Images of the space are interspersed with a rich collection of visual references, ranging from classical sculpture to contemporary architecture, as well as line drawings by Di Pinto and Lelli Mami. 

‘De-siderio is what moves our soul and keeps us constantly curious,’ they say. ‘In the passionate and very human research for conjunction and beauty.

A red-lined sketch of the Azzal shelving for Baxter

A sketch of the Azzal shelving for Baxter

(Image credit: press)

A red-lined sketch of a lazybones chair

The sketches enrich the video, which also feature found imagery depicting art, design and architecture inspirations. Pictured here, Studio Pepe's Lazybones chair, designed for Baxter

(Image credit: press)

Red-lined sketches of pairs of sculptures

A pair of sculptures created for Tacchini, titled Pablo & Dora

(Image credit: press)

A red-lined sketch of a table lamp

(Image credit: press)


Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.