Home Magazine A Day in the Life of Italian Interior Designer Andrea Castrignano

Andrea Castrignano is a Milanese interior designer who established his first studio in 1998. With over twenty years of experience in the field, Castrignano never stops creating and innovating, bringing forth new ideas that never fail to meet his customers’ needs.

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Since his early days, Castrignano had a strong passion towards LEGO’s and constructions, and his dream to turn this passion of his into a job, soon became true. According to him, homes are a reflection of their owners, where every element must chain to the next, leaving nothing to chance. Castrignano mentioned he works as an “interior psychologist”, as each of his work is the result of thorough research for the project as well as for the client.

Kooness: Tell us about your story, how did you become interior designer? 

Andrea Castrignano: My path is somewhat intriguing. When my parents divorced, I had the opportunity to travel to the United States with my mother for a while, where I learnt that architecture and design go hand in hand. This was the case in the United Kingdom, too, however it wasn't the case in Italy just yet. In fact, I decided my task would be to introduce the role of interior designer in Southern Europe. The most important aspect of this job is attention to detail; one must be almost obsessed with the little things to make sure that everything blends together perfectly. I pick up on shapes or colours of each furniture element in a room to find a thread that gives personality to the space. Not all architects pay attention to detail; it's a job of great research and empathy.

Kooness: How would you define your work?

AC: I would describe myself as part designer and part psychologist (laughs). The most important thing for me is to be able to resonate with my clients and keep them involved throughout the realization of their homes, unlike the old school method, where each home was designed and built with the architect's imprint rather than the client's. I am a figure who guides my clients through the experience of creating a home, helping them make the best choices without mistakes.


Andrea Castrignano’s Project. Courtesy of Armando Moneta & Andrea Castrignano.

Kooness: Despite listening to clients and understanding what they are looking for, how would you describe your style?

AC: The director of AD Magazine defined my style as "Minimal Baroque." I see what he meant - minimalism is essential for setting the stage, and then your own personal experiences must come in, because in my opinion, your home should tell your story, and what could do it better than your past? A home speaks of you, from your address to your coffee table, everything says something about you. 

Kooness: How does your day as an Interior Designer unfold?

AC: I'm not a traditional interior designer, so no day is the same as another. In 2008, I had the opportunity to enter the world of television, which helped me grow exponentially and gain a lot of visibility. Today, I wear a “double jacket”, both as an interior designer and as a communicator. Thanks to the TV programs I've hosted and still host, I am able to talk about my company and product.

Kooness: We consider artworks the icing on the cake of every home. What resources do you use and how do you select artworks for the homes you design?

AC: When I started the first format called "Vendo Casa Disperatamente", the production company Endemol gave me €5,000 for a makeover to an old space. It wasn’t a lot of money, and beautiful things have a price. From there, I introduced the infinite world of colours and its tones, and decided to bring the good old wallpaper back. Today, wallpapers have become a significant element to a space as it decorates even before hanging a painting on the wall. A bare wall implies that the house isn't finished, however wallpapers allow you to ‘give a theme’ before going to a gallery and deciding which painting to choose.


Andrea Castrignano’s Project. Courtesy of Andrea Castrignano.

Kooness: There are two kinds of people; those who own artworks and then choose the house accordingly, and those who furnish the house and then place the art in it. What do you think about this? How do you work accordingly?

AC: Collectors provide photos of their artworks, and my job is to build the house based on those. For instance, a few years ago, I designed the presidential floor of Telecom, and had to consider numerous important artworks, including those of Warhol. Art is a very distinctive element to consider a house “finished”, it’s like going into a house with no books, no carpets or no curtains. It gives an idea of “no personality”, which is a shame, but unfortunately, it happens often. I feel like people have to understand the importance of a professional’s eye in interior designing; it’s not a job you can improvise and you can't know everything. Interior designers have the ability to have an idea of the full and final picture, it's our talent. Nowadays, technology helps us make our ideas concrete. We think about the entire perspective, the common thread found among all the components of the interior. To be an interior designer, it means to follow paths and have the necessary tools to work at your best.

Kooness: We've read that you've created home fragrances that you'll present during this Fuorisalone 2024, how did the idea come about?

AC: I'm intuitive, with a touch of brilliance. There are many fragrances, but no one had yet tied them to colours. I have a series of colour palettes that help me understand my clients. In fact, the first question I ask my clients is, "what colour are you?" The answer to this question guides me towards who I am working with. The idea came naturally, I was thinking about how I love fragrances and how powerful they are towards making a beautiful home. I wanted to give an “olfactory identity” to my colours. So, starting from the palette I personally developed, I met a perfumer and told her about my nuances, and she helped me create the four fragrances that I will launch very soon: Laguna, Blu Balena, Verde Army, and Petrol. The first sense a person comes into contact with is smell because it is the fastest sense to travel straight to the brain.


Andrea Castrignano’s Project using his famous invention of “Blu Balena”. Courtesy of Andrea Castrignano and Stefano Scarano

Kooness: We've seen that you've worked on and will present a lot of new projects this year, what are they about?

AC: This year, I've worked on several projects, always paying attention to the needs of contemporary living. In addition to fragrances, I've designed two heated towel rails, where an internal diffuser exhales fragrances thanks to its overheating. Also, I collaborated with Icon Pop Factory and the artist Andrea Pisano to create "Poptheraphy," an e-commerce of applied art and design objects, such as trays and tables decorated with prints of faces of pop icons from the world of cinema and television, current events, music, and art. Trays will be personalized with one's own photo and not just with pop images. Instead, during the Fuorisalone, I'll present my project as art director, "The Future of Living," at the Swiss Corner in Piazza Cavour. A project that tells the concept of future comfort, a combination of technology, sustainability, and efficiency. Using SketchUp, a 3D environment programming software, and V-Ray, a software for creating renders, I combined physical and virtual elements to create an evocative atmosphere. We created a large wall, recreating libraries and imagining how these could be seen in the future. The scenery will be in motion because the background will continue to change, but my touch of madness was to make it seem like being on the moon. In recent years, there's been a lot of talk about space, so I decided to create it using two light boxes that create a distant lunar view from the moon. In your living room, you have the opportunity to have a screen where you can project a different furnishing every day. I think it's very scenic as an innovation, and personally, I hate large black screens, which are increasingly present in Milanese homes because I hate the black hole. In my house, my TV is always on with rotating images, becoming a painting that makes the environment more pleasant.


Andrea Castrignano’s Home with “Cuore Fragile Artwork. Courtesy of Andrea Castrignano.

Kooness: When you start a new project, where do you start from?

AC: I start from the site visit of the house, from which I understand the spaces well. Then, I listen; for me, it's a fundamental element. Before speaking, I only listen to the confusion in our clients' heads to understand what they want. Then, I ask the customary question, which clients hate, what budget do you have, everyone always wants to spend as little as possible. You have to break the ice because shyness doesn't get you anywhere, I am originally an introvert, instead, I learnt to connect with clients and lighten the atmosphere because it's not easy to spend money; you have to make sure they have fun, and make them happy with the work that needs to be done. There's also a lot of psychology involved; you have to be good at understanding the client, who doesn't open up easily. I have to get into your drawers, and it's essential that you tell me.

Cover image: Andrea Castrignano’s Project. Courtesy of Filippo Molena & Andrea Castrignano.

Written by Asia Artom

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