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“Designer of Dreams”: Villa Fornasetti in Milan c. 1955

The majority of my inspiration comes from images I find online. The internet is a great resource, but often I find myself starring at the same pictures over and over again. Just the other day I was in desperate need for inspiration. As I battled some icy blasts of Melbourne spring wind I was saved by a book in a shop window which I immediately had to look at.

It was The Iconic Interior: 1900 to Present by Dominic Bradbury. I bought it there and then even though I am sure I could have found it cheaper online somewhere. Given that I love books and I love bookshops I feel it’s important to support them. And what’s not to like about seeing something, buying it on a whim and taking it home that very moment.

So, here is my first instalment for you from this wonderful tome: the Milanese home of three generations of the Fornasetti family. Fornasetti was established by Piero (1913-1988), a Milanese painter, sculptor, interior decorator, engraver and furniture designer who was known as “the designer of dreams”. Naturally the house is filled with countless Fornasetti pieces, yet it does not feel like a showroom. It just invites you in.

I adore the fearless use of colour throughout the house. The Fornasetti’s Mediterranea wallpaper (below) I’ve loved for ages and recently been thinking about using it in the very neglected entrance of my house.

This must be one of the best salon hangs of mirrors I have seen. It works so brilliantly, not just because of its scale and the amazing dark green wall (white would simply not have the same impact), but also because none of the pieces match, yet each is stunning in its own right.

The art historian in me loves the giant mural of The Ideal City after the early Italian Renaissance painter Pietro della Francesca on the wall of the studio below.

Fornasetti’s iconic butterflies appear in odd spots all over the villa.

The house certainly reflects Piero Fornasetti’s values. He said “I do not believe in eras or times. I do not. I refuse to establish the value of things based on time.” In an era when fashions are changing faster than ever before, this timelessness is something to celebrate.

I look forward to sharing more incredible interiors from my latest purchase. Do you still buy books from bookshops or are they just showroom for you before purchasing cheaper copies online? I do both and would love to hear your thoughts.


4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Love this post! Absolutely agree with your stance on book buying and am going to get myself a copy of ‘The Iconic Interior’ at the earliest opportunity! My favourite book i’ve recently bought is ‘Jean Dunand – his life and works’. An amazing book which showcases the work of an art deco master. It amazes me that Jean Dunand is not still a household name – and you can’t find too many images of his work online either!

    October 30, 2012
    • kate #

      Thanks for the tip. Will track down the book about Jean Dunand too.

      October 30, 2012
  2. Anne Nevile #

    Loved the fornasetti house – as for bookshops – I love them – the kindle is great but nothing beats the feel and smell of the real thing is unmatchable… Also the shop ha gives the ability to browse – to sit and huddle on the steps and leaf through a volume to try before buying.

    November 22, 2012
  3. melwitz folino #

    Fornasetti…..has always been a fav of mine since I was a kid….Maestro!

    April 4, 2013

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