Italian design studio Piloh was founded in 2010 by Paola Santilli (born 1979 in Spoleto, Italy). Santilli first studied International Communication at the University of Perugia, earning her Bachelor’s Degree in 2004, before earning a Master’s in Fashion and Design at Polimoda International Institute in Florence in 2005. During her studies, she also participated in a short course at Villaggio Leumann directed by Merja Markkula (in the small village of Collegno in Turin), where she learned artisanal wet felting techniques.
From 2005 to 2010, she worked in communications for companies like YOOX, an online lifestyle, fashion, and design brand. After establishing Piloh in Milan, Santilli moved to London in 2013 to continue her studies in design at the University of Arts London, Central Saint Martins, where she completed a professional course in Technical Drawing for Product Designers.
Since 2014, Santilli has been working on collaborations with architects and interior designers out of Piloh’s new Umbrian studio in Spoleto. A recent Piloh collaboration was with BNO Design LLC, a well-known New York City-based interior design firm. The Piloh brand highlights an ecological approach to design, using traditional handcrafting techniques and predominantly natural materials like merino wool, cashmere, wood, and silk to explore the artistic potential of everyday objects. There is a controlled tension in the vases, lamps, and other pieces in the Piloh collection that unite seemingly conflicting materials like felt and steel, concrete and cotton - like the Jaco Lamp series in which dark concrete oblong bases are mirrored in the similarly oblong-shaped lamp shades, created from soft grey wool. The Agari Vases seamlessly meld geometric iron forms with a felted merino, mohair, and wool exterior and add splashes of surprising color into the bargain. Each piece in Piloh’s collection is made by hand, in a raw, experimental yet warm aesthetic. Piloh has exhibited at Milan Design Week in 2010 and 2016, as well as Maison & Objet in 2015 and 2016.