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Josephine Akvama Hoffmeyer runs her company File Under Pop from a spacious first-floor apartment overlooking Copenhagen’s Marble Church. She specializes in the craft of colorful handmade clay tiles—a passion she shares with Elisa Ossino, whose Milan studio focuses on residential interiors, product design and set design. In the early 2000s, the two met in Sicily, hit it off and have joined forces under the brand H+O for this year’s Milan Design Week.

“We wanted to create something new,” says Ossino, “and had worked on the concept of an apartment that also serves as a gallery—a regular home where we can experiment with interiors, and where both of us can contribute with our knowledge and expertise.”

Over the past year, Akvama Hoffmeyer and Ossino have been overseeing the restoration of a third-floor, 18th-century apartment on Milan’s Via Solferino—a design-rich spot in the city’s elegant Brera district. “The apartment had been damaged over the years, but the original flooring we uncovered is stunning and served as a starting point for our work,” Ossino says of the colorful terrazzo floor they found in every room after stripping the apartment.

The resulting project, entitled Perfect Darkness, sees the space transformed into an intimate installation in which H+O tiles serve as architectural elements, rather than purely decorative ones, through a careful juxtaposition of contrasting color schemes and interior design by Elisa Ossino Studio. In curating the exhibition, Akvama Hoffmeyer and Ossino also collaborated with a total of 11 firms and have enriched the Milanese space with Danish influences, merging traditional and contemporary Danish design pieces and objects from Menu, House of Finn Juhl, Frama, Artcoustic, Astep, Stine Goya and File Under Pop alongside those from Italian brands such Officine Saffi, De-Tech and Tubes.

“The work we have put in designing Perfect Darkness involves tiles, as well as carefully selected pieces from brands we were lucky to work with,” says Akvama Hoffmeyer. “And then there’s the element of music.”

The desire to give the installation an intrinsically homey feel led Akvama Hoffmeyer and Ossino to collaborate with Italian musician Stefano Ghittoni, who has filled the empty apartment with a playlist combining different compositions and genres, as well as audio clips from a selection of films. “It will make you feel like you are walking in your own apartment, where different genres of music randomly play one after the other, and someone in another room is watching a movie,” explains Ossino.

Akvama Hoffmeyer says that her favorite room in the apartment is the kitchen. Here, tiles cover most of the space and form patterns. Midnight blue and off-white tiles carpet the floor, and scarlet red ceramic coats the Ossino-designed furniture. “We wanted to create a space wrapped in different colors, where design pieces contrast the surrounding walls and where music gives a somewhat suspended atmosphere,” she says.

“The tile became central throughout all rooms—we wanted to revitalize the object by bringing it out of kitchens and bathrooms and into places where you wouldn’t traditionally see it,” adds Ossino.

Perfect Darkness
Milan Design Week 2019
Via Solferino 11, 3rd Floor

Exhibition Open:
Monday, April 8
6pm – 10pm (Open Preview)
Tuesday, April 9 – Friday, April 12
10am – 7pm
Wednesday, April 10
10am – 6pm
Saturday, April 13 – Sunday, April 14
10am – 4pm

Kinfolk is an exhibiting partner at Perfect Darkness.

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