Are designers born or made? Sometimes nature and nurture come together in perfect synchronicity!

Melbourne-based interior designer Massimo Speroni was raised in Milan, the epicentre of international design. From a young age, Massimo was drawn to art and design – constantly giving his parents design ideas for the house! As an adult, he initially pursued a career in graphic design, before moving to Australia in search of adventure and freedom.

Circumventing the challenges of a new country is never easy, yet Massimo has thrived. His professional career has spanned different creative disciplines, with stints in graphic design, multimedia and the arts. It’s given him a competitive edge and holistic view when it comes to operating in interiors.

Upon becoming an Australian citizen in 2007, Massimo decided to follow his true passion and study Interior Design and Decorating, working with a number of interior design studios and high-end furniture stores during the process.

Massimo opened his own boutique interior design studio in 2010. MASSIMO Interiors specialises in bespoke residential design, although he has also worked on commercial and retail projects. Says Massimo: “I prefer residential design because it allows me to form more intimate and personal relationships with my clients.”

Toorak Residence, MASSIMO Interiors

Massimo’s aesthetic is glamorous, elegant and warm. He uses sensual fabrics, unexpected splashes of colour and whimsical touches. He incorporates the best design elements from around the world, from vintage elements to modern and antique pieces. The result is an eclectic mix of lively patterns and layered textures. The only thing you can be sure of is that there will be nothing safe or ordinary!

South Yarra Residence, MASSIMO Interiors

“I am passionate about attention to detail, being flexible and sensitive to my clients’ needs. Often in my designs, I collaborate with craftsmen to design and produce custom-made furniture pieces and finishes. This helps to deliver bespoke and unique interiors.”

For the first time, Massimo will be taking part in the Australian House & Garden International Seminar Series at Decor + Design. He will be presenting The Ultimate Guide to the Milan, which will include insights into this year’s Salone del Mobile – the biggest design fair in the world.

In the lead up to the show, we asked Massimo for his opinion on Australian vs Italian style, plus his top three picks from the Milan fair.

What do you see as the key differences between Italian and Australian style?

“With a population of 61 million and a smaller land mass, Italian interiors are generally much smaller than in Australia,” says Massimo. “Large Italian cities are saturated with apartment blocks. This has created a need for clever design solutions where the need to maximise space is the main design focus. In contrast, villas – which are mainly located in the countryside – require a different design approach.

Historically, there are two schools of design – Old World Italian and Modern Italian. Old World Italian dates back to the early 15th Century in Florence during the Renaissance. Synonymous with layered luxury, it is anything but understated. Nevertheless – when properly done – it remains elegant and timeless.

On the other hand, Modern Italian design is sleek and more refined, while still maintaining the same level of luxury achieved with the use of premium quality products and traditional craftsmanship.

Trendsetters across the globe, Modern Italian interiors are chic, colourful, moody, and edgy with smart functionality. In Italy, designers are passionate about pushing the boundaries of design, whether it is the latest automated kitchen, the carving of a marble vanity, the newest outdoor wallpaper or simply a cutting-edge piece of furniture.

In Australia, with a population of only 24 million, open spaces and land availability have given Australians the luxury of building large size homes driven by the “Aussie-dream” of owning your own home! However, in the last decade we have seen a huge change in the housing landscape. Demand for apartment blocks and smaller dwellings are now changing the face of Australian cities. Despite Australia’s multiculturalism, I don’t think its interior design style is completely definable. I think that Australians like a more effortless, simple aesthetic rather than too much fuss or decadence in their homes.

The overarching design aesthetic is relaxed and laidback, an attitude that reflects the Australian landscape, climate and attitude. Contemporary spaces embrace a seamless transition between indoors and outdoors: open-plan living, natural materials, large glass windows and doors for light filled interiors.

You recently attended the Salone del Mobile in Milan and will be presenting The Ultimate Guide to Milan at the 2018 Decor + Design show, which we’re very excited about. Can you give us a sneak peek at your top three picks from the fair?

“With thousands of wonderful installations and exhibitions around Milan and at the Salone del Mobile, it’s almost impossible to select my top three!

Here are three of my favourite pieces from Milan. My presentation at Decor + Design will be filled with hundreds of inspirational images of the upcoming design trends for 2018 and 2019, with exclusive coverage of Kitchens and Bathrooms. An unmissable session for all design-lovers and design professionals!”

Register now for Decor + Design and book for Massimo’s incomparable guide to Milan on Saturday 21st July.

1.Vitra – Sicis – Edra

2.Cassina – Olympia – Petracers

3.Triennale – Fondazione Prada – Tram Corallo