CovetED Magazine is delighted to bring you our Top 100 Interior Designers! We have selected the top designers from each...
Step Inside the Magical World of High-End Italian Furniture DesignTuesday 26 February 2019
Step Inside the Magical World of High-End Italian Furniture Design ⇒ To mention some luxury furniture brands is not the hardest task to do. We all know a few of them, either by name, style or even iconic pieces. But to understand them, to see why they became what they are today, now that’s more tricky. It’s no secret that the luxury Italian brands are kings in this chess match, but that doesn’t really mean that the rest are mere pawns. What most of us don’t understand is the reason why the Italians rule the game. Is it the history, the craftsmanship, the style? Is it all that, or just pure chance? On this article, CovetED has the answer to all your questions and many other more.
In this article, you can find:
- The Best High-End Italian Brands
- Other Honorably Mentioned Related High-End Brands
- The Best Italian Interior Designers
- Other Honorably Mentioned Related Interior Designer
- The Crafts Behind HIgh-End Brands
- Crafts & Design Icons of Italy
A Historically Rich Market
From design to colour here is characterized by sophisticated technology and more. Moreover, Italy has a good history to create an innovative design of furniture producing. So, the demand for Italian interior design is growing too high in the indoor and outdoor market even global market. So, they are emphasizing on how to make the Italian furniture market trendy globally. Moreover, Italian interiors have some unique features that really make an outstanding look.
Besides custom design, Italy is more developed in technological advancements for interiors. Just compare outmoded and modern design and you will really understand how they improve in using innovative style. It may not be possible to know how they were in past. But when you look around in present, you will really understand how they have already developed in style and design on furnishing. All kinds of interiors are made with genuine material, innovative design, and attractive theme and so on. All features fascinate you when you plan to use modern Italian interiors. Add expert craftsmanship techniques, like the world renown Murano glass blowing, and you can start to imagine why the Italians sit comfortably at the top of the food chain.
The Best High-End Italian Furniture Brands
Italian design has always emphasized fine quality and remarkable craftsmanship. From textile art, natural materials, and light features to the wide array of furniture, it will never go out of style. It would be difficult to imagine any interior setting absent of Italian influence, as it remains timeless in a sea of copious trends.
Roberto Cavalli Home
Officially launched in 2012, the group offers a wide range of furniture and interior design accessories developed in collaboration with sector’s specialists: JC passion for furniture, Industria Emiliana Parati for wallpapers, Gruppo Ceramichee Richetti SPA for tiles, Caleffi SPA for home textiles and Compagnia del Cristallo SPA for tableware.
The rich Fendi Casa catalogue contains furnishings for every area of your home. Seamlessly integrating modern advancements with retro details, the collection adds an elegant and inviting ambience. Part of the Luxury Living Group, Fendi Casa brings a little bit of the Roman Fashion House flair into our home.
Porada’s collection is wide and varied, made up of a multitude of occasional furniture developed in cooperation with designers as Tarcisio Colzani, Patrick Joiun, Carlo Ballabio, Marconato e Zappa, Opera Design, Studio Buratti, David Dolcini, Stefano Bigi, Gino Carollo and Emmanuel Gallina among others.
Armani Casa is one of the best brands, related to luxury furniture, made in Italy. With its quality craftsmanship, Armani is the zenith of Italian design, incorporating its fashion perspective onto the contemporary design pieces they so excellently produce.
Edra is the evolution of modern technology and artistic tradition. The production is the result of a blend of talent for invention, specialized craftsmanship, research on innovative technologies and materials. The pieces are created with such care as to become unique, unmistakable presences. Sofas and cabinets that adapt to all kinds of spaces, contemporary or traditional homes, public venues, international museums.
Highest standard quality, customer care and a wide range of collections with a deep passion for work are the key factors which inspire Antonio Lupi. “Tailor-made” production allows adapting every product to the requirements of the clients through a high degree of customization.
