You’re invited to an exclusive feast of Fornasetti including a wonderland of interiors dedicated to the beauty, humor, and elegance of this Italian design and style icon. Fornasetti‘s eclectic world evokes sophistication, intrigue, and adventure through furniture, objects, and artwork that never fail to entertain the mind alongside other senses. There’s an abundance of creativity fluttering around this post, so prepare to be inspired!
This article is for design-centric, interiors-obsessed readers.
Elisabetta has already waxed poetic on the wit and imagination of Fornasetti, mentioning his whimsical character, influence in Italian design, and fascinatingly interactive, sensory experience that is the Fornasetti website. Whether you’re a devoted Fornasetti collector, occasional admirer, or complete novice, let’s dive into the world where fantasy meets reality, or at least nods in the general direction. But first, let’s make introductions.
Meet Piero Fornasetti, an artist, a rebel, a legend
Piero Fornasetti (1913-1988) was born, lived, worked, and died in Milan, where both his home and workshop remain. As an artist and designer, he channeled his curiosity and challenged his creativity to produce objects embodying his vision. He was friends with Pablo Neruda, worked closely with Gio Ponti, admired artists such as Savinio, Chirico, Magnelli, was inspired by his travels and includes themes of history, design, literature, surrealism, and Italian tradition in his works. Postwar he gained international recognition for his unique style, laced with logic and humor.
Meet Barnaba Fornasetti, who carries on the legacy
The only child of Piero and Giulia, Barnaba Fornasetti grew up surrounded by imagination and creativity. As a child he had his own creative streak, once giving his father a daisy on a hydrangea leaf, which later showed up as theme in Piero’s work. Today, he still lives in Casa Fornasetti, a treasure trove and archive preserving his family legacy in Milano’s Citta Studi. He pursues many creative avenues himself from art to opera and holds the Fornasetti torch and continues to expand the brand as art director of Fornasetti.
Meet Lina… bella from La Belle Époque
Silkscreen print by Piero Fornasetti / Tema e Variazioni plates by Piero Fornasetti
A cube, a mask, a stamp…. Her face has taken many shapes and graced many surfaces from trays to obelisks, vases, and plates. Lina Cavalieri (1874-1944) was an Italian operatic soprano and actress, most memorably the mysterious muse of Piero. He stumbled upon her face in a magazine and was inspired for years to come. They never met in person, but his work was forever changed by her beauty and he continued to capture her in many details, situations, and states of emotion.
Fornasetti Style / Interiors, Objects, & Decor
There’s something both insatiable and satisfying about Fornasetti décor. The patterns, objects, and details amuse and consume you in a dreamlike world. While his work spans such a variety, there’s a common thread of merriment – you really cannot be sad when surrounded by Fornasetti art and décor. His works has easily translated over time and can suit many different style aesthetics.
1/ Whimsical Wallpaper
The collaboration with Cole&Son, a historic wallpaper company that has dressed the walls of Buckingham Palace and the House of Parliament, makes it possible to curate your home with Fornasetti designs up to the ceiling and down to the smallest detail
2/ Sun to Moon and everything in between
Nature was a regular theme for Fornasetti. He showcased the sun, moon, and stars as well as curious hands, emotive faces, colorful insects, wise animals, and precious stones on canvas, furniture, and even vehicles with a touch of artistry and architectural mastery.
Nottambule by Piero Fornasetti for Cole&Son
3/ An exploration through maps and masks
Piero’s travels greatly inspired the vision that he used to create art, interiors, and design. The idea of exploration was of interest to him, seen through the numerous maps, globes, and hot air balloons that appeared in his work.
Macchine Volanti by Fornasetti for Cole&Son
Plate no. 119 from Tema e Variazioni
If you’re hungry for more, have no fear! There’s a regular stream of museum exhibitions from Rome, Paris, to Seoul. And if all else fails, head to Milan! The three-level Fornasetti store and atelier is a staple for travelers and Milan Design Week visitors. Each room has a different theme featuring bespoke pieces and collections.
Citazioni Pratiche at Palazzo Altemps
P.S. There’s also a Fornasetti suite inside Milan’s Mandarin Oriental curated as a tribute to the creative genius, assuring guests an exclusive experience. Have you been?