Monday, November 29, 2010

Love at first sight...

Tilda Swinton for Pomellato

Have you seen the movie "I am love" by Luca Guadagnino with Tilda Swinton?
Well, then you need at least to read my post HERE about the gorgeous mansion in Milan where the drama takes place.
Then as of today another short by the same director and with the same actress, who is a testimonial for Milanese gorgeous Pomellato jewelry is online on their website, HERE.

Tilda Swinton for Pomellato "Colpo di fulmine"

The enigmatic Tilda Swinton is again the leading actress to promote the latest Pomellato collection. The title? "Colpo di fulmine" (which in Italian refers to falling instantly in love, as struck by lightning).
Swinton was also the testimonial of a previous collection of Pomellato jewelry called "Tango".

Tilda Swinton for Pomellato "Tango"

and also acting in another Luca Guadagnino's short to promote a collection called "M'ama, non m'ama" ( Love me, love me not).

Tilda Swinton for Pomellato "M'ama non m'ama"

Coûte que coûte blog has also a teaser trailer worth watching HERE.

The film for the "Colpo di fulmine" collection stars Swinton wandering through a sumptuous Roman villa, then experiencing a lightning moment of love at first sight. The dramatic film perfectly reflects the mood of  being struck by love. The movie’s setting and the lighting are quite different from Guadagnino's previous short “M’ama, non m’ama” which was instead infused with sunlight and pastel colors.
This new luxury gold jewelry collection is unexpected in many ways for the use for the first time of white gold with colored stones and a  sleek and contemporary design of gems including garnet, fire opal, blue topaz, peridot and amethyst, each carved in a unique irregular shape.
Colpo di fulmine by Pomellato

I fell in love with Pomellato jewels decades ago,
I fell in love with "I am love" movie this year,
I fell in love with "Colpo di fulmine" short today,

Would you fall in love too?

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

World's priciest home

 Mukesh Ambani's house
Today I am going far from Italy to another enchanting and fascinating country, India, where Sonia Gandhi, an Italian born politician (she was born near Vicenza but lived in Turin until she married Rajiv Gandhi, son of Indira)  is currently the President of the Indian National Congress Party and the leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party.

Sonia Gandhi

Having said that to justify this post in a blog mostly on Italian design (do I need to justify? well not really) I continue saying that I was struck by these news: Indian billionaire and one of the world's richest men, Mukesh Ambani, has hosted a lavish house-warming for his new 27-storey, (twenty seven...with 11 high speed elevators of course) residence, in Mumbai, believed to be the world's most expensive home, named Antilia and considered "the Taj Mahal of the 21st Century" and a "Versailles rival".
Mr. Ambani, his wife Nita and three children will be taken care by 600 members of staff.
Reports suggest the residence is worth more than 1 Billion dollars! But as the "proud" owners pointed out, this is their one and only residence, they insist they do not own villas secluded in exotic destinations around the world as many other billionaires have.
The ground floor and  five floors are the parking area that can accommodate as many as 160 cars and the Ambani family will occupy the top four floors of the mansion, below the three helipads of the mansion.
The skyscraper has a cinema seating 50, swimming pools, gardens, a temple.

The private residence has sparked controversy, with anti-poverty campaigners pointing to the contrast between the luxury of the house and the misery of those who live in Mumbai's slums. 

Shobhaa De

Shobhaa De an Indian writer and columnist, who was at the inaugural party said "It is already the most controversial building in the world, for reasons that go beyond its unconventional architecture (...)There is a lot of marble, there is a lot of mother of pearl. There are areas and gardens and lotus pools and absolutely beautiful Krishna temple. There is art, there's sculpture, there is a huge bar, there is a swimming pool," she said "and people should not grudge him his indulgences (...) he generates a great amount of employment for those very poor and contributes to the economy."
The house was designed according to Vaastu principles, an Indian tradition similar to Chinese feng shui. It is important to know that in India a home is considered a "human temple" not just a shelter to rest and eat. For centuries the Vaastu system of design, mainly used for shrines and temples, was based on 5 elements: earth, water, fire, air and space. When designing a building Vaastu doctrine says it is important to understand the relation between these five natural forces. The system combines all the five elements and balances them with the person and the material and lately has been applied increasingly to public and private buildings, like this incredible one.

The floor is now open for comments...

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Images from Internet various sources

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Brillante choice

Shamadan - Driade

Designed by Mann Singh for Driade, Shamadan is the name of this tree shaped candleholder, quite a sculpture with brass interwoven branches and leaves.  From Driade website "(...) perhaps Indian mythology has similar tales to the eternal and impossible love between Apollo and Daphne, frozen in the moment of vegetal transformation(...)"

