Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Velvet Lady



The Velvet Lady is costume designer Dada Saligeri who was my elementary schoolmate, we lost touch but after (quite a few…) decades we met again and spent a few days together, as it happens in life: we lose friendships, we make new ones, we cross paths, we reconnect again…

In my last trip to Milan I went to visit her to admire her latest collection of velvet, stunning textiles woven with metallic threads, which give an extra layer of texture and shine.


 



 Turandot by Giacomo Puccini at The Met

Aida by Giuseppe Verdi at The Met

She was involved for years in designing costumes for major productions, including operas, many represented at The Metropolitan in New York, Rigoletto, Aida, Turandot, La Traviata, just to name a few.
She was at times working for these productions with her husband, Gianni Quaranta, director, production designer and set designer for theatre and cinema who, amongst many prizes, won an Oscar for the charming movie “A room with a view”.

  To say that her apartment was a joy to visit is an understatement, starting with the beautiful Liberty street facade.


 

Then entering through the main carved wooden door I found myself in the elegant courtyard.
Many Milanese buildings from past centuries have gorgeous courtyards and even luxurious gardens, hidden from the view of people passing by on the street…


 


Another elaborate entrance inside the courtyard leads to the marble stairs,  with gracious wrought iron and decorated glass windows.


  
 Now entering the apartment I am greeted by this mirror frame, where Dada has decided to put ribbons of silk, how beautiful and creative.


 

An antique cane bench against a faux marble wall is adorned by a heart pillow in her velvet creation. This home has a heart!




 



I could not refrain myself from taking pictures also of interior decoration, objects, antiques, collections…I was fascinated about the stories behind every piece, like the magnificent 1930’s crystal vase above with metal decorations, belonging to her mother.





The walls were full of oil paintings, sketches, drawings, like the clown drew by Franco Zeffirelli, with the dedication “To dearest Dada, a true friend”.


 


 
Being in love with Sicily I noticed the two small ceramic heads, a classic and popular subject, related to a centuries old story of a tragic love.

Now a few examples of exquisite and original velvet, different colors, textures but all extremely elegant and timeless.






 

How not to mention that also the elevator has red velvet seats and transports you not just from floor to floor but also to a past era of theatrical luxury.
If interested in any pieces of those fabulous textiles please contact me and I will put you in touch directly with the designer.

©2016 Brillante Interiors writes about new trends, timeless decor, iconic pieces, design ideas, or at times just musing about "a certain Italian way of doing things".
If you receive this post by Email and wish to leave a comment please click HERE and go to the comments section.  We love your comments!

If you need help to enjoy your home more, please send us an emailIt will be an investment in happiness at home, because a well designed house is always a good part of a great life and a beautiful room will make you happy every time you walk in!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

August in the City



 If you are still in the city here are some ideas on how to enjoy Summer outdoor.
Mogambo by Paola Lenti is a great umbrella with a useful attached small table 
where to put drinks or objects.


 If you are so lucky to have a patio the chairs Palma by Nardi are light, 
easy to clean and can be piled up. 


 Chairs Tropicalia by Moroso are fun and the colors transport us to the fabulous Fifties.


 Colors everywhere to celebrate Summer. See...you don't need a large space,
even a balcony will do.


 Just a simple table and chair by Emu can create the right atmosphere for breakfast outdoor.


 Chaise-long Harp by Roda have different positions to be able to sit and read 
or lye down and have a nap under the sun.


Well...we can all dream about having this terrace but we can use easily these blues and whites 
to create the illusion of being at the beach on every large terrace or small balcony in the city.

©2016 Brillante Interiors writes about new trends, timeless decor, iconic pieces, design ideas, or at times just musing about "a certain Italian way of doing things".
If you receive this post by Email and wish to leave a comment please click HERE and go to the comments section.  We love your comments!

If you need help to enjoy your home more, please send us an emailIt will be an investment in happiness at home, because a well designed house is always a good part of a great life and a beautiful room will make you happy every time you walk in!

















