Timeless Fortuny


Let's elaborate on Fortuny for a second, the last of my Italian inspirations.  Having seeing it live and in person in Venice, it re-kindled my love of this timeless beauty.  While wandering I passed one of their showrooms and stopped dead.  The lighting called me in.  Now Fortuny was multi talented and primarily known for his work in textiles but he also experimented with set and lighting design.    He eventually created a cyclorama dome that facilitated lighting effects, as well as a lamp that both magnified and diffused light.  

I spotted not only this gorgeous building but these classic tiered silk chandeliers all floating above.  This beauty - the Scheherazade 2 tier silk ($6,500) and the metal Scudo Saraceno ($2,800).  Statement pieces for sure !

I also saw a row of Studio and Atelier Series Floor lamps.  Really good !!  All about $3,800 and up.  Totally worth it in my opinion - statement pieces for sure.  Now Restoration Hardware carries them which breaks my heart a little, somehow that cheapens them to me... Ugg RH.  Don't get me started.  

Also love the Cupola's.  Come in both black and white - about $1,600. 

Just love them all !

Mariano Fortuny is best known for his textile design which are some of the most enduring designs of the 20th century.  Beloved by so many designers (and prized by their clients), Fortuny patterns don't seem to ever get old. Let's take a look at the story behind these fabrics, as well as the surprising other designs of Mariano himself.

Mariano Fortuny born in Spain, in 1871, the son of an important genre painter. The family moved to Paris in 1874 and then to Venice in 1889. Along the way, it became clear that Fortuny was a talented artist in many media. In addition to painting and sculpting, Fortuny would bind his own books, and make his own paints and dyes.
In 1907, he began designing women's dresses. His overall aesthetic was clearly inspired by the classical past, with column gowns suggesting the draped folds of Grecian chiton.   But the historicism of his clothes was balanced by the material, which Fortuny worked into tiny, fine pleats on machines he invented and patented . Fortuny's dresses were also characterized by rich jewel tones, achieved through multiple dye baths.

Due to the nature of the process, every run is different, and has a visible handcrafted quality. Fortuny's fabrics are characterized by their elegant designs, painterly lines, and dusty jewel colors, often with a metallic sheen. There are textile companies that sell "faux-tuny" designs, but after you've seen a few Fortuny's up close, it's easy to spot the fakes, which inevitably lack the delicate colors, hand-painted quality and grace of the originals. 

Peggy Guggenheim

Shortly after he launched his fashion career, Fortuny began designing the furnishing textiles he is still famous for.   From the beginning, these designs were clearly inspired by Italian Renaissance textiles, which in turn were heavily influenced by Islamic, Persian and Morish art. Later Fortuny designs also incorporated the Symbolist art of the era, as well as new 'exotic' influences like Mayan design. With his textile designs and production, Fortuny combined his lifelong interests in engineering, art, color, design, decoration, fashion and history.
After Fortuny died in 1949, his widow turned the company over to Elsie McNeil Lee, a New York-based decorator who owned American distribution of Fortuny designs. She helmed the company for decades before selling to the Riad family, who owns it now. With an archive of around 800 original Mariano Fortuny designs, the company re-produces about 40 designs per year.

We have an account with Fortuny and what a nice gesture - gifting us this great read.

Happy Saturday. 


Are You a Fornasetti Lover?

Hi !

Yep that trip to Italy really did inspire me, another artist I noticed while there, who had slipped my mind, Piero Fornasetti.  Philippe Starck, designer of the Palazzina G incorporated many of his designs on the property.  Those pieces created such a statement of whimsy but on such a sophisticated level.  This entire boutique hotel was so art filled at every turn.  With time at home over this holiday, I remembered a small book I had about a conversation between Barnaba Fornasetti (Piero's son) and Starck.  Great little read and filled with great images of his work.

Our room in Italy, while designed with luxurious whites and mirrored pieces, was popped with Fornasetti's face chairs in black and white.  This one little design element, in my eyes, turned what could have been a little overly glam, to artistic decor perfection !  It added just the right amount of edge and total sophistication.

Piero Fornasetti (1913-1988) a Milan artist working in all sorts of mediums.  A painter, sculptor, designer, craftsman and an engraver of art books.  In his lifetime it is said he dreamt up and created more than 11,000 objects,  most of which one-of-a-kind.  Most famous for his tromp l'oeils, I love his precision, humor and elegance. 

His son Barnaba continues the tradition today in their workshop in Milan.  He has revived his father's most popular pieces as well as creating many new ones.  I am a huge fan.   Perpetuating the family's artisanal tradition he resuscitated many of his father's designs applying them in many new ways.  He has thus made it possible to create a licensing system for various commercial sectors allowing for the production in many applications.  Umbrellas, fabrics, lighting, ceramics, furniture, and jewelry to name a few.

While in Venice I  scooped up two of his iconic plates to add to a collection of favorite things I am stock piling for our new mountain house.   I plan to fill this get-a-way with sentimental things turning this little piece of heaven in the woods into a place with items of meaning.  I tell this to all my clients when I leave a few blanks in the design - travel and collect, don't just one stop shop.

I know you know the work of Fornasetti.  Wall paper, objects, lamps, chairs - there are out there.  In Starcke's conversation with Barnaba he said "Fornasetti is above all luxury for the mind .. haute couture and not for everyone.   A very cultivated person will appreciate the references, but someone else who is just looking for something funny, will love it just as much."

Visit the Fornasetti site and take a look behind the scenes at Fornasetti Atelier here.  Amazing videos of what's happening on each floor of the Atelier in Milan.

I love a few days off !


Are You a Murano Glass Fan?

Hi There !

I brought so many things back from our trip to Italy, in the way of inspiration that is.  One of the things I did recognize while we were in the gorgeous Palazzina G were the amazing Murano Glass chandeliers over the main bar.  Stunning.

Got me thinking and embracing one my Nashville client is using in her dining room (as Phase 2).  They truly are gorgeous.  I started looking around and found several beauties on 1st Dibs.  Just thought I'd give you a feast for the eyes on this feast of a day, Thanksgiving 2017.

A little history on Murano Glass, if you aren't familiar . . 

Made on the Venetian island of Murano for centuries specializing, developing and refining the technology of crystalline glass, enamelled glass, golden glass, milk and multicolored.  These century old techniques are still used today to create everything from lighting to artwork, decorative art and bar ware.  The Museo del Vetro in Palazzo Giustinian was founded in 1861 and  houses the history of glass making with a huge range of samples.  Sadly the industry has been shrinking as imitation works from Asia have taken an estimated 45% of the market for Murano glass.  The numbers of professional glass makers have decreased from about 6000 to fewer than 1000 today.

Now many of these may be out of all of our budgets, but we work with several vendors who are equally inspired by these amazing pieces . . . like this one for example for $7,500 - made in Italy.

I recently installed a job in Atlanta using it's much less expensive American brother . . .

Or how about this beauty for $9,000

I found a similar version and installed one in this kitchen breakfast area we created.

Lighting is one of my weakness and I am on the hunt for the perfect chandelier for my new office.  Can't wait to see if I do the high or low . . . I am a sucker for the real deal and I love the artistry and statement these pieces make, not to mention the good memory (of a fabulous trip).  It's hard to say if I'll invest in the piece that will bring me total joy every time I walk in the space or something a lot less that will probably be just as good but not make me quite as thrilled.. we'll see.