Thursday, May 27, 2010

Rubelli in Milan

Inside a courtyard in the “old money” district of Milan there is, in a XVIII century building, the Rubelli showroom, just the architectural details are worth a visit but when you enter you are also fascinated by the exquisite beauty of their textiles.

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The reception area with a magnificent Murano chandelier in the 1930’s style.

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An area is reserved for Donghia, now belonging to Rubelli, collection of furniture, accessories and textiles. All Donghia lamps are manufactured on the tiny island of Murano, in the Venetian lagoon by the best local artisans.

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This particular table was also displayed at the Furniture Fair 2010. I always loved the center pedestal for a dining table, instead of legs, which can create problems at times with the arrangements of chairs.

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Looking up you can be mesmerized by the affreschi on the ceiling.

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Looking down you can admire the beauty of the marble floor ,Venetian style.

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Even the windows lead to a beautiful view of a private garden.

Needless to say, as in Venice, I was enchanted not only by the extraordinary textiles but also by the appropriately stunning location.

Photography by Albarosa Simonetti

Monday, May 24, 2010

Rubelli in Venice

 Rubelli, founded in 1835, is famous around the world for extraordinary textiles and these are a few pictures I took when I recently visited their showroom in Venice.

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The magnificent view of the Canal Grande from the Rubelli building.

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Inside in the splendor of an old “palazzo veneziano” I could admire once again the original floor and the superb antique doors. For the first time I saw there the furniture line by Donghia, who was recently acquired, together with their textile, by Rubelli.

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A beautiful and comfortable sofa in the unique Donghia style.

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A display of amazing textile samples on the walls.

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Rubelli has a partnership with Armani Casa, producing their exclusive textiles. What a great contrast between the very ornate palazzo and the minimalist design of the Armani furniture.

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I admired the superb ceiling, carved and gilded wood.

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Another picture of one of the ancient doors.

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I could not resist to take another photograph from one of the balconies.

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In another room the new Donghia lamps and the old Murano big chandelier.

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A fireplace with a sculpture of a Doge. I was told that the Rubelli family tried to find the name of this important person, but without success, after much research they could not figure out who this Doge was.

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The meeting room for important clients, hope they are not distracted by the magnificent ceiling.

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Another curiosity: the two antique chairs were bought by the family in North America, they fell in love with the gold embroidered silk on the back, bought them and brought them back to Europe where probably they came from originally, I suppose.

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On a window some catalogues, with the ancient walls of the courtyard as a background.
In Milan Rubelli has another fantastic showroom with the most exquisite textiles, but more on this in
a new post.

Photography by Albarosa Simonetti

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I love books

An exquisite antique bookcase filled with art books and art at a friend’s house.

I love books …from a passionate bibliophile who thinks that a house without books and only a huge TV screen is really scaring a few ideas to use or re-use old books we don’t have the courage, I confess I would not…, to throw away.

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They could become a piece of furniture by themselves like in the image above and the tables below as seen at Milan Furniture fair.

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A bookcase filled with culture.

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Or a table created with lacquered books, impossible to read but evocative of knowledge.

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A room and a bookcase I particularly like and part of a future post.


A bookcase designed by Vico Magistretti for his own studio in his Milanese house.


And now I want to share two short horror stories:
Once I had a client asking for a “few feet of books” to fill the new bookcase, I almost fainted.
Another time I met a lady whose business was to fill the video library of wealthy people with Home theatre…I fainted!
Please give me your thoughts on this subject, I am really curious to know how you and your clients relate to books, any interesting or simply funny stories?

Photography by Albarosa Simonetti; last two pictures source unknown.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Bathroom or spa?

The title refers to the term Spa or "salus per aquae" which comes from Latin, meaning "achieving health through water" and indeed taking a bath or a shower at the right temperature, with the right pressure creates a sense of relaxation or can be invigorating.
Ancient Romans were famous for their Terme, with "calidarium" for hot baths, "frigidarium" for cold water, "tepidarium" for a pleasant warmth. Massage, essential oils, all kind of treatments... were used to achieve the most pleasing experience, and I leave it to your imagination...