According to Missoni Home, the fabric itself is fundamental. It creates a game of visual and tactile emotions, with light and colour, offering matt and silky contrasts, compact structures, layered embroidery and metamorphic effects. The fabric gives shape and support to the design of seating and furniture and provides surface reliefs that are always different. And that philosophy seperates Missoni from the rest. High-quality fabric is of the utmost importance for the luxury Italian brand and they make sure you feel it the same way they do.
From its very first year in 1964, Seletti in Cicognara, Mantova, has followed its principle of professionality service and constant research to strive for betterness innovation and originality. The company focuses on design projects and on creative characteristic Italian excellence. The collections containing art blended with daily life icons, send a message of shape and function, conveying to its customers a vision for a unique, personal and fun lifestyle. Today Seletti aims at new productions, an ongoing journey within the idea of beauty. Several well-known designers and artists have worked with Seletti all over the years, such as Studio Job, Marcantonio Raimondi Malerba and Gio Tirotto.
A leading player in the furniture industry worldwide, Poliform is a trendsetter in contemporary lifestyle. They strive to be the best choice for those who embrace a good, modern and trendy lifestyle. The folks at Poliform are providing their clients with a wide array of choices for complete – and modular – home design. They are also very much involved in large commercial and residential projects, showcasing their creativity in places like London’s West End Quay, the AOL Time Warner Center in New York or Amsterdam’s Conservatorium hotel.
Founded in 1927, Cassina launched industrial design in Italy during the 1950s. The company was pioneering thanks to its striking inclination for research and innovation, working with important architects and designers and encouraging them to envision fresh designs, a characteristic that still distinguishes the brand today. Cassina’s identity lies in the innovative fusion of technological skill and traditional craftsmanship. The collections feature iconic furniture by great modern architects including Le Corbusier, Mackintosh, Wright, Rietveld, Perriand, Albini and Zanuso, as well as important architects and designers such as Bellini, Lissoni, Magistretti, Pesce, Ponti and Starck. Since 2015 Patricia Urquiola is the Art Director of Cassina.
FLEXFORM is an Italian industrial company that relies on deeply rooted expertise in the production of finely crafted sofas and furnishings, with an innate focus on design culture.
The luxury supercar brand Bugatti entered the world of interior design with the world renown Luxury Living Group. It transports the iconic lines of its supercars to create unique furniture pieces like the Cobra dining chair. The cars’ bench technology provides unique comfort and experience in the brand’s furniture.
Luxury Living Group
Luxury Living Group is a leading organization in the luxury lifestyle and furniture sector, unique by developing, producing and distributing furniture collections for some of the world’s most celebrated brands. The group characterizes itself by the use of the finest materials, a large variety of finishes and the limitless prospects offered by customizing the pieces. Exquisite craftsmanship along with innovative technology and a loyal community of clients and partners was built up all over the world.
B&B Italia’s products have contributed to the history of Italian design. A history based on technology, creativity, and that inherent style that has made Italy famous throughout the world, establishing the “Made in Italy” brand that has been exported to international markets. The B&B Italia furniture collection has its roots in its ability to reflect contemporary culture and the capacity to respond quickly to the ever-changing lifestyles, habits and requirements.
Poltrona Frau Group’s furniture has always been recognized for its exceptional quality that starts from the careful and meticulous selection of raw materials. All stages of the production process are subject to rigorous quality monitoring. From design to experimentation with innovative materials, from aesthetic research to the production of every single piece and up to final testing. Their quality brings the signature of art of making and of an artisanal and industrial capacity consolidated in almost a century of history and experience, unchanged in the spirit, but always ready to face the challenges of modernity.
Molteni & Dada
The story of a family, a legacy and a passion for things beautiful and for finely crafted furniture, a culture forged and nurtured within the firm. This is how it has always been, for Molteni&C. Since 1934, when it started out as a joinery workshop eager to exhibit its furniture at the Monza Biennali, which later became the Milan Triennali, and to make its debut in the world of art and culture, attracting the attention of the critics and of an increasingly international public.
Established in 1954, Zanotta is one of the recognized leaders in Italian industrial design since ever. Guided by the insight and wonderful entrepreneurship abilities of the founder, Aurelio Zanotta, starting from the 1960s it won and has held the international spotlight, thanks to its products: these are emblematic from the viewpoint of formal innovation as well as of technological research, aiming at a continuous evolution in the materials quality and in the production processes.
