Melina is a design project created in 2014 by the architect and designer Valia Barriello.
Valia Barriello, graduated in Architecture in 2005 at the Politecnico of Milan, with a thesis entitled "An invisible monumental network. Milan Art City? A Possible Dream".
She began her professional career working with various architecture studios in Milan until the passion for everyday objects and the love for manual work pushed her towards the design and the sea. And so she took over a PhD in Design at the Faculty of Architecture of Genoa that ended in 2011 with the thesis "Democratic Design".
Besides design, another passion of Valia Barriello is writing; therefore, she writes articles for several publications in the field, and she also takes care of the preparation of design exhibitions.
She also carries out her personal research on the issues revolving around democratic design (meaning a design that is accessible to everyone), self-production and the use of waste materials.
Currently, she works for a studio in Milan and works as a teacher at the NABA Academy as an assistant of the designer Paolo Ulian. In 2013, she edited "Recovery. Artwo outside and inside the walls" an exhibition at the Triennale of Milan which involved designers and inmates of the Rebibbia prison. She has collaborated with several magazines and publications, and she was in charge of the design column for Artribune since its founding until March 2015.
To the exhibitions settings, researches and articles, she added self-produced objects and in 2014 she also launched her first self-production brand: Melina.
Melina for Kids is the line of products created to amaze all children, but also appreciated by adults for the irony and simple design.
It includes common items that, with a bit of imagination, can turn into real toys.
All branded items Melina For Kids are entirely manufactured in Italy.
The same designer explains her self-produced project by saying: "The idea of Melina was created to keep alive the custom of handing down toys from generation to generation. When I saw the daughter of a friend of mine choosing a towel folded by me, over the latest Barbie model, I realized that in that simple act kids are able to recognize magic. Then I studied how to change the shape and folds of the napkin to make it a product with two functions. This game has been passed down from my grandmother, whose name was Melina, to my mother and then to me."
Melina is a complement for the table and at the same time a game for the kids, that recalls their love for a simple and creative fun.
Melina is a nice, colourful, simple cotton placemat which, when properly folded, turns into a funny little doll.
An object that takes inspiration from an old game that was very popular in the Italian postwar period, when mothers and grandmothers cannot afford any toys for their children and had to make up their own pastimes.
To create something that looked like a doll, they often use tea towels or some towels, bent and folded to recall the shape of a doll. The boundless imagination of children did the rest.
This design project that was born from the imagination of an artist who did not forget to follow the tips of her inner child; a product born after a careful study of sizes and folds, to create these playful dolls.
An artisanal production that mixed with the more modern graphic design makes this game very up-tp-date.
Melina is therefore an object with a double function: it is a convenient placemat to set up the children's table for their meals, and at the same time it is a sweet little doll.
A simple accessory specifically designed to awaken the interest in traditional games and to stimulate children's innate fantasy. Because even a placemat can become a creative game.
Melinàs products are self-produced, printed and handcrafted in Italy. It is made of cotton and it is available in three different models and colours.
On our site you will find the fantastic Placemats by Melina, in the Pallino version (suitable for boys) in the shades of anise, honey and mint, and the Melina placemats (for girls).
Melina for Kids is a fun and colourful design that encloses a story made of tradition, imagination and above all graphic design. A complement for the table and at the same time a playful object for the kids, that beyond the graphical beauty represents the essence of what should be the children's favourite game: imagination.
With Melina, the designer Valia Barriello manages to transmit the love for simple and creative fun, inspired by the traditions of those times when you could create and invent what you did not have thanks to imagination and a bit of dexterity.
A work focused on the recovery of materials and traditions as for the artist, incorporating recycling in the design production was a spontaneous process. For Valia Barriello, traditions and objects always deserve a second life.
Melina was launched in 2014 on the occasion of the exhibition Source: Self-Made Design held in Florence, thanks to the selection of the curator Roberto Rubini, but the idea was born at least two years before. During the Fuorisalone 2015, the designer presented for the Kids Week Superstudio (edited selection of Paola Noè of Unduetrestella), the male version of its placemat: Pallino.
Valia Barriello has always been fascinated by kids design that just like the children's imagination offers endless possibilities of interpretation. When it seems that everything has already been thought, there is still a world to do and discover. In fact, the inspiration for the Melina project was not born from intricate lines or market studies, but simply playing with the small Lavinia, the daughter of a dear friend.
And Valia Barriello is not the first one to recognize in children the main and most authentic source of inspiration.