From Wikipedia: "The baths were an important place in the lives of Romans. Built as public monuments, they were used by everyone, whether rich or poor, free or slave. A person could eat, exercise, read, drink, shop, socialize, and discuss politics. The modern equivalent would be a combination of a library, art gallery, mall, bar/restaurant, gym, and spa.
When asked by a foreigner why he bathed once a day, a Roman emperor is said to have replied "Because I do not have the time to bathe twice a day."

This year the Furniture fair in Milan had also “Bathrooms” as a special feature, and "Eurocucina" for kitchens (more on this later). There were so many great ideas to make a bathroom not just that but an area of relaxation filled with beauty and comfort it was difficult to select products but some of the most impressive were certainly the following:

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This is a magnificent tub, by Neutra. Water, wellness, stone is their mantra and they talk on their website of the purity of water, the energy of stones, and the warmth of wood.

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This tub also by Neutra really caught my eyes and I could not believe the beauty of its shape, the feeling when my hands were caressing it and the strong impact of nature in this bathroom.

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The wood comes from new Zealand and I was told it is million years old. In this case, to appreciate its natural beauty it was not treated but in a real bathroom it would be, to avoid problems with humidity and water marks.

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Another beautiful sink by Neutra to go along with the magnificent tub.

Other interesting ideas for bathrooms in the huge display:

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Ceramica Cielo. I had to stop to take a picture of this absolutely charming and daring ensemble of
toilet and bidet, with the most extravagant pattern. It made me smile.

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Okite by Karim Rashid. Over the top for my taste but certainly luxurious look .

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By Milldue a very elegant and simple tub and sink, please go to their website to appreciate more of
their products.

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Clean lines for Zucchetti.

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What a great day it will start with such a treatment and how relaxing to have a shower here, after a full day of work, returning home.

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A more traditional look with a free standing tub.

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To end the post, here you could see a fun way to create a modern bathroom returning to its origins…to a time not so long ago in our part of the world when people were filling containers, mostly made of zinc, with water and barely splashing their face or part of their bodies.

I don’t want to spoil the beauty of the above images ….but a reminder is due…water is still a major luxury for most of our planet, let’s not waste it.

Photography by Albarosa Simonetti

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Made in Canada

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From Vancouver to Milan, Canadian designer Omer Arbel signs a collections of lights for Bocci, specialized in contemporary design.
During the Design week we were glad to be able to see the beautiful installation at Spazio Rossana Orlandi, even if dimensions are substantial they are made of delicately beautiful sphere, with clever attention to new technology, in fact the 28 Series will be available in halogen and LED.

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Another Canadian in Milan:
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Samarè is a group of Canadian designers with a base in Milan, where Nicolas Bellavance-Lecompte (who I met after taking the picture below) lives.   They want to keep alive the traditions of Quebec, and the name Samarè comes from the fruit of the maple tree, symbol of Canada, name used like a metaphor for a seed creating new fruits.

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Stone, wood, fur are the materials that created the whole country and they are still the leit-motif of this new series of objects. “Pays d’en haut” is the expression for areas of deforestation and areas for fur trade. Their legacy as you can see is cultural and local and Samarè gives us atmosphere and memories of the past with an eye to the future. Basic objects, clean and simple, comfortable and useful, all hand made in Canada with a high level of artisanal skills..

And finally…

Dean and Dan Caten (born Dean and Dan Catenacci) are identical twin brothers (the youngest of 9 children) fashion designers and the creators of Dsquared2, a high-end fashion label with a base in Milan where they moved in 1991 working first for Gianni Versace and then for Diesel.

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A touch of Canada in Milan.

Photography by Albarosa Simonetti, Dean&Dan photographer unknown
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