A musician at heart and designer by trade, Stefano Tordiglione insists the human experience is always fluid. He tells #legend about the importance of staying in motion as “Our time ticks with seconds and minutes and hours and days and months and years – for some, it goes faster, for others it goes slower”
Stefano Tordiglione, who is of Italian descent, is the founder of Hong Kong-based ST Design, a multi-award-winning interior design and architectural services studio. So he knows a thing or two about time and discipline, and the way in which one can perfect his or her craft. He started playing music at a very young age and had at one point joined the prestigious Juilliard School in New York. His art direction since – honed over the years – is described as “an intuitive blending of East and West” that sees the marriage between his Italian roots and local Asian cultures.
For over a decade, Tordiglione has called Hong Kong home and has made great strides in the architectural and interior design world. “I love space. It’s something that I’m very good at. I like how to deal with [it], which could be retail, office, and most often residential,” he says.
When handling and defining space with a given concept, creativity comes naturally to Tordiglione. “You don’t need to study things unless you are an engineer or a pilot; like creativity, photography and many other things you can mix and put into practical use,” he explains. “Putting all my creative energy into something that can be built is great. I go very personal.”
It’s not, however, about superimposing oneself onto others but evolving and building on what has already been built. “The Romans looked at the Greeks doing their god statues and gave them similar names,” Tordiglione says. “They’re the same gods but going by different names. They upgraded them. So, in a certain way, the Romans did a better job than the Greeks. But then the Greeks were the founders, So, who is more interesting?”
“Whichever one appeals to you,” Tordiglione says in response to his own question. The pursuit of perfection is a never-ending endeavour, and visionaries are those who take pieces from the past and innovate them over time.
Though the designer has a style of his own, it’s not one he intends to impose on his clients. “My ego goes away and helps that of the other person come out.”
But such an approach also has its limits, especially when racing against the clock. “We are sometimes constrained by the client because they want things to be happening [fast], which is a burden because doing design is putting yourself into a creative mindset,” Tordiglione says, adding that to come out with a new concept requires a sufficient amount of time. “You really have to go and study what the client wants, who the client is, the message they want to convey. Time is extremely important and every time they ask us to do something quick it’s not good – but when you can actually control it a little, it’s nice.”
While most creative souls pursue the art of perfection, there is contemplation in imperfection. On the topic of time and instruments that measure it, Tordiglione says whether a watch adds or eats a second, “it’s kind of interesting because it becomes yours”.
In fact, Tordiglione believes people are like watches – their lives and time are always moving forward. “Sometimes they say that with the acidity of your skin and your heartbeat, the watch adapts [to you],” he says. “That’s why I like used watches. If I know who used it before, then maybe it’s even nicer. A lot of energy goes into it. They also use some oil inside for the mechanism and if the watch stays still, the oil remains in one place and it gets ruined. Oil moves with the mechanism; that’s why it is important to always keep moving.”
CREDITS Photography / Ricky Lo Videography / Lewis Lau Styling / Zaneta Cheng Photo assistant / Alston Chan Make-up and hair / Wendy Lee