A leading design company, founded in 1949 by Giulio Castelli and now run by Claudio Luti, Kartell is one of the symbols of Italian design around the world. A success story told through an incredible series of products – furniture, furnishings, lighting, home accessories – that have become part of the domestic landscape, not to mention actual contemporary design icons. Kartell is known for its collaborations with well-celebrated designers, cush as Piero Lissoni, Phillipe Starck and Jeremy Scott.
Moroso has been working in close collaboration with some of the world’s most talented designers to produce luxury sofas and seating since 1952. The company has always been open to new ideas, from its origins in post-war Italy where there was a culture of ‘doing things and doing them well’, Moroso has been farsighted, daring and certain of the advantage of combining craftsmanship and tailoring with industrial processing techniques to create unique products and by drawing on the worlds of industrial design, contemporary art and fashion.
Other Honorably Mentioned Related High-End Furniture Brands
The luxury design world is, fortunately, well-established in other markets. Italy might have the stronghold, but there are plenty of other European countries who to have something to say. From France to England, and not forgetting Portugal, nicknamed ‘El Dorado’ by Maison et Objet, are serious players in the game.
BOCA DO LOBO furniture is an exclusive emotional experience, a sense of belonging and a state of mind. We strive to encourage sensational experiences by creating beautiful pieces which are passionately inspired and handcrafted in Portugal by a staff that loves what they do; experiences which pass on the feeling of exclusivity. Our designers possess an undeniable talent for composing pieces which stir emotion in their admirers. Our artisan’s wisdom, accumulated from years of experience, is instilled with love and dedication in the art that they perform. No detail or element is overlooked as we offer the best at the frontier between design and art. Each piece will bring you on a journey to sources of pleasure you may have forgotten, and take you to places you have never been before; a journey to BOCA DO LOBO world-a world of emotions.
Inspired by the idea of making crystal accessible to more people, Daniel Swarovski, a Bohemian jeweller, patents an electric cutting machine that cuts crystal more precisely than by hand. In 1895 he founds Swarovski in the small town of Wattens, high in the Austrian Alps because the energy potential offered by nearby rivers makes it the ideal destination for Swarovski’s first production site. Daniel’s vision was to use the crystal to create “a diamond for everyone”, and his pioneering spirit and glass-cutting innovations help us continue the mission today.
Circu was built under a dream! The dream is to allow children to dream their own dreams and to really give them space to be and live their fantasies and magical world. Our hand-crafted and hand-tailored pieces are made in Portugal with the finest materials, combined with a lot of passion, so we can deliver only the highest quality furnishings.
Tom is a restless innovator who works mainly in lighting, accessories and furniture. From his departure point in the early eighties welding salvaged steel into radical furniture, he has constantly reinvented himself through a series of different design lives – working with luxury Italian goods with Cappellini, Creative Director at Habitat and Artek, creating Plastics company Eurolounge and finally instigating his own eponymous brand in 2002 to rethink the product designer’s relationship with industry.
BRABBU is a design brand that reflects an intense way of living, bringing fierceness, strength and power into an urban lifestyle. With a diverse range of furniture, casegoods, upholstery, lighting and rugs, and through sensory design, they pass on a unique experience in every piece they design and produce.
For more than fifteen years Moooi has inspired and seduced the world with sparkling and innovative designs. The venture founded in 2001 by Marcel Wanders and Casper Vissers is named after their native Dutch word for beautiful – the third ‘o’ in the brand name stands for an extra value in terms of beauty & uniqueness. The art direction of the company is in hands of Marcel Wanders. From 1 September 2015, Robin Bevers assumed the position of Moooi CEO, taking over this role from Moooi co-founder Casper Vissers.
Maison Valentina was born in Porto, Portugal, aiming to deliver the most exquisite and sophisticated bathroom furniture. Offers high-end solutions made with the finest material selection, combined with rare handwork techniques, contemporary design and assuring supreme quality.
