What has driven Marta Sala to now start her own line of furniture and objects, distinguished by the charming acronym MSÉ ? What kind of reasoning inspires an entrepreneur who - although still young as an exponent of a second family generation - has already gained many years of experience dealing with designers and manufacturing? Is there more calculation or risk, boldness or recklessness, behind such a decision, at a time like this?

Probably nothing of the sort. One would say rather, seeing the tangible results of this new project, that naturally arise from the DNA of an artistic family (her mother is Maria Teresa Tosi, founder of Azucena with her uncle Luigi Caccia Dominioni and Ignazio Gardella, two giants of critical modernism in architecture), the desire to tackle that 10% inspiration, 90% transpiration - as the young Doinel/Léaud/Truffaut learns from the job of detective in Baisers Voles - that is behind the possibility/capacity to create genuinely iconic objects: those for which Italian design has existed/exists and without which will no longer exist.

Guiding her in this kind of “automatic writing” of the design of useful things is the certainty that the best designers are still architects: professionals, people, intelligences who have chosen to deal with everything and not (just) the specific, to

look at the whole, see the “big picture”: in short, the wood and not just the trees. In this case the wood is first and foremost the home. In this territory that is psychologically boundless even when geometrically confined, the presence of furniture and objects is not just an indolent support for the weariness of gravity, the pedestal on which to place other objects or tools that make life more pleasant or just less sad: most of the time furniture and fittings signify a desire for eternity.

Because why else would entrepreneur and architects make so much effort to invent for furniture a look that is multifarious yet constant over time, to transform matter in ways that are different, visible and meaningful but also bear a distant resemblance to something familiar, or to make it more complicated, “interiorised”?

This will also be why the architects chosen by Marta Sala to be the first designers for her collection are Claudio Lazzarini and Carl Pickering. Experts in the design of interiors for architecture both found and invented, they have for some time been disseminating formal solutions and material details as evidence of an account of living poised between representation and abstraction - or rather between representing the importance of decor as a display of the culture of the homeowners and rendering this lifestyle through the forms, presumably geometric, of the objects. In the pieces designed for this first collection, geometry can also become mathematics: as in when thinking about the small seats for waiting or meditation L. and P., they conceive the notion of using the different possible combinations to create a pattern for often anonymous contract spaces, or unusual arrangements for the living room.

With respect to her past design experience, it is evident that for Marta Sala this is also an opportunity for divertissement, to take an ironic approach to design that has become too pompous and moralistic. One can exaggerate the dimensions of a sofa for example, controlled by a few simple cuts and curves for the overall form. Or attempt a combination of functions (table, lamp, screen) in a single piece, at the cost of making it result “overexposed”. The colours are never random but carefully picked out from those tonal ranges where green is never completely green or magenta is never truly magenta but rather the memory of another colour once seen that comes close to it but not too much. Here memory does not play cruel tricks, anything but. Approaching these pieces even just visually one will not be blandly exposed to the fixations of re-makers and revivalists of the 1930s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s - but one will find oneself asking questions about the possibility of still designing a function like the decoration of one’s own space, of reinventing a private and highly-personal world. It is perhaps not indispensable due to a widespread condition of unsettledness and uncertainly but remains necessary to persons of taste and some generosity, who love to share their ability to consider the world also through useful objects, things that still have a soul, even if it is secret.

Stefano Casciani


Via Montenapoleone 9
20121 - Milano