Designing Dreams With Dimorestudio
Few design firms carry a reputation like Dimorestudio. The masters of modern luxury, Milan-based Britt Moran and Emiliano Salci are the duo responsible for bringing Browns Brook Street to life. With a razor-sharp vision and indulgent eye for detailing, we sat down with Emiliano to hear about how they went about creating our enchanting new forever home...
Can you talk a bit about your creative relationship? What does each of you bring to the design process?
I think bouncing ideas off of each other is the thing that helps the most. Also the fact that we’re really different. We complement each other really nicely and that’s why the relationship works so well. We know who’s meant to do what! I’m probably more pragmatic than Emilio is, but he’s much more artistic and creative than I am in terms of seeing the bigger picture of a project. He has a complete idea from the first moment he sits down.
When approached to design Browns Brook Street, what was it about the project that excited you?
I remember when we had the first meeting in London, we were elated. Part of the essence of Dimorestudio is related to historic spaces that have this fallen, aristocratic decadence to them, and so the Brook Street space lends itself perfectly to our whole DNA. Plus the Browns brand itself is amazing - I think it’s a very enviable project for anyone.
When thinking about the design, where did you start? What was the jumping off point for your ideas and concepts?
We began with the space itself. It’s a historical building, so it has this patina to it that we wanted to keep. I think that makes it even more interesting, because when you’re inserting a contemporary piece, it becomes even more contemporary because of the shell that you’re putting it in, and vice versa. You begin to appreciate the shell itself even more because you have two time periods coexisting.
It’s probably like choosing a favourite child, but what is your favourite element of Browns Brook Street?
I love the Lancaster Yellow Room because it’s so iconic; it’s very graphic and photogenic. Also the beautiful murals on the wall that were restored, and the Mangiarotti lamp that we’ve hung above the jewellery display.
Where did you source the furniture and materials used?
Some pieces are from the collection that we have in our gallery space but a lot of pieces were made bespoke for the space itself, because the brief required us to create displays for the visual merchandising. One of the things we do so that it doesn’t look too “designed” is also to “dirty up” the space with some historical pieces that give it a little bit more of a patina.
Similar to how you can always tell when someone has bought everything for an interior all at once, as opposed to collecting things over time...
Yes, we don’t like to do the “total look”! (Laughs.) That was also what we were trying to do, because for retail spaces, customers come and go, but they also want to be surprised each time they visit. So we try to give Browns a shell that’s neutral, but in a really strong way. It’s not a white box, but it still lends itself to layering as the store develops and as things are moved in and taken out. It remains interesting and contemporary and new, but at the same time it allows the client to add things as necessary.
When executing a project on a scale such as this, what was the biggest challenge?
The pros and cons of working on a historical building is that you have an amazing space in which to work, but you also have to deal with all the local regulations around listed buildings. This one is Grade II*, so there were a lot of things to find solutions for.
I think lockdown was also one of the most difficult challenges, as we’re so used to being much more present onsite in terms of installation and overseeing the work, but it just wasn’t possible due to travel restrictions.
One of the things that you’ve touched on is this blend of past and future which you’ve harnessed in the flagship - how did you communicate this marriage of history and technology through the design?
One of the things that was really interesting for us is that Browns is so technologically advanced in terms of the services that they offer their clients. We became familiar with the “Connected Mirror” and the idea of this instrument as a sales tool. We wanted to integrate it into the store in an aesthetically pleasing way, but also give it some sort of historic standing, so we created these trunks that are very reminiscent of a travel trunk, but with the mirror incorporated into the trunk itself. Also the colour of the paint, which in most of the space is metallic. I think that’s where we’ve tried to marry the two eras.
So many look to Dimorestudio’s work for inspiration. Where do you go to feel inspired?
It’s always really important to us to add an element of art into what we do, and this is part of the inspiration for the store. A lot of the display pieces we used are very reminiscent of Fausto Melotti, the Italian artist. That’s something that we always turn to here; art and film for inspiration.
If Browns Brook Street was a film, what film do you think it would be?
Maybe Blow Up by Antonioni.
What does contemporary luxury mean to you and how does it make you feel?
For us, contemporary luxury is mixing older pieces in a new, contemporary way. Selecting pieces that are not so “in-your-face” luxury. That’s why the idea was also to use metals that are flashy very sparingly. We chose the copper finishes and the details in brass because they age very well. I think that is how this understated contemporary luxury feels and how we transmit that. I hope that visitors feel inspired and interested to explore the space.
Last but not least, what will Dimorestudio be shopping for at Browns Brook Street?
I’m the more classic of the two - so I’d probably be shopping for a very nice men's blazer. Emiliano would be shopping for anything Celine!
Browns Brook Street is now open at 39 Brook Street, London, W1K 4AH.
Dimorestudio founders Britt Moran and Emiliano Salci
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