At Work With: Sophie Wannenes, PalermoUno
Deep in the heart of Brera, Milan’s premier design district, Sophie Wannenes has turned her period apartment into a livable, shoppable emporium of beautiful interior pieces hand-selected from a wide range of eras, geographies and aesthetics. The interior designer, antique dealer and decorator draws from her own heritage in the business as well as a plethora of influences to create a stunningly curated space you’ll never want to leave. Nestled in the aubergine tinged kitchen is our Basalt Ceiling Light, reflected in a wall of vintage mirrors and delicately poised above a pair of intricate dining chairs by Pierluigi Colli and Kirkby Design. Here, Sophie lets us into her world, if only for a brief moment.
What were you like as a kid, and how did your childhood influence your professional life?
I was always a very hyperactive and curious child. I grew up in a house full of Louis XVI French furniture so maybe i was used to beautiful things.
PalermoUno is a powerful showcase of your individual vision. Where do you source your creative inspiration from?
I think it is more instinctual than anything else. I really follow my personal taste and instinct.
How did you approach the fit-out of the space? What draws you to a particular object?
First we chose the colours of the walls, carpet and upholstery, then all the rest. I think I am drawn to an object that has a particular look as in ‘hand-made’ or with an artisanal touch. Simply elegant, or at least my idea of elegance. Sometimes I am attracted to something that is simple, graphic, very well-made and with a daily use. Your Touch Lamp is a perfect example.
How does light – natural and artificial – influence the way in which you select objects and curate spaces?
My god, since LED has arrived into our lives it is sometimes a little bit harder to understand what kind of lighting I should expect from a light I adore aesthetically. My boyfriend says he needs to have dinner with a caveman’s torch because I love soft lighting. Light for me is very important to create a warm and cozy atmosphere. With LED systems it is very easy to re-create natural lighting in a house, although I do prefer to create a cozy warm light with aesthetically beautiful design lighting.
What would you say are the essential components that every well designed interior requires?
One comfortable sofa and a conversation seat or armchairs (could also be less comfortable but beautiful!) A couple of vintage pieces as these always give coziness to an interior, plus three eclectic and elegant pieces. All the rest can be ‘normal’ as they will be ignored; all the attention will go on the two or three exceptional pieces.
What kind of feeling do you hope visitors will take away with them after dwelling in your space?
One I already know is to have more confidence in using colours. Everyone is absolutely flabbergasted by the use of colours. The feel of mixing centuries, pieces from different eras mixing perfectly together, and last but not least, to give more importance to kitchens. Italians spend half of their life eating and talking about food so kitchens are very important and sometimes they are not given the right amount of attention.
PalermoUno is open Monday – Friday, 10am – 7pm.
Via Palermo 1, Milan