Obsession—it’s a familiar sensation. In the world of design, there exists a magnetic force, an allure that pulls you towards an object of desire—a new obsession.  That obsession is intertwined within the DNA of LDV, La Dolce Vita. Inspired by the opulence of Studio 54 and the glamor of the Art Deco era, this invite-only luxury design company seamlessly weaves inspiration from fashion and interior movements, creating an addiction like no other. These vintage treasures are not mere furniture; they are artistic expressions of an era, carefully gathered from all corners of the globe by the company’s “Design Hunters.” Curated from eras, such as Art Deco and Seventies Revival, LDV highlights the likes of Karl Springer, Edgar Brandt, Paul Evans, and Willy Rizzo. 

Photography by Noah Dye

Of course, vintage and sustainability are almost one and the same; each one of LDV’s curated pieces is upcycled and revived to its former glory, breathing new life into the timeless designs.  However, that is not the only way the company is sustaining—LDV preserves traditional craftsmanship, entrusting the restoration process to small artisan shops in Italy. These craftsmen possess precise knowledge of specificities in the industry, whether it be upholstery or restoring parchment.  In a nod to the glamorous spirit of Studio 54, LDV opened their Los Angeles pop-up with a grandiose party. As the guests stepped into the world of LDV, they were transported into a realm of timeless allure, allowing them to become one with the world that LDV created. 

V sat down with co-founders Guido Callarelli and Birta Ólafsdóttir to talk about the company’s origins, the importance of retaining artisanal craftsmanship, and obsession-worthy materials.

V Magazine: How would you describe the world of LDV right now? What are you, if you’re invited, being invited into?

Guido Callarelli: Right now, they’re being invited to the platform, which is the website, if we wanna be straight to the point. This is just the beginning of an evolving concept of the club, more is to come.

Birta Ólafsdóttir: But also, we have email newsletters, and SMS notifications whenever we drop a new item. And you can only receive those if you have access to the platform. So you get all the information about all the new products, and therefore you have the ability to buy them.

BÓ (continued): Then we’re planning more pop-ups, which become physical access points for the public they can come to. If you come to one of our events in real life, you will then get invited to the club. So you first need to kind of engage physically, to then become a part of our online community, which will then continue to evolve.

V: What they’re initially getting access to is your highly curated grouping of products. And by that, I mean like how a real estate agent might show a house before it’s actually listed. The pieces you are picking out are not stuff you’re necessarily gonna see shoppable almost anywhere else. It’s just like exclusively your curation, right?

GC: Yeah, that’s actually a really good point. We curate the design, the direction of the piece, and that becomes like a unique curation.

V: Where do you guys find most of the pieces?

Guido Callarelli: We find them, either from private houses or dealers. But mostly in Europe and some in America, because we have a few of American designers that really represent LDV’s DNA.

BÓ: We have a network of people. We will go around, but we also have people going, who will then send everything to us. So we select the pieces, we’re more the curators.

GC: We are definitely actively involved in finding these pieces. It’s really like hunting in that sense.

V: Why did you two want to start LDV? How did it come to be?

GC: Just the passion of design, and it’s also a passion of these specific designs. So for me, it’s about the dramatically shaped designs; this grand, this opulence, which is a big part of my style, my creativity. I’ve never been the understated kind of creative director in that sense.

BÓ: More bold.

GC: The second reason, I saw a spot in the market for a company that blurs the boundaries between fashion and design. And I really want to push this idea of merging with fashion.

BÓ: Guido approached me with this project in the beginning, and I loved everything he was saying. And I was very much into it. I agreed with him when he defined this market gap that there was the potential for a product like this in the market. But my background is more from interior design and art direction. So I’ve always been really passionate about design in general, and furniture design specifically. And already I was spending all my time at Les Puces, in Paris, going through all the vintage markets. I’m very passionate about the craftsmanship and the materials. 

(continued) And I am personally very proud of the project from the sustainable point of view of how to bring an item back to its former glory. So I think together, with both of our backgrounds, we’re like a very solid team in that sense. And I was at the stage of my life where I really wanted to start my own company. So it made perfect sense for me to get on board.

V: Do you wanna talk a little bit more about sustainability? Is there anything about the market as a whole when it comes to sustainability that you want to say and what you want to do differently?

BÓ: I think sustainability is becoming, crucially, more important. It’s something you cannot ignore. And I think there’s so many amazing products out there that are already made. Basically what we’re doing is we’re upcycling. We’re taking something that might be a little bit rundown and we’re reviving it back to its form of glory. 

BÓ (continued): Also I think it’s important to talk about the craftsmanship. All our restoration happens in Italy, and we’re mostly working with small artisanal shops. So we’re also preserving the know-how and the knowledge of how to do specific things when it comes to upholstery or black lacquer or restoring parchment and so on. So really it’s like you’re preserving something that’s very amazing, with truly astounding materials and craftsmanship, and allowing it to last for another hundred years.

V: I love the idea of sustainability, not just the materials, but sustaining the know-how and the craft. Do you wanna talk a little bit more about the fashion inspiration? Why does that feel so central to the heart of LDV?

GC: Our tagline, it’s “your gateway to obsession-worthy luxury design”, So there is this concept of obsession, and obsession-worthy is the core of everything. Like this idea of how fashion is addictive. You can also be addicted, in that sense, to furniture and to the world of interior design. So this idea of obsession links fashion with design and the concept of opulence. All of these elements are a very important core of LDV. And La Dolce Vita (LDV), was a very fashion-driven period of time.

(continued): So it’s all very much defining the LDV ethos, which links again with the world of Studio 54 and glamourous times, because of the super high fashion art crowd and celebration of materials and pieces as artwork. And this idea of materials, because materials are also so obsession-worthy—like the parchment, the burlwood, the metal, the silk, the velvet everywhere.

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