Thursday, July 21, 2016

Latest design trends in Milan


Exciting design as always in my first city, visiting showrooms, walking on the streets, discovering new stores I can tell you that Milan is more alive than ever with culture, fashion, style.
Vibrant or more muted colors are everywhere, definitely not a city for neutral hues, as is a return to the best of the past reinterpreted for our time.


                                                      







Hervé Van der Straeten exhibition in Milan at Robilant + Voena Gallery

 At Nilufar Depot I found these two exquisite chairs, designed in 1949 
by Giulio Minoletti for an Italian train, the ETR 500.

 Taking a picture of delicate 1950’s lights through a mirror at Nilufar Depot.


Still at Nilufar I saw a gorgeous sleek bronze bookcase created by the talented 
Osanna Visconti di Modrone.




And they showcased also in a splendid mirrored room the talent of Baciocchi architect, the firm behind all Prada showrooms and other major projects worldwide.





A visit to Studio Castiglioni is always a must in Milan (see my previous post HERE).  
In the picture Achille's daughter, Giovanna Castiglioni and I at the entrance to the Castiglioni Studio.


Did I say trends in the title? Well… actually I have not seen trends, 
only timeless style and elegance.

All photographs © by Albarosa Simonetti. Last image by Alda Pereira.
Do not use without permission.

©2016 Brillante Interiors writes about new trends, timeless decor, iconic pieces, design ideas, or at times just musing about "a certain Italian way of doing things".
If you receive this post by Email and wish to leave a comment please click HERE and go to the comments section.  We love your comments!

If you need help to enjoy your home more, please send us an emailIt will be an investment in happiness at home, because a well designed house is always a good part of a great life and a beautiful room will make you happy every time you walk in!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

A small garden? Enlarge it in 8 steps...



1)  A few well known tricks worth remembering will work not only in small apartments but also in outdoor spaces.  Warm colors tend to make things, furniture, walls closer...while cold colors tend to visually enlarge the space and make things, furniture, walls appear...far...so in a small gardenremember to use plants and flowers in cold and lighter colors specially along the perimeter and the perception will be of a langer, longer space.









2) You can create optical illusions in a long and narrow garden just positioning pots, small bushes, garden furniture on each of the longer sides alternating them every few meters so the eye can travel in a non linear way.
3) If possible hide the end of the garden creating different areas, even a small garden can be part terrace, part vegetable garden, part flower bed and of course always put small plants in the foreground, taller ones in the background with many interesting layers.




4) I love the use of mirrors in any garden, they can look like windows, or even doors opening to other enchanting secret gardens.  A mirror well positioned reflects light (but it should never be put directly toward the sun…) and the garden will expand. Try to use  mirrors with an antique patina effect to avoid poor birds flying into it…

Dans un petit jardin, on privilégie les mobiliers peu imposants. Mobilier vendu chez botanic.
5) A Trompe-l'oeil is a great way of expanding "the horizon" and so are pergolas and trellis, climbing plants and flowers which brings the eyes up and create verticality.
 


6) In a small garden we need to preserve the space to walk around, so a few well chosen pieces of furniture, easily moved and stacked when necessary, will do the trick.  As for small rooms again the same rules: use outdoor furniture with thin legs and in light colors, to see everything above, under, maybe even through.






 7) And never underestimate the power of appropriate lighting.

8) Lastly remember that leaving a "negative space" is always a good way of giving more attention to the main attractive features.



©2016 Brillante Interiors writes about new trends, timeless decor, iconic pieces, design ideas, or at times just musing about "a certain Italian way of doing things".
If you receive this post by Email and wish to leave a comment please click
HERE and go to the comments section.  We love your comments! 

 
If you need help to enjoy your home more, please send us an emailIt will be an investment in happiness at home, because a well designed house is always a good part of a great life and a beautiful room will make you happy every time you walk in!

Friday, April 1, 2016

The sound of India




As you know a few times I like to talk about my travels and today it is about beautiful India.
This country was on my dreams for a few years and I was recently able to go and spend a full month between Assam, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh, my trip was part business, more about this very soon! and part leisure.

