Creating something special by mixing elements together

Domitilla Lepri is an Italian architect and designer.  In 2005 she moved to Shanghai and in 2006 she opened the DLArchitecture Shanghai office.

Domitilla Lepri

Who is she?

Domitilla Lepri is an Italian architect and designer. She graduated from Faculty of Architecture, Sapienza University of Rome in 2000. In 2005 she moved to Shanghai and in 2006 she opened the DLArchitecture Shanghai office, focusing on residential, F&B, office and retail projects. In 2015 she opened the DLArchitecture office in Rome focusing on countryside villa construction in Tuscany and in heritage apartment renovation. 


Tell us some of your works and name the ones you are most proud of :

I am very proud of all my projects, because not all of our clients have the same requirements, tastes and budgets; I think that the most important is to satisfy the expectations within the constraints. 

Among the residential projects, the ones I’m proud of include the villa on Huqingping Road, the apartment in Casa Lakeville, Xintiandi, and the apartment in the center of Shanghai. Among our F&B projects, a special mention to “La Stazione” which won an IAI design competition award. We are now working on a new concept of pizza restaurant for a Taiwanese group.  

Are you currently involved with any project ?

We are currently working on different kinds of projects. We have a good number of residential projects in Shanghai and Hangzhou and two villas under construction in Tuscany, Italy and one heritage apartment renovation in Rome.

Describe your design style 

My design style is constantly evolving. I like to contrast and mix different styles, like yin and yang. For me the opposite elements create a balance and complete each other in the same project. I don’t stick to only one style. I like introducing modern furniture in a classical environment. I love colors. I read a lot of books and magazines about interior design. I am curious and always looking for new inspiration. Anything I see has an impact on my style. I absorb a lot and naturally process the information. The best words to describe my style are elegance, grace and balance.


Where are you most creative ?

Creativity for me is not inventing, but about combining elements in a different, unexpected and new way. That is the most interesting and enjoyable part of my job. 

What does your home mean to you ?

I am maniacal about it. I have the same attitude about my home style as about my own style. Every detail has his importance and I totally acknowledge one of my favorite quotes by Leonardo Da Vinci: “Details make perfection and perfection is not a detail.”

I have changed many homes in the last 12 years, and each one reflected the mood of the period. My first home focused on red, the second home was full of colored stripes on the walls and the main color was gray. In the third, I turned to white and blue. Now I have two houses, one in Shanghai and one in Rome. I still keep blue as my favorite color. But I am now evolving and green will be next.


What do you collect? 

I collect many objects and I love filling my homes with small decorations. I think it gives a character and reminds me of my travels. From China, I collect old pictures, Chinese jade circles, stone Buddha heads, white and blue vases. I have many paintings representing old Mandarin families.


Where do you like to go most in Shanghai? 

In Shanghai, I love any place which keeps its original style. I like the center of Shanghai, but only the unchanged areas, where people hang clothes in the street, walk around in their pajamas, play mahjong on the street, and eat in small restaurants. This is the city I discovered 12 years ago and this is where I feel at home.


What will be the next design trend?

It's all about intimacy and warmth. Houses become smaller but very well finished and with great care about the details. Simple materials create beautiful design and color is becoming the focus. Cheaper solutions such as wallpapers and nice color combinations are sufficient if matched with creativity. The most used color tones are pink, dark green, purple and brick red. For the future trends, watch the Italian design style from the 80s, and more.


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