Ligne Roset is synonymous with modern luxury and invites consumers to revel in a contemporary, design-forward lifestyle. Known for its artful collaborations with both established and up-and-coming talents in contemporary design, Ligne Roset offers consumers an entire lifestyle in which to live both boldly and beautifully via its furniture collections and complementary decorative accessories, lighting, rugs, textiles and occasional items.
PullCast was born digging deep into the wonders of nature by a jeweller and a designer, who adore collecting objects from outdoor experiences. Crossing the worlds of jewellery and design only led to a path of exploring new aesthetic design approaches with architectural and artistic strong influences. Expect to find diverse ranges of styles on collectable sculptural hardware, wide spreading a sense of rarity and legacy, grounded by ancient forms of craft.
BoConcept was born in Denmark in 1952 and is today a premium retail lifestyle brand, with close to three hundred stores in over sixty countries. They design, produce and sell contemporary furniture, accessories and lighting for living, dining, sleeping, home-office and outdoor spaces. They also help their customers create a personal home with their comprehensive in-home or store interior design service.
Essential Home is an innovative mid-century modern furniture brand that takes important historical and cinematographic references from the 1930s and 1960s and turns them into unique furnishing pieces. What started out in 2015 as ‘Essentials’, a furniture collection by the mid-century lighting brand DelightFULL, quickly grew to be one of the most elegant representations of mid-century modern design, thus creating a new name and a new brand, Essential Home.
Vitra is a company that constitutes part of the Turkish Eczacibasi Group which has produced tiles and sanitary ceramics and distributed these globally since 1942. The name similarity with the brand name Vitra. is coincidental; both companies developed entirely separately from one another. A friendly exchange presently exists between both companies, but there are no commercial links.
A fresh reinterpretation of mid-century lighting design. The brand revives design and inspirational art from the 40s to 70s, bringing to you fresh classic lamps with the progress of colours and materials of modern décor. Their mid-century spirit can be suitable for any project customizing any piece that you need.
Ritz Paris Home Collection is a part of the Luxury Living Group, like their sister brands Baccarat, Bently Home, Bugatti Home and Fendi Casa. Ritz Home Collections shares with you a bit of the French Heritage that you can find in the hotel with their unique luxurious details. Anyone can feel like Coco Chanel with these pieces.
The Best Italian Interior Designers
From the ultra famous Dimore Studio Antonio Citterio to more local but incredible Interior and Product Designers, Italy and Italian Design have always presented us with several strong and powerful examples of luxury and quality design works, inspirations and projects that put our imagination and design taste in overdrive.
Italy at it’s best through the eyes, projects, vision and ideas of award-winning Piero Lissoni, the internationally known architect and designer with a vision for spaces, ambiences and time. Through his works, we will see the developing world of architecture in Italy and in the world reflected in his hospitality projects, furniture designs and futuristic ideas.
Piero Lissoni was born in 1956 and is one of Italy’s golden boys. He is a world-famous architect and designer who graduated in 1978 from the very prestigious Politecnico di Milano. In 1986 He opens Lissoni Associates with Nicoletta Canesi and ever since that he has lead groundbreaking projects. Today his studio is made of a staff of over 60 people and has projects that cover all design fields such as architecture, interiors, industrial design and graphics project.
The exquisite Laurent restaurant is located on the first floor of the Hotel Cafe Royal, above the impressive new lobby featuring a 17 feet double height Murano glass chandelier by legendary Italian glassmaker Vistosi. Offering a relaxed yet refined all-day dining concept in line with today’s contemporary lifestyles, the informal lunch and dinner menus will be centred around the Parilla grill, a traditional iron grill barbecue, originally from Argentina, allowing the chef to control the heat to ensure perfectly cooked chargrilled meat or fish. Taking a step back to 15 years ago, Chef Laurent Tourondel has long championed ‘easy going’ food and accessibility, and his varied and diverse menu encourages casual and relaxed dining.