Everyone warned me of the SMELL, the pungent and sometimes unpleasant odors I for sure would be hit with, arriving in India, but to my surprise I did not smell anything unpleasant, ever, for the entire month, only jasmine, incense, spices, simple food cooked on open air.



The fragrant flowers for offerings in the temples.




The fresh vegetables and spices in the markets.

Even on a week-long cruise along the Ganges the water did not smell at all, often it looked very clean, not much polluted… or was already my love for India?






But the SOUND of the traffic was the most unexpected and intrusive experience and that is why I did not love India at first sight (but I fell in love right after…) for the constant and very loud sounds of horns and the way they drive, impossible to explain. Their motto is “When you drive you need good brakes and good luck" well since I am writing this notes obviously both were in my destiny and I need to add “You need a loud horn”.


 


Trucks have huge signs on their back saying “Honk” or “Blow Horn” (like they need any encouragement?) in fact honking is a way of letting others know they are coming and when I say they are coming it means they are already a few inches away.

Travelling by car, with a driver, leaving some of my mental health, not to mention nails, on the car seats, I discovered that the national sport in India is not cricket…but honking; wherever you go, by foot, by car, by tuck-tuck, there is someone startling you with a screeching sound.




Even in the narrow pedestrian street of Old Varanasi you first jump vertically in terror at the loud horn of a big motorcycle at your back, then you jump on the side in the nearest door, store, entryway, or you try to make yourself 50 pounds lighter against a wall, to save your toes, and your life. “Sidewalk” you would suggest? Oh no, there are NO sidewalks in Old Varanasi, not one!

 Do I need to mention Calcutta? Delhi? I leave it to your wildest imagination; I have been around the world AND I am Italian, so I should be used to some chaotic traffic but I have never seen such a show.
It was at times annoying, and after a few hours of street cacophony I needed some hearing rest and then is when I fell in love with India.


Throat singing 

Sounds became ancient music, like the throat singing in Assam, or became classical music, like the birds singing in gorgeous rural areas, while they fly above geometric patterns of rice fields, over rows of mango trees, silk cotton trees, or above extremely curated tea plantations.





Each village had a different atmosphere and a different sound, in some you could hear the Jazz of rhythmic hand-looms for weaving silk or cotton.





 In another the subtle background of stirring the big batches of molasses to be preserved for a full year, and again the gentle bleating of so many goats and their babies.





In Matiari, a village along the Ganges, everywhere was the sharp and loud percussion sound of the tools banging on brass for vessels making and engraving.



 


In Varanasi the computerized  (sort of…) hammering for making patterns for superb textiles (I should write about the magnificent textures and colors, but maybe another time…)

And wherever I went, most pleasant of all the laughter of the children following us in the villages or screaming joyously “Tata” “Tata” “Tata” which means “Good-Bye” when  the boat was passing near a village.



Then again the screeching of golden monkeys on the Brahmaputra river, the gentle movement of the water during the Ganges cruise...



...the soft paddling of small boats crossing the river.




The clanging of bells, the chanting of Buddhist monks, the calling of a Muezzin, all sounds made me love India’s spirituality, Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist religions and others seem to coexist in peace.




Every religious site was different  




 I visited all kind: ancient terracotta Hindu temples, Muslim mosques, the under construction Krishna’s new gigantic one in Mayapur...





Micro-temples on the streets, small altars in homes...



Everywhere some divinity was celebrated with offers of food, candles, flowers.




At the end of my journey I loved every aspect of India, even the honking became familiar, and I will go back as soon as I can to hear again all the sounds and to know more of this enchanting, complicated, mysterious country.
Namaste.


All photographs © by Albarosa Simonetti. Do not use without permission.

©2016 Brillante Interiors writes about new trends, timeless decor, iconic pieces, design ideas, or at times just musing about "a certain Italian way of doing things".
If you receive this post by Email and wish to leave a comment please click HERE and go to the comments section.  We love your comments!


If you need help to enjoy your home more, please send us an emailIt will be an investment in happiness at home, because a well designed house is always a good part of a great life and a beautiful room will make you happy every time you walk in!
 
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