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ITALIAN DESIGN | 10 Chic Coffee table Books on Italian Design

10 Books on Italian design for your home or as a special gift idea for this Christmas

As an ITALIANBARK reader, chances are you already know a bit about design and architecture. If you’d like to learn more about Italian Design specifically, why not invest in home decor while you’re at it, too?! Read your way through Italian Design with one (or all ten!) of these books. Christmas is also right around the corner, so don’t forget to include an Italian Design coffee table book on your wishlist or a “treat yourself” shopping spree!

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These books will not only share the vast world of Italian Design with you, but serve as beautiful decoration for your living room or library. You’ll cherish their chic covers and elegant content for years to come. There’s so many to choose from, but here’s a good place to start.

1/ Domus: A Journey Into Italy’s Most Creative Interiors by Oberto Gili and text by Marella Caracciolo Chia

Travel around Italy and visit the homes of tastemakers, from artists, interior designers, and collectors, to aristocrats. The residential properties vary as much in style as location, from Tuscan retreats to seaside villas. Your exclusive glimpse will be guided by Italian photographer Oberto Gili, who will take you into Italian homes of international creatives such as Carlo Mollino, Stephan Janson, Mario Praz, Sandria Chia, and Alessandro Twombly. This spectacular collection of Italian interiors is stylish and elegant.


Rizzoli / © Oberto Gili, courtesy of Rizzoli / Rizzoli
Published by Rizzoli



2/ Fornasetti: The Complete Universe

Introduction by Andrea Branzi, text by Mariuccia Casadio, edited by Barnaba Fornasetti

Fornasetti fans, look no further. This delightful volume celebrates the fascinating design mind of Piero Fornasetti (1913-1988) with 2,800 illustrations of his art and design. Discover the paintings, sculptures, furniture, textiles, graphics, screens, and ceramics from the comfort of your home with this hefty book. This is a must for collectors or Italian Design enthusiasts.

Rizzoli / Homes and Antiques

Published by Rizzoli



3/ Tema e Variazioni: The First Series 1-100

Another Fornasetti option is Tema e Variazioni, an artist’s book with the first 100 illustration from the Tema e Variazioni series by Piero Fornasetti. This is another book for collectors, who will delight in Barnaba Fornasetti’s signature inside each book, the fine fabric cover, as well as text by Gio Ponti.

2luxury2 x2 / POMO

Published by Fornasetti


4/ Entryways of Milan by Karl Kolbitz and contributing writers

This is one of the most specific and unique books on this list. It features 144 entryways in Milan designed by Gio Ponti, Piero Portaluppi and many more from 1920-1970. This book acts as a city guide to historic architecture. It also serves as documentation of everyday design, often overlooked. Get a glimpse into the book if you live outside of the Italian design capital. If you’re in Milan, use our Milan Design Guide to plan your visit! You can also tag any entryways you see on the way @entryways_portraits.

Published by and available on Taschen



5/ The Italian Kitchen: Beauty and Design, edited by Cristina Morozzi

If the kitchen is your favorite room in the house, then this illustrated book might be perfect for you. Appreciation for Italian kitchen design may not be as universal as Italian cuisine, but one certainly comes first. Learn more about Italian kitchen designs and manufacturers such as Dada, Scavolini, Veneta Cucine, Snaidero, and Aran World. There are also plenty of ITALIANBARK articles following Italian Kitchen Design trends: Trend Research, Future Kitchen Design Trends, Italian style kitchen


Published by Rizzoli



6/ Villa Balbiano: Italian Opulence on Lake Como by Ruben Modigliani with photography by Bruno Ehrs

Here’s another coffee table book that will satisfy your wanderlust, and maybe even trigger you to buy a plane ticket. Villa Balbiano is a 16th century architectural masterpiece located in Ossuccio on Lake Como. The historic Italian villa hosts world-class paintings, such as 17th century frescoes by the Recchi Brothers as well as Agostino Silva. Antique furnishings keep the original feel present in the interiors, though the property was recently renovated by French Designer Jacques Garcia. Today Villa Balbiano serves as an events venue and luxury boutique hotel and remains one of the largest properties on Lake Como.

Villa Guru

Published by Flammarion



7/ Cassina as Seen by Karl: Photos by Karl Lagerfeld

‘I had never worked on this kind of project,’ he says. ‘To visually reinterpret examples of perfect design is completely new for me, and therefore stimulating, exciting even.’ -Karl Lagerfeld

Two powerhouses of fashion and design collided a few years back on a unique and artistic venture. We’ve seen Cassina at Milan Design Week, but this book sheds a new light on the brand. Cassina as Seen by Karl features the Italian furniture manufacturer through the eyes of fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld. This stylish photographic project showcases the iconic Cassina furniture by Le Corbusier, Rietveld, Perriand, and more. The book presents 21 photographs that forge a new aesthetic path for the chairs and tables made by Cassina. Furniture pieces highlighted  include Gio Ponti’s 699 Superleggera, Lebeau by Patrick Jouin, and Franco Albini’s Tre Pezzi armchairs.


699 Superleggera by Gio Ponti, Zig Zag Chairs by Gerrit Thomas Rietveld, and Tre Pezzi wool armchairs by Franco Albini. Photos by Karl Lagerfeld for Cassina

Published by and available through Steidl



8/ Sottsass by Philippe Thomé

This monograph a complete account of the legendary life and work of Ettore Sottsass. His long career, including his time in the Memphis movement, continues to influence artists, designers, architects, and other creatives. This book has beautiful archival photos, architectural projects, jewelry and product design, as well as drawings and sketches from his personal sketchbooks. This is a very cool book and if you don’t take my word for it, you can always trust Donatella Versace.

“I love everything about Sottsass’s work – it’s modern, optimistic, humorous, functional, and intelligent. The designs in this book make me feel proud to be Italian.” —Donatella Versace


Published by Phaidon



9/ Object to Project: Giorgetti’s Design since 1898

Curated by Francesca Molteni and Cristina Colli

Giorgetti has been a prominent Made in Italy furniture brand since 1898. This bilingual book Object to Project celebrates the 120th anniversary of Giorgetti making and manufacturing Italian furniture. This is a great book for anyone wanting to learn more about the process behind the Giorgetti brand. Any brand that can manage to stay relevant with the constant changes in the market and consumer preferences deserves recognition.

Published by and available on Mondadori Electa


10/ Masseria: The Italian Farmhouses of Puglia by Diane Lewis with photography by Mark Roskams

Italian architecture and style changes depending on the geography and climate of each region. Explore a rustic Italy with the masserias of Puglia. These particular farmhouses are open to guests, serving as a sort of bed and breakfast in Puglia. Check it out if you liked Elisabetta’s Italian interiors feature of this designer’s home in Puglia.


Published by Rizzoli

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What coffee table books do you reach for when you need inspiration? Stay tuned for more on Italian Design!