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 This Milan-Based Duo Just Might Change the Way You Look at Hotels

The travel and design world is taking note of Dimore Studios.

If this is the first you’re hearing of Britt Moran and Emiliano Salci, who make up the Milan-based interior design firm Dimore Studio, it won’t be the last. While the duo started collaborating back in 2003, they’ve more recently shifted their focus from private homes to public spaces. The response has been raves both within the insular world of design and among those who have happened to wander into one of their moody, elegantly faded interiors, which manage to feel Old World and modern at the same time.

Momentum started building five years ago, when they hung a hauntingly beautiful light installation at Ian Schrager’s Public Hotel in Chicago. In Paris and Milan, they reimagined retail outposts for Hermès, Aesop, and candlemaker Cire Trudon. And each project seems to get more ambitious. At the March unveiling of the Palazzo Fendi in Rome, the fashion world swooned over Dimore’s sumptuous redo of thestore’s private second floor, where Fendi entertains VIP customers. 

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    Milan's Next Big Export
    From Chicago to Milan: Wander into the inspired world of Dimore Studio by clicking through the slideshow. 

    Photo by Mai Linh
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    AD Intérieurs
    "We like to mix vintage and modern, and wildly different color palettes and patterns," says the designing duo. Dimore often floats new ideas at design showhouses. This is a contemporary-butretro display cabinet they created for AD Intérieurs in France.

    Photo by Silvia Rivoltella 
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    Salone del Mobile debut
    Dimore's subtle, glamorously unconventional vignette debuted at Salone del Mobile, a massive furniture fair held during Milan’s Design Week.

    Photo by Jerome Galland 
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    Aesop store
    In December, Dimore’s second Aesop store, left, opened in Milan. “We had the idea of turning it into a beautiful 1930s-inspired butler’s pantry,” says Moran, “with Formica cabinets, a linoleum floor, and tiled teal ceilings and walls.”

    Photo by Paola Pansini
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    Public Hotel Chicago
    Dimore broke into hotel work five years ago wtih this constellatino of glowing orbs in Ian Schrager's Public Hotel in Chicago. "Working in hotels, we have free rein, a precise deadline, and we get to create our own worlds," says Moran.

    Courtesy of Dimore Studio 
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    Progetto Non Finito
    Last year, Dimore launched Progetto Non Finito, a collection of fabrics, rugs, lighting, and furniture, which lend a whimsical vibe to their interiors.

    Photo by Silvia Rivoltella
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    Casa Fayette hotel
    In Guadalajara’s Casa Fayette hotel, right, salmon-pink walls are the backdrop for custom-made Italian furniture that evokes mid-century glamour. The original 1940s tiled floors were restored with the help of local artisans.

    Photo by Adam Wiseman
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    A Parisian home
    This vibrant Parisian home perfectly captures what Dimore is all about: elegantly faded interiors that manage to feel Old World and modern at the same time.

    Photo by Mai Linh
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The travel world is taking notice, too. Casa Fayette, which opened last fall in a 1940s art deco gem in Guadalajara, Mexico, was the perfect canvas for Dimore to play with different eras and styles, and it became the most talked-about hotel debut in the city in decades. “Working in hotels, we have free rein, a precise deadline, and we get to create our own worlds,” says Moran. In the just-opened Hôtel Saint-Marc, they blended the opulence of the building—an 18th-century Parisian mansion—with touches of the 1970s (orange velvet chairs, psychedelic drapes) and glittering art deco flourishes (gold-accented black marble) as if it were a completely natural juxtaposition.

How did the duo develop their particular blend of past and present? “My tastes tend to be more traditional,” says Moran, a North Carolina native who got his start as a furniture designer. He fell in love with Italy during a college visit and eventually moved there. Salci, who was born in Tuscany and started his career running his father’s design shop, “is more contemporary,” says Moran. “Emiliano is always dragging me to the MoMA when we’re in New York, and I’m always bringing him to more classical galleries like the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. We push each other in different directions.” Moran and Salci cofounded Dimore Studio after discovering that they shared a philosophy on design. “We like to mix vintage and modern, and wildly different color palettes and patterns,” says Moran. “Although we’ve matured over the last 13 years, those same beliefs are still in place.”

>>Next: In Rajasthan's Palaces-Turned-Hotels, You Can Sleep Like a King