Walking towards the Salone Satellite 2019: my talk with Marva Griffin


Marva Griffin is the queen of the Salone Satellite. You’re going to read our talk in her studio, very close to the Castello Sforzesco, in Milan.

With Marva Griffin, creator of the Salone Satellite, in her studio

This year the Salone Satellite is preparing for its 22nd edition, with the usual aim of bringing young designers closer to the world of entrepreneurship. Over 550 talents will exhibit their solutions related to the theme chosen for 2019: “Food as a Design Object”.


She has little time, she warns me, immediately making things clear, but then our chat lasts over 40 minutes. So, with frequent flights of fancy, the themes we face shift from Italian design to its refuse to use social networks, from the events for the 500th anniversary of the Leonardo da Vinci’s  death to the sad events of Venezuela, its homeland.


I started our talk with a provocation, asking if she has a favorite designer among the 12.000 who attended to the Salone Satellite over the years.

Marva Griffin never informs about her favorite designers“, she immediately explains “… even if I have them.


And she adds:

I believe it’s not correct to say a name or another. SaloneSatellite has always guaranteed the quality of its talents, growing and improving as a manifestation from year to year. Design is the oldest industry in the world. Everything we use and touch has been designed. You were conceived in a bed that was designed, you slept your first dreams in a cradle that was designed.


What is design in this period?

Right now design is fashionable. So many years ago kids wanted to study fashion, today they want to study design. There is a greater focus on certain themes, though. We must always guarantee the quality and the possibility of translating the projects into products and activities for the companies.


I am a designer but also a blogger. I’m very active especially on Instagram. What is your relationship with social networks?

I don’t like social media at all because there is no privacy. Every day, after 7pm, I have a private life that I don’t want to put on social media. Internet, the technological vanguard and the social media are very useful tools, especially for networking and keeping in touch. But the price to pay, our privacy, in my opinion is too high. My computer is often off, I prefer to read and inform myself on paper. However, I read and reply to emails on the iPad. Then I prefer to talk to people, travel a lot, capture trends. I’d rather be there, see live. I use little whatsapp, not so often. Then another big problem also concerns some information, which only gives fake news. The communication of the Salone del Mobile.Milano is very prudent, very institutional.


I imagine you as a very busy woman. Is there a passion of yours besides design?

I love the pleasantness of the environments. I like to surround myself with beautiful things. I studied interior design and architecture. I’m very interested in houses, flowers and gardens. As a child I had the passion to move the furniture, to move everything. One of my favorite readings was House & Garden / USA magazine. After many years I became a correspondent for Italy for this magazine and for Maison & Jardin / France.


What is it like to be a woman in a field like design? Do you feel free?

I do nothing if I don’t like it. I pay a price to be free, but I consider myself a free woman, especially in the world in which I work.


Do you have a wish?

I won’t tell you.

She smiles, looking away and moving her index finger gracefully.


Is there a color that your prefer?

I have several favorite colors. I really like white, red and various shades of brown and beige. I’m always colorful, even in clothing. I really like colors.


Some of the proposals of the talents taking part in SaloneSatellite are often avant-garde. Is there any other project that you care about a lot and would you like to tell us?

Our Federazione, FederlegnoArredo, has founded a school called Polo Formativo Rosario Messina for the training of professionals specialized in the sectors of furniture and construction. In this school, in Lentate sul Seveso, they have dedicated a space to the Permanent Collection of the SaloneSatellite, with prototypes that the furniture industry has put into production over the years. These objects are inspirational and teaching for students precisely because they are designed by young people who believed in their passion and creativity. The aim is to make this project itinerant. I have many ideas about it that I would like to develop them.


I greet Marva by letting her run away to a meeting that she could not miss. While I get on the first train that would take me to Siena, I think about how much tenacity is needed in carrying out any activity. Knowing how to surround yourself with the right people, accepting the advice that seems most valid, approaching new challenges and always having the courage to be free. I come back home more conscious. Some words have touched me incredibly deeply.


“Grazie Marva”, I would like to tell her once again.


You all are invited to Salone Satellite, from April 9th ​​to 14th, in halls 22-24. This year’s SaloneSatellite theme is: “Food as a Design Object”. This year an important birthday will be celebrated: the SaloneSatellite Award reaches its tenth edition. An international jury of protagonists of the design world will award the 3 best products on display.


What ideas will emerge this year among the young talents of the Salone Satellite? Did you know that this event was born in 1998? Since then over 270 design schools from all over the world have participated in the competition. Did you know its creator, Marva Griffin?

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