Also related to the world of Luxury Interior Design we can find another major name of the current Design Industry in Italy. We are of course talking about the Dimore Studio, another heavy hitter studio based in Milano that’s quickly becoming an International Trend Setter. Head Designers Emiliano Salci and Britt Moran both invested in their individual experience and founded in 2003 this now prestigious studio on the hopes that this institution could become a beacon for Italian Design.
And that’s precisely what this studio has become. With a focus on Design Art and Fashion, the Dimore Studio have collaborated in the past few years of some of the great names of Italian craftsmanship like Ceramica Bardelli, but their list of clients/ partnerships also includes some top names of Italian Luxury, like Fendi. In fact, Dimore Studio was responsible for the redesign of some of the most iconic Fendi Shops in Italy and they work closely with this brand in their Design Projects in Italy.
Fendi knows that Dimore will always represent the Essence of Italian Design and, since Fendi it’s also a Top Italian Ambassador, they know that only a Great Name of Italian Design can perfectly recreate the image that they want to transmit. This love of the Dimore Studio for the World of Art and the Style of Italian Design led it’s Head Designers to create the Dimore Gallery, a top Design Gallery in the Heart of Milano where this studio pays a constant tribute to the past, present and future inspirations and products of Italy!
Legends like Ponti or Bellini inspired all of the great Architects and Product or Interior Designers of today’s Italian Design Industry. We can’t find one Great Name of Today’s Design that isn’t inspired by at least one of the names mentioned before and that says a lot about the legacy that those legends left the Designers of Today. In fact, some of the Top Designers of today were Mentored by those Legends of the Past.
One of the top names of today’s Italian Design is Antonio Citterio. Like all the design legends that inspired his youth, Citterio started his career in Milano and like his hero, Gio Ponti, Citterio started his Academic and Professional life as an Architect. From 1987 to 1996, Citterio worked in association with Terry Dwan in several amazing buildings in Europe and Japan, but after many years spent designing buildings, Citterio also decided to follow the footsteps of Ponti and became a prominent Furniture and Industrial Designers!
In the role of Product Designer, Citterio helped shape the World and Style of some Top Italian Brands of Today, namely Vitra, Ansorg, Arclinea, Axor-Hansgrohe, B&B Italia, Flexform, Flos, Hermès, Iittala, Kartell, Maxalto, Sanitec (Geberit Group) or Technogym. All of them showcase in their most popular Collections of all time at least one piece designed by Citterio and those pieces bear his amazing trademark style that boosts Italian Modernity and a more Contemporary Vibe!
We couldn’t pass the opportunity of mentioning another great name of Italian Design, but as the other Two Giants mentioned earlier, this one is native of Italy but his influence is well present in the Italian Design Industry. That’s right, Karim Rashid design impresses because of the quantity (over 3000 pieces produced, 300 prizes and presence in 40 countries), diversity (furniture design, spaces, product, new technology, lighting, packaging, fashion, identity, surfaces and not only) and modernity and it’s this versatility that led him to focus in Italy, as well as France in Canada.
Rashid studied in Italy and that’s why his style is influenced by the Italian Style of Design. Even though we can trace his origins to French Design, it was in Italy that Rashid learns all of the skills and absorbed all the influences that allow him to become that top Interior and Product Designer that he is today.
That’s why Rashid is, like Dimore and Citterio, a top and recurrent presence in all the major Design Events in Italy and a Top Reference for all major luxury brands, publications, galleries and design museums of Italy. There are many other names of today’s Italian Design that are also shared with other Cultures and Countries. One of those top designers is Patricia Urquiola.
Top collaborator of Kartell and a regular presence at the prestigious Salone del Mobile event, Urquiola is one of today’s faces of French Design, but it’s also impossible to disassociate her name with the Italian Design Industry. In fact, Urquiola is one of the patrons of Italian Craftsmanship, in fact, in 2018 she was the Guest of Honor of Homo Faber, a top Craftsmanship Event in Venice where she presented a strong showcase of her Colorful Style mixed with the Craftsmanship Values of Italy, namely the love of this country for Hand Made and Elaborate products in Wood and Glass!
