We contacted by phone Bruno Tarsia, interior stylist for Marie Claire Maison, with important partnerships in furniture design, textiles and fashion. Born in Reggio, after he received his degree in architecture from the University of the Mediterranean in Reggio Calabria, at 26 he flew to Milan to realize his dreams. The passion for aesthetics, art and design, and a desire to explore new horizons and to get involved are the ingredients to his success.
How did you discover your passion?
I always had a passion for art, so much so that in Reggio I attended a dance school, an art center and learned to play the piano. I also took part in exhibitions. After some minor work experience in my city, I realized that I less interested in building design, but rather furniture design.
My grandfather was a carpenter. I was raised in that environment … I remember that I did nothing but browse furnishing magazines.
When I realized what my propensity might be, I participated in a selection to attend a regional course in stage design at the Fondazione Accademia d’Arti e Mestieri dello Spettacolo Teatro alla Scala. I remember I sent my portfolio “just to do it” … I didn’t think I would have ever been selected because the selection was limited. I don’t remember the exact number, but it was between 12 and 14 participants. However, after a month of waiting, they called to tell me that I had been selected. It was a beautiful experience!
How long was the course?
Six months, it was really intense. There were architects, scenic and graphic artists, all sharing a strong talent in the arts. Thanks to that course, I have been able to grow closer to the world of theater, studying the history of scenography and seeing many plays – elated as he talks – and it helped me to get to know the city of Milan. At the beginning it was not easy to get used to a different environment!
Today you are known both as an interior stylist and as a designer: how did you arrive at this point? What path did you take?
After the course in scenography, I sent my resume to various studios, then unexpectedly, I started to accompany a stylist who was working on a photo shoot. I acted as his assistant and I became passionate about this work. I realized that I wanted to work in these types of interior projects, create a style, a setting. When I learned that one of the studios in Milan was seeking an interior stylist for a full time collaboration, I immediately applied. I worked with them for five years creating photo shoots for interiors.
What exactly is an interior stylist? What is your signature style?
Our task is to create environments, communicated through a style of aesthetic ideas. For me, however, our work goes further: we give a soul to environments … Through objects we create an atmosphere able to speak about the person who lives there. It is a talent that the people I work with recognize in me. Often they tell me that in my sets there is a person with a soul.
I like to bring out this soul through unusual combinations … it is from these combinations that I bring about a harmony! In all my projects, I surround myself with what for me is beautiful. A vase, a coffee table, are for me like people that get along well together.
On your website, you define yourself eclectic and multifaceted...
Yes, I like to invent new aesthetics and work not only with the design objects, but also with fabrics, jewelry, fashion. Besides realizing fashion shoots, I have designed some ideas for carpets (even from Karpeta) as well furnishing objects.
Not forgetting that you have this collaboration with Marie Claire Maison!
Yes … also here things went very randomly. I knew that there had been a change of direction and I tried to send my book, redacted to a very simple form. I wanted them to understand what my style is, my approach. The director greeted me and assigned me a furnishing test. The theme was Africa. I created a setting on white background, very unique, full of light. The project was so well liked that Elle Decoration decided to publish it in various international issues, from Holland to China.
It was a great satisfaction, but I don’t feel there yet! In fact, every day I aim to achieve better and better results. If I feel like I have arrived, it means the end. My work is based on research, knowledge, change and aesthetic taste. In the quality of my work I put my desire to grow.
Today there is much talk of crisis in the market and lack of opportunities, especially for those who are in the south. What advice would you give to young graduates from Calabria?
Young people need to understand first what their aspirations are, have confidence in themselves and try new paths, never being discouraged with themselves. Most of all, they have to have passion for what they do. There are many good professionals, but passion is the added value that makes one stand out over another. It’s your unique signature. Often I hear from Calabrians who want a professional work experience, but who do not have the money. You have to face your own path with humility, accepting also that you may need to take precarious jobs different from your goal before you get to the goal. I’ve been there! And now I’m happy with the way I did things. I believe the credit was also due to my desire for redemption! Sometimes I tell myself that maybe if I was born in Milan, I would not be where I am now. Instead my project, my ambition was strong because I really wanted to set myself free from being looked at differently because I’m Calabrian.
What is your relationship with Calabria and with your city?
My land has always been and continues to be a source of inspiration with its light and its colors. Sometimes I use it’s important chromatic combinations to find a new harmony of colors. Calabria transmits to me a harmony with its sun, its sea. Calabria is my family, my origin and I can’t deny it.
Bruno Tarsia is a Calabrian talent now recognized internationally as evidenced by the publication of two of his recent works in the book Kaleidoscope: Living in Color Patterns, published by Gestalten, and considered an important collection of the works of interior designers around the world. The last number, Bruno is the signature that represents the design of Milan.