F5: Elena Salmistraro Shares Her Favorite Accessory, Art + Album

Elena Salmistraro graduated from the Politecnico in Milan with a degree in Industrial Design in 2008, and the following year opened her own firm. She’s the creator of a unique and highly recognizable aesthetic, and interested in developing work that straddles the lines between illustration, design, and visual arts. To Elena, the play of shapes and volumes, materials and colors blend tradition and innovation. Among her priorities? How attention to detail and the research of shapes, in terms of anthropomorphism and primitivism, stand out. An excess of graphic symbols creates a stereoscopic image, suspending it somewhere between fantasy and reality.

Elena’s projects have been included in several events, including the The New Italian Design traveling exhibition, the collective exhibition The New Aesthetic Design, at the Shanghai Biennale in 2013, and the Gwangju Biennale in South Korea. In 2017, she won the Salone del Mobile Milano Award as “Best Emerging Designer.” In 2018, Elena was appointed Ambasciatrice of Brera Design District. The Chimera project designed for Cedit-ceramiche d’Italia won the international “Good Design Awards” in 2020. And in 2021, the Spire washbasin Elena designed for Ceramica Flaminia won the “ADI Ceramic & Bathroom Award.” She works as a designer and artist for several brands, including Apple, Disney, Alessi, Bosa, Cappellini.

Today, Elena Salmistraro is joining us today for Friday Five!

brown-skinned woman sitting on a modern chair with her legs crossed and her face resting on her hands

Elena Salmistraro \\\ Photo: Mattia Aquila

island coast in Italy with docked boats

1. Favignana

A small island in Sicilia, Favignana is part of the Egadi arcipelago, just in front of Trapani. It is a magical place, a tufo island marked by caves, surrounded by sea. It was the island of the mattanza, a place where men challenged tuna with naked hands. And where the Florios, one of Sicily’s most important families, had built their kingdom. Away from the busiest times, it is a place where I can find myself again, where I can still breathe in nature.

risotto served in a shallow bowl with a red and black design

2. Risotto

Risotto with saffron, risotto giallo, or risotto alla milanese are a few dishes that I cook and can eat without any problems and without changing the original recipe. Unfortunately, I am celiac and lactose intolerant, so my diet is very strictly monitored and sometimes complex, but rice helps me overcome many difficulties. It’s also delicious and reminds me of home.

six silver rings on pink background

3. Rings

Rings are my favorite accessory, sometimes when I forget to put some on I feel nude, uncomfortable. I have many types and models, but I prefer the less precious ones, at least from the point of view of materials. I love the silver ones because they are more suitable for everyday wear, more resistant and versatile. Just a few months ago, in collaboration with Alessi, we realized a collection of steel jewelry called Venusia, objects for the body, completely made of laser-cut steel plate.

black, white, red, and yellow street art mural

4. Graffiti + Street Art

Both are two of my greatest passions. Art that gets rid of overstructures, that goes out into the streets and expresses itself for what it is.
This, in particular, is a photo I shot in Miami at Obey’s work, where graffiti, art, and illustration, come together in a very unique, neo pop language.
They are a continuous source of inspiration for me.

album with illustrated cover art

5. Kate Bush, Vinyl + Music

Kate Bush, vinyl, and music made and played in a specific way. Of this specific vinyl I love the cover, which as a child attracted and scared me at the same time. Animals and monsters coexisting in the same world, magical, surreal, fascinating. Babooshka is a track that still often plays on my playlists and manages to take me back in time. It relaxes me and makes me happy.

Work by Elena Salmistraro:

multicolor modern table with four levels of pattern and solid yellow

Sangaku for driade \\\ Photo: Iacopo Barattieri

modern wood and copper cabinet on white background

Polifermo \\\ Photo: Massimo Gardone De Castelli

three ceramic vases sculpted to look like three monkey faces

Primates Ceramic Vases for Bosa

a light-skinned woman wearing a fuchsia silk top with scarf and large modern metal necklace

Vanusia for Alessi \\\ Photo: Marco Pietracupa

Kelly Beall is senior editor at Design Milk. The Pittsburgh-based graphic designer and writer has had a deep love of art and design for as long as she can remember, and enjoys sharing her finds with others. When undistracted by great art and design, she can be found making a mess in the kitchen, consuming as much information as possible, or on the couch with her three pets. Find her @designcrush on social.

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