Marco Velardi

Photo by Andreas Lux

May 01 2015

Marco Velardi is never not working.
Not many people know that I played basketball for 10 years.
Failure is an integral part of the learning process.
Tomorrow, I will be older.

Somewhere between pop fad and arcane too-cool-for-school is an elusive cultural sweet spot. Even for those whose job it is to stay in-the-know, lightning doesn’t often strike twice. Marco Velardi, though, is a real-life, contemporary Cayce Pollard with a built-in Geiger counter for cool. Despite being remarkably young, he has made waves in design and branding and has played a major role in affirming the vitality of print.

In 2008, he co-founded Apartamento, everyone’s favorite “everyday life interiors magazine”—a title that has arguably become this generation’s archetype for good taste—and remains at its editorial helm. He has also been a regular on the rosters of other perennially relevant titles, from heavy hitters like Art Review and The New York Times T Magazine, to indelible cult icons like Berlin-based 032c.

With his creative agency, SM Associati, he has overseen the injection of new lifeblood into venerable old Italian titles such as Casamica and La Cucina Italiana, and oversaw the launch of Phoenix’s last album, Bankrupt! He’s hit a stride in the furniture world, too, and recently had a hand in the genesis of some standout new brands such as Discipline and Bitossi Home, and served as creative director of design mainstay De Padova.

For this year’s Salone del Mobile, Velardi co-curated Source Material alongside Jonathan Olivares and Jasper Morrison. The exhibition, which heads to the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein this autumn, includes objects from a dazzling design who’s who—present and accounted for are the Bouroullecs, Inga Sempé, Konstantin Grcic, David Chipperfield, Naoto Fukasawa and a few dozen others. Good company keeps good company.