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".
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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!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Cabana and Dedar, not to mention 1stdibs…

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I have published posts on Cabana magazine (click HERE) and on Dedar textiles (click HERE). Now what more interesting than a collaboration between the two!
From an interview of Martina Mondadori : “The design was originally a screen that my parents found in a flea market in California in the Seventies during their honeymoon,” said Mondadori Sartogo. “They brought it back to Milan, and when they were decorating their house with Lorenzo Mongiardino, they showed it to him and he said it was fabulous, but he was going to turn it into two beautiful cupboards. So the story is that Mongiardino turned it into a cupboard, and we’re turning it into wallpaper.”
Cabana Wallpaper by Dedar 2
“Dedar and international interiors magazine Cabana are delighted to announce their collaboration on a limited edition capsule collection.
The union between Dedar’s world of fine fabrics and wall coverings and Cabana’s creative flair has led to the Cabana Wallpaper, inspired by the work of Italian architect Renzo Mongiardino.
On sale exclusively from 1stdibds.com, the world’s online marketplace for rare and desirable objects, and available in Dedar showrooms in Milan, Paris and London.”

Pouf with luxurious Splendido velvet by Dedar.
cabana-05115-01
La bella Martina Mondadori Sartogo at the launch in London of the collaboration between the two brands (Image by Antonio Salgado).
©2015 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!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Dark moments

 

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There is light and hope outside the darkness…

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And LOVE will overcome hatred

All photographs by Albarosa Simonetti taken in Paris a few years ago at Jardin du Palais Royal and Rue des Rosiers in the Marais.

 

©2015 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, October 30, 2015

Martin and Martin


10-30-15 2-37-00 PM
Thanks to my friend Peppa Martin, a great Vancouver photographer and owner of Truth and Beauty photography gallery, who persuaded me to add Instagram to my already long list of Social media, I have become a big fan of it, I learn, I am inspired, I find new sites and people so it all adds depth to my business.
The funny thing is that she (Martin n.1) also persuaded me (and it did not take long…) to look into JJ Martin (Martin n.2) Instagram account.
For some time now I am following (or should I say virtually stalking?) this brilliant lady who lives in Milan, and next time I’ll be in my first city I hope I’ll be invited to see her beautiful place in person (right J.J.?).
 JJ Martin is a California-born, Milan-based writer and editor who regularly contributes to Wallpaper and WSJ Magazine, among others. She is also a fashionista not to mention that her style in interior decoration is absolutely what I often try to achieve for myself and my clients (when I am lucky to find daring ones…).
Here are a few inspiring ideas from her apartment in Milan taken from some of my favorite publications: Elle Decor and The Selby (…is in her place).
I continue to make tweaks, rearranging furniture and adding new chairs as my whims change. And although we all love neat, happy endings, my husband and I are currently engaged in a full terrace renovation to repair a leaking floor, among other homeowner snafus. The familiar Italian-style chaos of no timetables, insecure budgets, canceled meetings, and no note-taking is with us once again. But this time, I plan to fully flirt my way through the entire project. 

The terrace, planted with jasmine and rosemary, offers a view of the 16th-century Chiesa di San Barnaba e Paolo and the 1950s Torre Velasca; Martin found the chairs at a local junkyard.

PUBLISHED IN ELLE DECOR ITALIA AND ELLE DECORATION CHINA.
The Torre Velasca at a distance and a church nearby create a magical landscape, not common at all in Milan and having a terrace is like finding a treasure. I have to say that the deep red on the chairs and black cushions are just brilliant against the lush lavender and jasmin!
My search for a dream home began back in 2005 and lasted a maddening two years, during which I walked into 93 ho-hum properties shown to me by no fewer than 32 different Realtors. Deflated by the sluggish inefficiency and lack of fabulousness, I agreed to see an apartment on the top floor of a 1950s building, even though it was billed as rent-only. But it boasted incredible light and wraparound terraces, and my husband, finally engaged by a property worth fighting for, sat the owners down and convinced them to sell to us.A pair of 1930s armchairs flanks a 1940s floor lamp in the living room; the sofa is by Minotti, a 1970s mirror hangs above the original stone fireplace, the cabinets are custom made, and the oak floor is stained black.
A fireplace in a Milanese apartment? Double treasure!
The tone of that yellow on chairs and vases is just perfetto and look at the ashtrays with the double J…in fact it is not just a reference to her initials because she has also an online site called La DoubleJ with vintage clothing and jewels for sale.

Brutalist light sculpture and ottoman by Il Valore Aggiunto, Milan.
I may not have hired an interior designer, but I found plenty of advice from every furniture dealer in town. Often they told me I was nuts, but sometimes I got an astonished look of approval—such as for a set of rusted iron armchairs I fished out of the city's junkyard. I brought them to an auto-body shop, where the perplexed mechanics promptly told me that they definitely could not paint them the same red as my vintage Fiat Cinquecento. But they did.

A 1970s Italian walnut desk from Flair Milano, a 1940s French chair, and a 1950s Italian sconce in the home office.
The 1970s desk, a 1950s wall mounted light and the baroque mirror are a winning combination. The wall itself is a stunning background.

Against the deep blue lacquered wall here is a grasta (in Sicilian language), called Teste di Moro, a jar in the shape of a head telling a legend from centuries ago when, around 1100 AD, Sicily was ruled by the Moors. The story was also masterfully described two centuries later in a novel of Boccaccio’s Decameron.
When I was in Sicily last year I was so tempted to buy one of those gorgeous Teste di Moro which can be seen in the female version as above or in the Moor male version (smaller, bigger, different ornaments, various colors…) in so many towns around the island, on flowered balconies.

I wish I knew more about this sculptural table and I love its base’s round shape, same as the lights and the bowl.
Doesn’t she look like an angel?

A collection of vintage Murano ashtrays convinced me to add more to my own very small one.
Inspiration everywhere…Thanks Martin and Martin !
©2015 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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