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Elle Decor Italia

‘Glitters and lactic acid: my dream of Fellini directing next Milan Salone del Mobile’

Loving giver of feathered Mechanical Caresses, Sara Ricciardi talks about her own personal, definitely sensorial Milan Design Week


Designer Sara Ricciardi, member of the collective 'The Ladies' Room'

Last edition of the Milan Design Week featured a team of four creative women who have managed to stimulate the senses of all the show’s visitors. They are named The Ladies’ Room, an Italian collective made up of four designers – Ilaria Bianchi, Agustina Bottoni, Astrid Luglio and Sara Ricciardi – who took part in the FuoriSalone 2017 with Fenomèna, a sensory installation created to activate physical response on the visitors’ part by means of olfactory, tactile and auditory stimulation.

Of the four ladies in question, Sara Ricciardi is the one who played with the sense of touch, by administering her feathered Carezze Meccaniche (Mechanical Caresses): an engineered composition made of peculiar mechanisms created to start a series of actual body brushes. Her theme being Phenomenalism, the view that perception is the actual standard of both truth and good, here follows our interview, where she recounts what her own senses told her about last Salone del Mobile.

Photo credits © Bianca Buoncristiani

1. What comes to your mind if I say ‘Salone del Mobile 2017’?

A great mix of passion and sweat, glitters and lactic acid, experimentation and new endeavors, and, above all, undisputed beauty. 

2. Which was the most interesting product you spotted this year?

I was literally walled up alive into our installation, Fenomèna, that featured a sensory pathway on display at Garage Sanremo, in the 5 Vie District. I experience the Salone above all as a fervid enticer, h24 by now, and, secondly, as a Stachanovite exhibitor. That’s why, in the end, I – alas! – cannot tour the fair as I wish. I can feel the energy in the air, though, the liveliness of all my colleagues, the latest planning ideas from the different companies. Right this kind of thrill, the extreme curiosity shared by all, is, in my opinion, the most interesting product in the Salone, which is already full of every kind of imaginable objects.

3. The most beautiful installation?

I did not have the opportunity to see them personally but I can mention the one I loved most to imagine every time a friend came to me telling of the things they saw at the FuoriSalone, namely Studio Swine for Cos. While we of The Ladies’ Room were engaged in taking care of our visitors’ body impressions, we also liked to imagine all these ethereal fumes winding down from a tree, it looked fantastic on the photos.  

4. The most fascinating person you’ve met?

There were so many… Yet, if I have to choose one, a Russian middle-aged lady who visited our exhibition actually touched me. Extremely delicate, dressed in cream-white, she was stitching small bags containing amulets on her chest, inserting tiny pieces she had been collecting around, and keeping them hidden there. She also snatched several small ostrich’s feathers from my installation, which she put into her chest pocket, attaching them with a clip, telling me they would remind her of dancing more often, with lightness and magic. Such meetings with people who are still capable of feeling the wonder of things, and of instilling it into other people, are utterly marvelous. 


Un post condiviso da With Love* (@sara___ricciardi) in data:

5. Did anything disappoint you?

I’m living a time of my life in which I get hardly ever disappointed. 

6. What would you like to see at the Salone next year?

I always dream of more and more circus-like actions, more street-style experiences, itinerant inventions and more participation from apartment blocks and suburbs. More “Felliniesque” design scenes and, above all, more collaboration and synergies. I would like to see manifestoes, collective ideologies, combinations between people offering more complex thinking structures, taking part in a global challenge of multi-disciplinary reasoning. 

7. Your work in a nutshell.

 “If we truly knew what we are doing, we would not call it ‘research’, right?”. This is the latest statement I copied into my notebook, taken from one of Einstein’s works. 


by Carlotta Marelli / 12 September 2017


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