While in Milan last month on assignment for Kvadrat, my mission was to spot the trends and let my inspirations be my guide. Not a particularly hard job after you've been in the design industry actively for over a decade, especially in Milan! I recall quite a few experiences there that left me breathless, but the first was Sé Ensemble and the work of Founder/Director Pavlo Schtakleff which I'll share with you today. Pavlo is such an inspiration - you must know more about him and Sé Ensemble! But first, some visuals...
In warm, sunny Milan on a beautiful terrace complete with sunshine and birdsong, I chatted with Pavlo to learn more about his background, his brand, and the rooms he'd created with his team for Galleria Rossana Orlandi, his second year in a row. Under his direction, an inspiring and gorgeous "show" apartment in Galleria Rossana Orlandi was beautifully designed and curated with Sé Ensemble furnishings along with contributions from some of his dearest friends to include wallpaper, artwork, mobiles, rugs and more. When I walked in, I was instantly aware of my senses - the way I felt, the way the space felt, the dazzling display of color and pattern, texture and the overall beauty of it all... Ahhhh. I've included a glimpse of what this apartment looked like inside as I walked around... Dazzling!
Pavlo and I on the terrace
The front sitting room
The fitting room
It was a genuine "experience" to see the collections of Sé Ensemble in a series of four rooms. The overall atmosphere made you feel like you had stepped into someone's private space. I loved the idea of this apartment, to not only show one collection but also to bring in other designers who inspire Pavlo to be part of this curated apartment. I'm always proud to see creative people in the interior design sector collaborating and finding success together. This is not so common in the world of fashion, to see designers supporting other designers, people who are happy to bring smaller labels into the light. Pavlo's genuine community spirit was obvious when we spoke, his ego doesn't drive his work - his passion and interest in design and creative people push him forward.
Pavlo was one of the best interviews I've had in awhile because he was so genuine, down-to-earth and open-minded - his relaxed nature the sign of a confident man who knows what he wants and even when he doesn't, he is confident he'll figure it out. A true entrepreneur. He was warm and welcoming to both my assistant and I; we even had the chance to join him, his wife Amalia and his hilariously funny French agent Daniel Cuzon-Verrier for dinner on the same day. Long story short, we were roaming the center of Milan searching for a restaurant that wasn't fully booked, when we spotted one that looked perfect and in the doorway was Pavlo! He recognized us, asked if we'd like to share a table, and the rest is history. Once you break bread with a someone, you definitely see "them", which made me even more determined to share Sé Ensemble with all of you.
Let's revisit the apartment and the memorable time that I spent in Sé Ensemble's universe for another moment, shall we? The sheer experience of walking through each room was one I'll remember for months to come as the overall vibe was warm, cozy, glamorous and eclectic but with a definite red thread that ran through each object connecting them to the overall scheme. As a details person myself, I instantly noticed the attention to detail placed in the overall decor, from the scented candles to the gorgeous overflowing arrangements of fresh flowers, decorative objects and plants. The result was a sensual, tactile experience that didn't feel pretentious or too posh. The color palette was stunning and on-trend in rust, teal, brass, blush, salmon, blue and black.
My favorite room was the dining room and the first living room in the front, with the ivory sofa. I still dream about the series of three marble sofa tables in that room because I have been hunting for the perfect sofa table for so long and there it was in the most unexpected of places! My next favorite room was the dining room - the mobile twinkling in the sunlight, the massive floral arrangement, stunning artwork and those chairs! The chairs stole the show. I could have moved in to this space without hesitation. You know that feeling, right? It was that kind of space - cozy AND glamorous, two words you rarely hear in the same sentence when describing a room.
Along with the collections of Sé Ensemble, rooms were filled with La Manufacture Cogolin rugs, artisanal wallpapers by Calico Wallpaper in Brooklyn, and metal sculptures by Ane Christensen whom I had a nice chat with last year while attending a craft fair in London. I've linked a complete source list below if you'd like to view all of the designers and artists who were part of this collaborative design experience.
Before I wrap up, let's chat briefly about Pavlo himself now that you had a virtual visit to the Sé Ensemble apartment (if you'd like to download the apartment tour as a PDF, click here). Pavlo founded Sé over a decade ago after working in furniture sales in New York for Flou, where he established their first US store, their largest worldwide. He then returned to Europe and connected with a man who would become his new business partner, Marc Sharifi, who wanted to partner on a furniture venture together. Pavlo had a vision to start a furniture line so it made sense to work with Marc and jump on the chance. He thought to bring some of the world's most talented designers together to build a single brand of gorgeously curated design objects - Sé was a result of that vision. Through his company, he works mainly with French designer Damien Langlois-Meurinne, Slovenia-based Nika Zupanc and Spanish-born Jaime Hayon (who was one of the most talked about designers at the Salone this year) and his small staff, including his wife Amalia, based in London where they have a new flagship showroom on Fulham Road.
As Director, Pavlo works closely with the London team and his satellite design team on a collection and simultaneously employs the best European crafters and artisans (read more about their production here) to form each piece using the best materials, most recently in Slovenia. The strong lean to Hollywood Regency is clear but to my American eye, much fresher as he and his team bring their unique European design sensibility to the collections through a "less is more" aesthetic, clean lines, fine craftsmanship and that forever coveted casual European elegance.
In summary, I hope you have enjoyed learning more about this brand today and are inspired by what you see, along with the apartment, and that you'll visit Sé Ensemble online to peruse their beautiful work. Before I went to Milan, I was suffering design burn-out. I felt like I'd seen it all and was getting really bored with the direction interiors seemed to be taking (overly minimalist or super brashy/color chaos) but Milan was the cure and I have Sé to thank for being a big part of that since I've been buzzing around with new creative energy and vision ever since. Grazie Milano.
- Furnishings - Sé Ensemble
- Art - Liza Giles, Agnès Sandahl and Kiko Lopez
- Metalwork bowls/sculptures - Ane Christensen
- Bespoke wallpaper - Calico wallpaper
- Mobile sculpture - Christel Sadde
- Fabrics - Dedar Milano
- Rugs - La Manufacture Cogolin
(images: with permission from sé ensemble)