With stunning projects around the world, including Italy, Urquiola always manages to bring to her Italian Designs and Creations those inspirations that are at the core of her education and that helped her become one of the top designers in the world. From her award-winning project at Hotel Il Sereno in Lake Como to more residential Projects in Central Italy, Urquiola provides each Italian project with the passion and the style that characterizes but always adapted to the Italian Culture.
Ludovica and Roberto Palomba
Ludovica and Roberto Palomba are also big names of today’s Italian Design. They are the two founders of the Palomba Serafini Associati, a powerful design studio based in Milan, Italy, that was created in 1994. For the past years, they have been collaborating with the most prestigious design brands from all over the world, namely Poltrona Frau, and the majority of their products designed since 1994 is still in production, making them some of the most long-standing design studios in production in Italy.
And like Ludovica and Palomba or all the other names on this List, the very own Italian Style that characterizes many products from the Top Italian Brands can also be found in the heart of the architectural projects of one of Italian architecture biggest names: the award-winning Piero Lissoni, the internationally known architect and designer with a vision for spaces, ambiances and time. Through his works, we will see the developing world of architecture in Italy and in the world reflected in his hospitality projects, furniture designs and futuristic ideas.
Other Honorably Mentioned Related Interior Designers
There’s plenty of more beyond Italian Interior Designers. If you look for timeless, contemporary interiors, the offer is large. Sure, Italians hold are the flag bearers, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t incredible talents all over the world. From India Mahdavi to Oitoemponto, these incredibly talented designers have proven themselves all over the years at the highest stage of interior design.
Kelly Elaine Hoppen is an English interior designer, author and proprietor of Kelly Hoppen Interiors. Kelly made an astonishing career and is now one of the biggest names of interior design worldwide. The creations of a Jewish and Irish descent designer are not only focused on hospitality or residential projects but cover also stunning yachts of private clients, as well as commercial projects all around the world, including restaurants, offices and an aircraft.
Kelly’s passion for interior design started when she was 16 and had the opportunity to design a family friend’s kitchen. During her career, she designed for a bunch of celebrities, including David and Victoria Beckham or Martin Shaw. Currently, with over 40 years of experience in interior design, Kelly Hoppen manages her own design studio in London (Studio Hoppen) and an eponymous decor and home accessories brand (Kelly Hoppen Interiors).
Besides being admired by interior designers, Kelly Hoppen is also a recognised TV personality. In 2011 she fronted Channel 5 Design Series, Superior Interiors and has appeared on various shows throughout her career including Good Morning Britain, 8 out of 10 cats, Saturday Kitchen, CNN Richard Quest, The Wright Stuff and Room 101. In 2013 Kelly became an investor on BBC Two’s hit Dragon’s Den entrepreneur show and has since invested and helped make a success of several businesses including Skinny Tan, Reviveaphone and Clean Heals, to name a few.
Marcel Wanders is without a doubt admired product designer and one of the top interior designers in the world. Regarded by many as an anomaly in the design world, he has made it his mission to “create an environment of love, live with passion and make our most exciting dreams come true.” His work excites, provokes, and polarises, but never fails to surprise for its ingenuity, daring and singular quest to uplift the human spirit, and entertain.
Today Marcel’s powerhouse studio numbers around 50 international design specialists, and he is a prolific product and interior designer and art director, ubiquitous with over 1700+ projects to his name for private clients and premium brands such as Alessi, Bisazza, KLM, Flos, Swarovski, Puma, among scores of others.
In 2001 Marcel Wanders co-founded the successful design label Moooi, of which he is also Art Director. Conceived as a platform for design talent from around the world, today the company works with around 30 designers, has a presence in 79 countries and is renowned for its quirky, eccentric but altogether inspired take on the objects that surround us.
Paris-based architect and designer: India Mahdavi’s name is a reflection of the designer herself: exotic, feminine, dramatic. It’s a name that evokes a chic, global sensibility and one that completely captures the essence of her designs. As an international interior, furniture and objects designer, India’s work is influenced by memories of her nomadic life. Each of her projects, be it a bar, restaurant, hotel, private residence or a piece of furniture, carries in its elements that are modern yet familiar. Her style is by turns playful, sexy and chic, and she’s not afraid to let her femininity come through in her work.
