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Cristina Celestino, sensitive and subtle

She was born in 1980 in Pordenone, a small town in the Veneto Giulia region of Friuli, one hour from Venice, not far from Udine, in the Triangle of the Chair. As a child, she was interested in colorful drawings and creative games but not much more. Today, she renovates fabulous spaces with discretion and delicacy, juxtaposing remarkable materials for exceptional tactile experiences.

Terracotta, marble and velvet hold no secrets for her. “I realized my interest in design and interior design in high school with my art teacher who was an architect and who gave us fascinating lectures on the masters of Novecento. I then decided to study architecture at the Iuav di Venezia (Università Iuav di Venezia) in an idyllic environment. After graduating in 2005, I worked in different studios in Florence and Milan designing products and fittings for famous brands and then I opened my own office. To give myself visibility, I decided to exhibit at the Satellite show in 2012. I presented several products including the Florian table designed for a Swiss friend who had an art gallery – exhibition table, coffee table and wall mirror. At that time I had already launched Attico Design, a brand that served to make my design understood. In 2013, my daughter was born and I decided to focus on interior design full time.”

A dazzling start


“From there, I was contacted by companies to start working with them on commissions or as an art director. The first art direction I did was for Botteganove mosaics in 2016 and in the immediate aftermath for Fendi at Design Miami where I presented The Happy Room. This year I started new collaborations with international brands like Etel, Brazilian modernist furniture manufacturer, Kaldewei German manufacturer of enameled steel bathroom equipment and Dutch brand moooi. We have strengthened our collaboration with Billiani (wooden chair manufacturer in Manzano) and Fornace Brioni (terracotta tiles), designed a new bed for Gervasoni and new floors with De Maio. Sergio Rossi has just opened a new store in via Della Spiga in Milan, which I designed with my team, a ‘magic box’ where luxury shoes are overexposed in a universe like aquatic. It should serve as a model for the whole world.

Panorama Collection, design Cristina Celestino for ETEL
Filippo Bamberghi
A Timeless Home Story Collection, design Cristina Celestino for Billiani
Mattia Balsamini Studio

2020, the year of ‘smart working


“Covid has not tainted my business. My design practice has remained the same and I have applied new strategies to keep moving forward. My work is done in a team, this job is made of relationships, confrontations and exchanges as well as direct contact with prototypes, materials and finishes. Touch is essential and “smart working” is not an option for the future. There are issues that the pandemic has brought to the center of our attention: sustainable development, processes, materials, the product concept itself, the hybridization of functions both in space and in furniture. These topics will become even more a part of our creation. From my studio, a space chosen in September 2019, designed more like a second home than an office, I can welcome my clients to show them my approach to materials, interiors, colors.”

Cristina Celestino Studio © Davide Lovatti
Cristina Celestino Studio © Davide Lovatti

In Milan, via Pietro Maroncelli, in June 2022, she presented at ETEL, the Panorama collection (photo Filippo Bonberghi), a collection of furniture in Brazilian walnut worked with ancestral techniques, traditional as marquetry and bent wood, by her masters, Jorge Zalszupin and Oscar Niemeyer. In a perfect harmony that embraces both continents, America and Europe, Etel begins the third chapter of an international collection. Founded in 1985 by Etel Carmona, a self-taught designer who began her career in the 1980s restoring furniture in her country home in Sao Paulo, Etel has established itself as the Brazilian modernist furniture maker. Its furniture is displayed like jewels, like the haute couture of Brazilian furniture, with impeccable production – skilled craftsmen trained in traditional techniques and perfect knowledge of local woods. In 2001, it was one of the first companies to obtain FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification.

Panorama Collection, design Cristina Celestino for ETEL © Filippo Bamberghi

Artistic director of the Billiani company (founded in 1911 and based in Manzano), Cristina Celestino has just brought two new designers into this more than one hundred year old company: Constance Guisset who has signed Fleuron, all in wood or in an upholstered version, and Philippe Bestenhelder who has signed the Edelweiss collection, chairs, stools and armchairs with solid or perforated backs, photographed (by Mattia Balsamini Studio) in a 1950s villa by Carlo Scarpa. The intimate atmosphere of the pictures shows the will of the brand to position itself on the domestic field.

Outstanding collaborations

For Gebrüder Thonet Vienna GmbH, she signed the Caryllon coffee table in 2018, which expresses the power of the bentwood technique. At Moooi, she presented in June an armchair in the exhibition “A life extraordinary”, Salone dei Tessuti, via S. Gregorio, in a special focus on the creativity associated with technology. It is with the Palazzo Avino and its renovation that she made her mark, pushing her research on Ravello, the Amalfi coast and its villas with wonderful gardens such as Villa Cimbrone and Villa Rufolo. The Palazzo Avino, property of the Avino family, had to become an object of desire, at the top of cobbled and uneven streets. The hotel appears like a mirage in the middle of olive trees, lemon trees and orange trees on the terrace. The breathtaking view of the Tyrrhenian Sea must be earned and the details of the Moorish architecture revealed in pearly materials that refer to the surrounding flora.

Fauteuil Aldora, design Cristina Celestino pour Moooi

Her topiaries for Fornacebrioni make ideal accessories for her renovations. Her rattan boxes and banquettes for Maison Matisse, her marbles for Margraf create aquamarine, sand and coral atmospheres with pink, mocha or onyx accents, patinated wood effects, crackled ceramics, mirrors with refined aged effects with brushed brass inserts. Cotton and linen are offered in XXXL sizes with oversized patterns. Her monochromatic headboards (Pianca) and silky-grained rugs (CC Carpet) are suitable for even the most brutal of Dolomite spaces. Elected Designer of the Year 2022 at Maison & Objet, she is preparing a surprise… To be continued.

Pop Up Story Sergio Rossi in Milan in 2022 © Max Rommel
Pop Up Story Sergio Rossi in Milan in 2022 © Max Rommel

Bénédicte Duhalde