Italians in London | Italians in London Marcello Minale
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# 27

Marcello Minale

Photo and concept by © Rob Venom 2022

I am the eldest son of renowned Italian designer, Marcello Minale Snr (1938 – 2000). I was born in London, and then from the age of 9, attended school in Rome where I lived with my Scandinavian mother, before returning to London at 19 to study graphic design. Today I am the owner and CEO of Minale Tattersfield (the company founded by his father and Brian Tattersfield in 1964 – It’s a successful network of branding and design offices in London, Paris, Brussels, Sydney and Moscow. I am also a partner in various creative start-ups, collaborating with my brothers (Massimo and Manlio) and young, talented, independent designers, photographers, animators, filmmakers and disruptors.
I divide my time between Minale Tattersfield’s creative studio in Shoreditch (East London) and the group’s head office on Cannon Street in the City of London. People say I’m eclectic, inclusive and uncompromising. I also believe that curiosity and collaborations are key for the future of design and happiness.
What do you do in your life in London?
Since 1996 I have lived in Hackney and Shoreditch. The place inspires me by its diversity and different take on life. In 1997 I started a fashion label with my wife, who is from Berlin. I met her at her end of year show at the Royal College of Art where she had studied for a Masters in fashion design, and we opened a shop together on Columbia Road (The Flower Market). She was designing the clothes and I was developing the fashion brand. I was also rediscovering my interest in motorbikes, a love passed down to my brother Massimo and I from our father. I remember as a child in 70s London, sitting on his yellow Norton 750 Commando. After that dad would rock up with a new Ducati, Harley-Davidson or Triumph and I knew one day I would have my own. It’s great to share this passion with my brother, with who I am designing and building some great custom bikes, which we sometimes get to ride (we now prefer to ride bicycles around London).
In 2000 my father suddenly and tragically passed away, I felt a duty as his eldest son to jump into his boots (massive boots, now that I think back) and run the family business. The pressure was on from the go and it hasn’t stopped since then…
You are born in UK from Italian parents and you hold an Italian passport. Do you feel that your Italianness has enriched your life and your job in UK? Is being Italian a value added in your field?
Design for me is ever changing but always about clarity of thinking and execution. Right now the trend is for different influences and styles, contrasting themes but still with a sense of harmony. I’m collaborating with some fantastic people, creating our own projects that fit with our interests and lifestyles. Together we are developing experiential design that works across all media platforms, enhancing creativity within the design process instead of being driven by short-term targets. Today what we do must be achievable, sustainable and authentic. We never compromise or under deliver. Who you are as a person or creative entity, and who you are surrounded by suggests a certain mentality and attitude. Having an Italian father and Swedish mother, living in Rome, Stockholm and London, speaking different languages inevitably will contribute to this. This has equipped me with the personality to question and challenge the norm, disrupt if necessary and love everyone and everything that does the same.
Have you ever considered the idea of working in Italy? If yes, in which part of Italy?
I currently work in Trento, Milan, Udine and Rome. I go to Italy every month, to challenge and to be challenged. Never have a dull or boring time… Life is too short.
Italy is undergoing a long term economic crisis in the last 20 years in some fields. How do you see the job market in Italy related to your field? Do you think a professional could have a successful career there?
In 2011 I was lucky enough to be part of the build up to the London Olympics. Minale Tattersfield was commisioned to design the London 2012 Olympics signage. We wanted the signage to really stand out, so we designed a bright pink signage system. For the presentation, I decided to go for it and make the point, so I also wore a bright pink suit. At the end of the presentation, the room went totally quiet as everyone turned round to see what the chairman had to say. He then stood up in his grey suit and in a very formal tone said, “Mr. Minale, real men wear pink!” That was a great moment, we clicked. Basically this story reminds me of what my father used to tell my brothers and I, “a good idea does not require selling”.
I asked you to choose a place in London that you like or you are tied to, what was your choice and why you made it?
It would have to be Hackney and the Olympic park.
I have been resident in Hackney since 1996 and seen the area transform. I got married here, my kids were born here, I play here, I do my stuff here and wake up every morning here… The place inspires me by its diversity and contrasts.
What do you think about this project?
I like it and I hope it inspires the doubters and challenges the believers.
How do you think you could support and promote Italian culture? 
By starting an institute of design in London that challenges steriotypes?!