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Kimberley Seldon at Salari Fine Carpets

Kimberley Seldon and Albarosa Simonetti

November and December are not the best months of the year, speaking of weather, it was already snowing in Vancouver a few days ago, quite unusual for this city, known for  the mildest climate in Canada, and today is freezing cold! but they are also months full of events for art, design, theatre, months when we entertain and socialize more. We can also indulge in tasting more wines and savoring more food because, you know, on the First of January we all go on a diet, right?
In just a week we had several parties in the city catering to designers and the latest was at Salari Fine Carpets, a family-run business, specializing in hand knotted carpets for over 35 years with a number of modern lines from leading manufacturers added later to their inventory. In attendance there was Kimberley Seldon,  an interior designer, author, journalist, keynote speaker and broadcast personality. She is also a contributing Decorating Editor at Style and Home magazine and principal of Kimberley Seldon Design Group.

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Kimberley Seldon 006
Sasan Salari, owner of Salari Fine Carpets, Yvonne Vanderkooy of Layers &  Layers and Kimberley Seldon.

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Kimberley Seldon speaking about her latest book: "Business of design" (click here if you like to buy the book). Note the beautiful and unusual flower arrangement on the table, one of the creations of  Zwada Home, an intimate design gallery featuring beautiful custom furnishings, florals and accessories.

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Kyo and Don of Zwada Home

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Interior designers and bloggers Michelle Morelan and Gaile Guevara with Robert Quinnell, co-owner with David Keeler of the beautiful store Provide, a highly edited interior and lifestyle store  in Vancouver.
I did not have a chance to take a picture of another friend, Maria Killam, but clicking on her name you can also read her post on the evening with Kimberley Seldon.
What else can I add...fantastic food catered by Quince, gorgeous flowers arrangement by Zwada Home, great conversation and a chance to meet new people and greet old friends, and now back to reading Kimberley Seldon's book!

Photography © by Albarosa Simonetti
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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Andrée Putman!

Meet Andrée Putman (Paris, 1925) the Grande dame of French design.

The first right answer came from the outstanding, poetic, unique blog Little Augury, where you can discover unusual people, facts, art, poems, romantic postcards and much more. 
Congratulations to all the many people who had the right answer, and you can find all the comments at the bottom of  the previous post (HERE), but next time I will find something more difficult! Thanks to all for participating in the game.

Putman, the tres elegant Parisienne and her trademark style are now the subject of a three-month retrospective opening this week at Paris city hall.
Almost everything  is black and white in Putman’s world. Known as the queen of the checkerboard,  she has put her monochrome signature on everything from  the Morgans Hotel in New York, with which she invented the boutique hotel concept to a skyscraper in Hong Kong, a luxury apartment-hotel complex, named after her. She designed everything for The Putman, from its art deco-style façade to its floor plans and furnishings. “I was amazed because, step by step, they gave me freedom, which is very scarce,” Putman says. “They gave me confidence, which is something else that’s scarce. And when they said, ‘Would you like it to bear your name?’ I said, ‘Let’s say yes.’ It’s a very delicate thing to do. I took it as an honour. I like daring ideas and that was one of them.”

The Morgans Hotel in New York

"She had no training, she just opened her eyes and looked around," said her daughter Olivia, who now runs the Putman design studio,  "When she went over to a friend's for dinner, she would offer to haul around the sofas, or drape a dishcloth over a lamp to soften the mood".

Olivia and Andrée Putman (

Putman truly came into her own after divorcing her husband, opening her own design firm, Écart, when she was 53 years old and soon great projects followed: stores for Guerlain and Yves Saint Laurent, movie sets for Greenway, revamping the interior of the Concorde airplane and much more.

Concorde aircraft interior

11-14-2010 4-07-01 PM
Desk for Bisazza
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A Putman's love seat for Poltrona Frau


Pianoforte designed for Pleyel
The lobby of The Morgans Hotel  in New York


Guerlain store, Paris
Andrée Putman
A lady with an imposing personality, tall, extremely elegant, full of talent....she was defined the Coco Chanel of Interior design.

Drawing by Hope Gangloff
Putman Style book
Andrée icon of class, talent and elegance!
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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Can you guess who she is?

Mystery lady

This is an unusual image for a lady known for her extremely elegant, rarefied style, which by the way shows even here, before (or after?) taking a bath in a sleek mosaic tiled bathroom and a vintage style tub. Her sunglasses? Fabulous! When not in a turban she shows an unusual haircut.
Flame red lipstick is also her trademark.
She was supposed to become a pianist but she ended up with a skyscraper named after her... enough said!
Now it is your turn to write but remember, comments will be published all together, and the first to guess the right name will only have the privilege to be named in the follow-up post.

