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Meet RAW Milano’s Costantino Affuso

Raw Milano

Tell us about yourself and how the concept of RAW MILANO came along? 

It is always difficult to introduce myself through my words. I like to talk about others (well of course) and little about myself… it is as if I did not have a precise identity, a linear story. Certainly there are my Lucan origins and my training as an architect gained during years of study in Florence. Passion has always burned for interior design as well as for landscape design which prompted me in the years following graduation to attend a graduate school in garden architecture and landscape design between Pistoia and Florence.

But in the heart of Milan: the first visits to design weeks were a source of excitement and everything that happened in that city was an anticipation of what we would see and experience in the years to come: Food, fashion and design is the trinomial that brings high the name of the Milanese capital worldwide.

Me in Milan? While on holiday in Salento by chance I met a colleague who mentioned to me the idea of a collaboration with an interior design studio. Not thinking twice, I applied for the role of senior architect and after almost 15 years I find working alongside Paolo Badesco, owner of PB&P studio, and sharing the RAW & Co project with him.

RAW was born in 2006 almost as a joke together with two dear Dutch friends who at the time had a space in the south of Holland dedicated to flowers and furnishings in an almost Flemish atmosphere with a Wabi-Sabi flavor. Paolo, of French origins, has always nurtured an unbridled passion for vintage both for his private collection and for the identification of furnishings and accessories for studio projects.

The first shop, a stone’s throw from the studio, began to attract the attention of an international public sensitive to that type of atmosphere: a space that, depending on the season, changes its dress and is dressed with wallpapers, vintage and contemporary furnishings and that in turn hosts objects and curiosities from all over. The combination with the decoupage glass collection by John Derian and the very fine porcelain and fragrances of the Parisian maison Astier de Villatte was a winner. In our showcase furniture from old shops, stills and cages from the era, Louis Philippe and Napoleon III furnishings, but also 50’s experiments in resin and cement have alternated.

Suffering from the dimension and fantasizing about a second store, one evening walking through the streets of Brera we fell in love with a slightly British shop in a 1930s-era context with three shop windows and in the spotlight of the Brera design district. In 2012 RAW BRERA was born: 100 sq meters with a precise stylistic code in which the vintage taste is contaminated by design .. it is here that important partnerships with commercial partners that are still part of the RAW family are born

What places would you recommend to someone staying at your Trullo?

The Itria Valley, like Puglia, is a region that conquers all the senses… the palate is the most sensitive and here it has no limits of experience. Trullo Cappero is near Ceglie Messapica so the easiest to reach are there. Try CIBUS, famous above all for the research they do in raw materials and traditional recipes. Try the kitchen of Ricci which this year has continued its business with take-away food, catering and private dinners. For fish you have to move to the coast. Without hesitation ALBA CHIARA in Savelletri, ideal for an informal spaghetti with sea urchin, or, Pescheria due Mari for raw fish accompanied by a good glass of bubbles. The atmosphere in the apothecary courtyard is always pleasant, with the imprint of an old village restaurant.

What’s the project you are most proud of? 

The project I’m most proud of is undoubtedly RAW. I witnessed its birth and despite recognizing Paolo, my partner, as the artistic director I immediately felt and shared that kind of passion. So much so that I made sure that even a simple journey could become a source of inspiration in or involvement with commercial partners who automatically become friends on our adventures. Even today I am enthusiastic about the preparation of events that are of cardinal importance for us and make us part of the Milanese and international scene, especially when it comes to design week or on a more local scale with Christmas.

Italian city you love the most and why?

I call myself a (Lucano Milanese) Milanese Lucan, but I love the whole of Italy so I don’t have such preferences that lead me to favor one region or another. Last August I returned to Tuscany after several years with a group of friends. I rediscovered the Val d’Orcia with its breathtaking landscapes so loved by writers and painters of all places and times. It is true that Puglia is back to riding the classic but I like to feel at home as much in Milan, as in Paris, London, but above all in Matera where part of my family still lives.

Favorite restaurant and what to order in Milan? 

Risotto all’Arturo from Maria and Arturo at “La Latteria” in Piazza San Marco. Although for convenience I always go to La Libera, a few steps from the shop in via Palermo.

Your favorite Italian weekend getaway?

A trip out of Milan certainly the lake, Iseo, Como or Piacentino which reminds me of the rolling Tuscan hills.

Who is your inspiration?

Living in the city of fashion and design, I like to distance myself from all those dynamics linked to rapid consumerism and that which makes everything rapidly age. I love the timeless atmospheres where pieces of author’s design coexist with vintage pieces or furniture from previous removals as evidence of one’s experience but always in the name of good taste. Colors, fabrics and lights do the rest.

What’s the Italian thing you couldn’t live without? 

He is not Italian but Irish .. my Aspic, a 3 year old Irish setter. I will be banal but the moka is one of those things that make me home and that even from the other part of the world brings me back to my childhood… to my sense of belonging. Next in the ranking is a bottle of extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic and made with the olives of the Trullo Cappero.

How would you describe Italy in one sentence? 

How to enclose Italy in one sentence… not easy at all… I would have at least a hundred. And then with what purpose? Tourism promotion? Patriotism? Of this phrase, however, I am sure IL BEL PAESE: I close my eyes and retrace it far and wide and I am overwhelmed by colors, smells, emotions of all kinds because Italy is made up of places, traditions and the history of many who made it great.