Interview with Elena Salmistraro, artist and designer
Born in 1983, elegant and creative, Elena Salmistraro is the pivotal figure, as well as the creator of the “Wood Waves: percorso di un pensiero” project, the site-specific installation created in collaboration with Emmemobili that from October enriches the showcase of the Salvioni Milano Durini showroom. We took the opportunity to ask her some questions to help us get to know her better in the dual role as an ascending artist and designer of the Italian and international scene.
- “Wood Waves: percorso di un pensiero”. Tell us about the concept and the idea that generated this installation.
The name I chose summarizes this project in its entirety. When I was contacted to narrate “Orbis” the collection designed last year for Emmemobili, in Salvioni’s prestigious location, I had only one certainty, wood. The designed objects all had a single fil rouge made of circles, colors, but above all, wood essences.
As I always do, I started drawing on thousands of blank sheets, ideas, sketches, reflections. I confess that at first I thought I was at a dead end, with no way out, everything seemed to me complex and insurmountable, but I noticed that all the drawings had strange waves in common, similar to those of the sea, from there precisely “wood waves: path of a thought”, immediately it was all clear, I had to tell the creative process, not hide behind various design tricks, but openly declare a thought, an idea, a story.
- We know that in your work you always pay attention to sustainability: what would you tell us about this work? Could we call it ecologically committed?
The installation deliberately lives of contrasts, the wood and metal present in the objects are noble elements and as such they are perceived, while the covering materials used are considered poor, harmful, bad, but in reality they are not. On the wall we have a fabric, and on the floor a plastic film, obviously completely recycled and recyclable, and both have been printed with UV technology and glued to water, therefore completely respectful of the ambient.
Emphasizing the importance of the correct use of the material is very important for me, I am convinced that we must learn to completely reconsider all the factors involved, establishing priorities and seeking alternative solutions to the use of oil.
- Working with you it is impossible not to notice the great creative spirit that animates you. What is your inspiration for your work?
Inspiration, as I said before, is a long process of attempts, study and experience. Personally I use drawing to tell what surrounds me, then I transform my visions, from simple illustrations to three-dimensional objects.
If I had to define inspiration, sincerely I would not know what to say, trivially inspiration is everything, it is life itself. The complex part is without any doubt the decoding, the reading, which can obviously take place in the most varied and personal ways, is the knowing how to observe from other points of view that generates the idea.
- Much of your work focuses on Product Design. What do you think about Interior Design? Is it a branch where you have already ventured or would you like to approach in the future?
Interior design fascinates me, as does architecture, obviously I believe that my approach is more compatible with public spaces rather than private residential environments, which by nature speaks about the lives of those who live there and rarely lend themselves to stories wider.
I confess, that in the future I will probably accept this challenge, but today I don’t feel the need or the urgency to do it, I believe I still have to face and understand many aspects related to spatiality. I tend to always evaluate with caution what is proposed to me because I am convinced that everything should be done at the right time and in the right way.
- How do you see the design sector in five or ten years? How do you see yourself inside?
I honestly cannot answer this question, also because I am always very attached to the present, I imagine the future but I can’t make forecasts, I don’t like to bet. As for me, even in this case I would not know what to answer, I am extremely consistent in my inconsistency and I am sure that in five / ten years I will not be and I will not think like now, in fact I will be completely changed, aware, and probably also my works they will be different, changed, matured.
- How do you approach the current “social” world, which is increasingly important even in the design field? Would you call yourself a “Design influencer”?
I believe that social media is a fundamental tool for communicating and spreading one’s work. If used correctly they can be a very useful and powerful medium. Today we have the possibility with just one click to reach the whole world, but I am absolutely convinced that they should be managed in the right way, I think it is wrong to ignore them completely as it is to become its victim.
As for “designer influencers”, I don’t think I belong to this category. Personally I limit myself to publish my works and rarely some other photos, but above all I do not use stratagems to attract or convey attention. I recognize that I have a decent following, yes, but I don’t think I can influence anyone with my projects, on the contrary, to be honest, it would scare me a lot.