Mahdavi studied architecture at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris between 1980 and 1986. She earned her Architect Diploma DPLG in 1987. In 1989, she spent a year in New York, studying graphic design at the School of Visual Arts, furniture design at Parsons, and industrial design at the Cooper Union. She then returned to Paris and joined Christian Liaigre’s design studio as Art Director, where she remained for seven years. Mahdavi’s company, imh interiors, was founded in 1999, with the designer subsequently opening her own showroom in Paris in 2003. The following year, Salon Maison & Objet elected her Designer of the Year.
Jean Louis Deniot
Jean Louis Deniot is one of the best interior designers out there. He is the most prestigious French decorator. Since 2000, the year that he concluded his studies in the École Camondo (a renowned school of product design and interior architecture), Jean Louis has been working on projects from New York to New Dehli. Architecture, decoration, lighting and furniture…Deniot does it all. Jean Louis is recognized for having a very eclectic and traditional style. He loves history and tries to recreate some periods in his designs.
“My style is full of history and references coming from many different periods. I like emblematic interiors, full of archetypical furniture which one could consider “Neo or Cool Classic”. This ranges from Neoclassical to the ’30s, 40’s. 50’s, 60’s, etc. The decors are never literal or featuring typical period rooms, but eclectic and very architectural, with mixed influences, and always focusing on the highest level of quality possible. I don’t do pure contemporary as to me, it has no soul. I need to have history in my works.”
After developing his talent for many years in fashion, in Portugal and Sweden, Artur Miranda diversified into interior design. Following his resolutely modern and innovative design approach for that time in Portugal, he created Oitoemponto in 1993. Two years later, Jacques Bec joined him, bringing his own very personal French touch from Paris. They start working for public and commercial places, but their common taste for sophisticated and personalized surroundings soon leads them to develop their creativity in private places – which is now the main part of their job.
In 2002, Artur Miranda and Jacques Bec decide to open a space where they can exhibit their numerous creations such as furniture, carpets and light fitments. In this 300 m2 showroom, a specialized selection of objects brought from their frequent travels abroad can be found – from Hervé Van Der Straeten´s bronzes to vintage and contemporary furniture. And a selection of contemporary art. In this big open space, situated in the heart of Porto, Oitoemponto offers a studio where a vast team of professionals develop all kind of projects.
The Ancient Crafts Behind HIgh-End Brands
You can’t have high-end furniture design if you don’t have any craftsmanship involved. Nowadays, everything’s pre-fabricated and made for yesterday, with its perfect, laser-cut nooks and edges. But where’s the value in that? There’s no uniqueness in there, there’s no heritage, there’s no luxury in that. Ancient crafts are what support the upscale design, and it shall remain like this for years to come.
For centuries Murano has conserved the art of glass with jealous closeness, to the point that in the ancient Serenissima Republic of Venice, nobody was allowed to leave the island of murano without official permission. Although its tradition has been handed down from generation to generation for centuries, from Master to “garzonetto”, father to son, the history of Venetian glass working has evolved in a manner that continues to respect the true traditions, and integral customs of the land, and its history. This has carried to the present day the true largeness and beauty of the works of glass created on the island of Murano. It is therefore impossible to describe just how and why this art is fascinating, its presentation would demand attention and knowledge. We will try to give a short description of some of the more important points for those who are interested in knowing more of this wonderful and unique art.
One of the oldest arts of humankind, the art of making sculpturing ornaments in a wooden object creates undeniable
beauty forms and shapes. From its natural look and textures to highly polished and coloured versions, wood has always been easily accessible and relatively easy to manipulate, attracting the interest of artists and designers over the years. Adding details to a piece can be performed thru different wood carving styles and techniques, such as pattern, blocking, detailing, surfacing, or smoothening. Although the wood carving technique is one of most widely practiced, it survives much less than other main materials like stone carvings or bronze, changing thru time if left long periods of time without care.
