24 January 2017
Painter, engraver, printer, interior decorator and collector, Piero Fornasetti was one of the creative geniuses of the Italian 20th century. He described himself as “a Renaissance man, belonging to no time and no style,” but ended up creating an unmistakable style that is familiar all over the world today, made up of recurrent elements like hands, playing cards and above all endless variations on the face of Lina Cavalieri (opera singer, diva and admirer of the Belle Époque). He was the author of over 13,000 decorations, which first made their appearance on silk scarves and then on furniture and other objects, before being used to cover entire walls of homes and ships. After his death, in 1988, his son Barnaba took up and renewed his legacy, resulting in an immense range of products for which the space of the store on Corso Matteotti in Milan was starting to grow cramped. So when he heard that the house in which Marinetti used to live, 500 square meters on the corner of Corso Venezia and Via Senato, was becoming available, Barnaba took it as a sign: the moment had come to move. The new store has seven windows on the street and is subdivided into rooms, each characterized by a color and a theme: there are spaces dominated by green, petrol blue, red and midnight blue, swarming with decorations of clouds, stripes, dots, malachite and leaves. The building’s three levels propose a succession of surprising settings, rich in detail, with pieces representative of the classical repertoire presented alongside new ones, reinvented in full respect of Piero’s painstaking approach to craft production: the techniques are the ones used for his early works, the color is applied utilizing the paper models he devised and the furniture and porcelain are brought out in limited annual editions. Those with nostalgia for the past will appreciate the room devoted to vintage objects, as well as the opportunity to admire the artist’s original drawings, on display for the first time. Lovers of the custom-made will have a dedicated team at their disposal, able to produce completely new articles or design an entire customized setting, as has been done for the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Milan with the Fornasetti suite, showpiece of the hotel together with the one devoted to Gio Ponti, Piero’s artistic partner.