Stefano Seletti was 25 years old when he moved in to a house in Viadana, a town with fewer than 20,000 people, located 75 miles southeast of Milan in the Po River basin. It was a sort of homecoming. Stefano, now the creative director of Seletti—an avant-garde home furnishings company founded in 1964 by his father, Romano—had grown up next door. The building was right behind his childhood residence, where his parents still live, and had been purchased by his father a few years earlier.
“It wasn’t my dream house,” recalls Seletti of the three-bedroom, two-story stone home, which dates to about 1900 and has an adjacent concrete barn that was built (he estimates) in the 1940s. “The house was owned by an old woman. I remember her because from my bedroom windows I would look at the house and the yard was full of animals—chickens, cows.” He thought he’d stay a year, maybe two.
That was 21 years ago. In the decades since, Seletti and his wife, Adriana, have made it a living space for themselves and their two daughters that is, truth be told, a bit crazy. Some might describe it as maximalist. Nobody would call it boring.
The same could be said for Seletti the company (now owned by Stefano, his father, and his sister). Its products are not for the timid. They are nonconformist and occasionally wacky. Stefano defines a strong product as one that “will shine alone...even in a white crate” and describes the company’s overall offerings as “the opposite of Scandinavian design.” Best sellers include the Monkey Lamp collection of eerily life-like cast-resin primates in various poses holding lightbulbs, and Hybrid porcelain, a tabletop collection in which each piece, from plates to teacups, combines two completely different yet traditional china patterns. Odd? Perhaps. But the products are sold in 1,500 stores worldwide, including Colette in Paris, 10 Corso Como in Milan, Isetan in Tokyo, and Lane Crawford in Hong Kong. Clearly there’s wide appeal.