Gold Leaf Gilding
The gold leaf application can be called gold leafing or gilding. It has been a process of ornamental decoration used on different materials and surfaces by the application of a thin layer of gold. It is available in a wide variety of karats and shades, and actually, there are a few substitutes for gold such as silver or copper. Using different techniques, the art of gilding has been mostly applied to the decoration of art objects, such as statues, or even pictures frames Architecture is also one of the creative fields that applies the rich technique on buildings and design components, evoking unique moments of rare opulence. Traditional water gilding is the most difficult and it remains unchanged for hundreds of years and it is still done by hand.
The art of casting metals into a chosen shape and size. The process starts by melting metal into a liquid, pouring it in a mold with a cavity of the desired shape, and removing the material, or casting, after the final work gets cool and then solidified. The solidified part can be ejected or even broken out of the mold. This technique is one of the most used for making intricate forms that would be difficult to have from other methods. Cast iron and aluminium are the most common metals processed, although bronze, brass, steel, among other varieties, are also used to produce castings.
One of the most representative art forms of the Portuguese cultural heritage. The renowned blue hand-painted tiles reflect a tradition used for hundreds of years. Azulejo is usually clay or ceramic plate piece, generally with a square shape decorated with glazed colourful designs, and repeated hundreds to a few thousand times. It is used as wall covering decoration, being linked to architectural use, covering a large surface area on both the inside and outside of buildings. The majority of tiles illustrates Moorish designs which have curvilinear, lacelike and looping designs, or even have geometric or floral motifs. Originally, azulejos appeared in Portugal thanks to the Arabs in the XV century. Since then, the country has been using the art uninterrupted for over five centuries, meaning it is already part of the Portuguese soul and the most meaningful place for this timeless technique movement.
Crafts & Design Icons of Italy
It’s not only within the Interior Design Industry or the Architectural Business that the powerful Italian Style is evoked. Also linked to that two powerful industries we have another major vehicle of the Italian Design: The Art World. Well, the relation of Italy with Art is legendary. Most of the major Artists of the World, from the Ancient Art to the Contemporary Age, are Italian or build their careers in Italy, but even though masters like Leonardo DaVinci, Rafael, Donatello or Michelangelo are still strong sources of inspiration for today’s Italian Art Scene, today we are focusing on the Design Art!
It’s within the specific category of the Art World where we can find even more stunning examples of the characteristic Italian Style and Way of Life! There are many big names of the Italian Design Art Scene that mixe their love for both Art and Design and it’s time for us to highlight those names.
One of the more irreverent names of both the Art & the Design scene is Rossana Orlandi. This Lady of Italian Design is amazing and the perfect example of how the worlds of Interior Design, Art and Craftsmanship can come together under one single roof. That’s precisely what Orlandi tried to do when she opened the Gallery Rossana Orlandi in 2002 in a former tie Factory in the Magenta neighbour.
Galleria Rossana Orlandi has been forecasting along the years new and upcoming designers and establishing the premise as one of the most revered platforms for avant-garde Design and Lifestyle. Started her activity focusing on the rising Dutch design wave with designers such Piet Hein Eek, Maarten Baas and Nacho Carbonell the research has moved widely around the world creating a catalogue which reflects the most innovative scenes from Europe to Asia to America, but always with a strong focus on the Italian Inspirations!
Gaetano Pesce and Piero Fornasetti are other of the two biggest names linked to Craftsmanship, Art and Design. With a passion for Murano Glass and other Italian Classic Design Techniques, such as Wood Craving and Porcelain Work, these two top designers and top instigators of the value of Craftsmanship in the Italian Design Industry are two of the top flagship names of Italian Value in the World of Art and Design!
No wonder their respective work, along with other projects of a few other Italian Art Designers, are constantly on display at some of the Top Italian Design Galleries, like de iconic and worldwide famous Nilufar and Italian. The Art Council of these two and other major Art Galleries in Italy are increasingly responsible for the elevation of Italian Design worldwide and whether it is in Milan, Roma, Florence or Naples, every single major Art Gallery in Italy has one specific mission: Elevate Italian Design & Craftsmanship!
♦ CovetED presents the Ultimate Guide for Milan Design Week 2019 ♦