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Monday, November 8, 2010

Fornasetti: the complete universe

Fornasetti "The complete universe"

I have met Piero Fornasetti a few times when visiting his eclectic store which many years ago was situated along via Brera, in Milan, or simply seeing him suddenly appear on his bike wandering around the narrow streets of the city center. He was quite a personality, a real talent, an artist, a designer, a decorator and many other definitions we could use, with a passion for everything eccentric, magical, surreal.

Piero Fornasetti

Finally his vast archive has been organized by his son Barnaba, who continues the family business and published in two volumes by Electa, now translated in English and published by Rizzoli with the title "Fornasetti: the complete universe".
700 pages and 3.000 images, a joy for Fornasetti fans like me.


The favorite shape used by Fornasetti for his decorated cups, a cylinder which so well shows the different patterns he created (at one point 40 different decorations, plus the solid colored ones )


On the left a chair designed by Gio' Ponti, produced by Cassina and decorated by Fornasetti with Farfalle motif, 1950. On the right a whimsical chair "Moro" again 1950's.
It is important to know that with Gio' Ponti, (one of the most important Italian architects, industrial designers, furniture designers, artists, and publishers of the twentieth century) Fornasetti realized many private and public projects, one designing, the other decorating... and a lifelong friendship developed between those two Milanese icons in the world of design.

From Fornasetti website (I am sure you'll enjoy browsing it, quite entertaining)
"Beloved for transforming everyday objects into works of art that featured his idiosyncratic designs, Piero Fornasetti (1913–1988) is recognized one of the world’s most inventive and creative minds. Now, in FORNASETTI: The Complete Universe (Rizzoli; November 2010), Barnaba Fornasetti—who continues to carry on the tradition of the Fornasetti atelier—celebrates his father’s legacy by offering readers a look inside the wonderous world that is Fornasetti".

Images from Fornasetti Archives
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Friday, November 5, 2010

Scent of Sicily

Ortigia at Zonda Nellis
Bath Salts

What a great surprise to find in Vancouver the very scent of Sicily (Sicilia), a magnificent island in the south of Italy, through the products of an Italian company called Ortigia.

ortigia-ambra nera 
Ortigia at Zonda Nellis
Ambra nera (black amber)

Ortigia at Zonda Nellis

ortigia-body lotions and hand creams
Ortigia at Zonda Nellis
Body lotion and hands cream

Ortigia at Zonda Nellis
Lime di Sicilia (Sicilian Lime) soaps

Corallo (Coral Shell) soap

ortigia-melograno and fico d'india
Ortigia at Zonda Nellis
Melograno e Fico d'India (Pomegranate and Indian fig)

ortigia-orange blossom
Ortigia at Zonda Nellis
Fiori d'arancio (Orange blossom)

All these products can be found in Vancouver exclusively at Tesoro, 2207 Granville street, next door to Zonda Nellis showroom filled with gorgeous silk, velvet, linen clothes and more .
"We are the only ones to carry it on the West Coast of Canada - so they make a perfect gift for someone who has everything - because I can guarantee that nobody in Vancouver will already have it!"
They have beautiful packaging and unusual scents, which are all unisex.
If you don't live in Vancouver you can buy the products online HERE
A great way to make someone smile!

Images courtesy of Ortigia


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Monday, November 1, 2010

I invite you to Milan

The Address magazine

Since I started blogging beautiful things happened to me, new clients who found me on Internet, new friends, real or virtual who I cherish and from whom I learn every day and...I was also asked by a few magazines to write articles for them.  Not bad for a person who has English as her second language; at times my friends make jokes on what I write and lately I was told that even my phrases' construction is inherited by my mother tongue, I guess at times I put words where they should not be, no matter how carefully I edit.
But Hey! HERE is my first article and a second one for a Vancouver magazine will come soon.

        Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Milan

THE ADDRESS is an exclusive online luxury property and lifestyle magazine, a division of W International,based in London UK, designed for an international audience. One of their regular features is an Insiders' Guide where invited contributors are giving their best tips to visitors to the destinations. No one can buy advertising space in the magazine, there is actually no advertising at all, inclusion is by invitation-only, so I was even more thrilled when they asked me to write as an Insider about any city in the world and...guess which city I chose?  Naturally having traveled extensively I could write articles on many more cities, not to mention Vancouver and who knows what the future will bring?
Now please go to the magazine, online, enjoy the beautiful images on each page, find my article on pages 106-113 and please leave lots of comments to give me some encouragement for my new career as a journalist. Just kidding!

For layout reasons, only one of my pictures was chosen and the story behind it will be part of another post on this beautiful and extravagant shoes store in Milan,
but I am glad they have chosen other superb images to represent my first city.

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Guido Pasquali, Milan

You can read online the whole THE ADDRESS magazine which is so full of style, beauty, luxury and... you can subscribe for free.

So many gorgeous houses around the world, so many extraordinary cities.
Let's dream on!

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