The contribution of either contemporary and luxury Italian design brands has left an incredible mark in the world of design and has established the country as a major exporter of modern-day classics. It’s time to meet the best Italian design brands before iSaloni 2018 knocks on our door.
Working with a raw material as beautiful and multifaceted as natural horn shouldn’t be difficult but very few brands transform its raw beauty into something which highlights its intriguing character. ARCAHORN is not one of those brands. As one of the greatest proponents of the natural finish, its catalogue applies horn, teamed with flawless exotic woods and supple leather, to everything from coffee tables to photo frames in the most refined way.
With an almost 80-year history in furniture making and a predecessor company which had the backing of illustrious designers such as Aulenti and Magistretti, Casamilano enjoys a design sensibility well beyond its years. The well-informed, family-run company debuted at the Milan Furniture Fair in April 1988 focusing on producing furniture designs of the highest quality which, equally, respect the environment. Its made-in-Italy pieces are characterised by curving lines which mimic the lines of the body and unadorned finishes which allow the integrity of the material speak for itself.
Exquisite, channel-tufted sofas, sculptural metallic table lamps and dining tables delicately trimmed with decorative glass panels – not bad for a brand which started as life as a small pottery workshop. Marioni has come a long way in the last 5 decades (it was founded in 1966) and, whilst its brand name might not be as well known as the designer style it evokes, its pieces are no less impressive. Its Maximalist tendencies (just look to its brilliantly named Notorious collection) showcase a confidence in its abilities as well as an appreciation of the Modernism movement which its country contributed to greatly.
Sahrai Milano’s story hails from 1830s Teheran before winding its way along an exotic trail by way of Istanbul, St Petersburg, Cannes and, finally, Milan. Understandably, its creations are as rich as its story. Mastering designs which run the gamut from Swarovski crystal-encrusted silken plains to artistic textural designs and statement graphic designs, the brand delights traditionalists, modernists and everyone in between. It’s also proven itself as a destination for collaborations with exciting artists, architects and designers (including illustrious fashion house Gianfranco Ferre), earning its status as one of the industry’s most exciting rug designers.
The modern offshoot of Angelo Cappenlini, purveyor of French-inspired furniture (think Louis and Regency styles), Opera Contemporary enjoys all the history of its predecessor’s Brianza heritage (which extends to the 1880s) but with a renewed aesthetic for the modern age. Its collection exchanges intricate rococo lines for clean, angular ones and rich damasks for luxurious plain velvets – interpreting historical design in a unique way. A button-back sofa, for example, features a dramatic undulating back and a roll-back bed is updated with sabot-ended tapered legs and a simple split quilted headboard.
Having produced typically decorative Italian designs in the past, Selva’s recent Phillip Selva collections (the brand’s contemporary branch) have thankfully introduced a modern sensibility. Resulting in clean-lined designs to suit a design-savvy clientele, the oeuvre retains the penchant for quality detailing acquired through the brand’s years of developing heritage furniture. Its bestselling pieces include the Vendome armchairs, Piccadilly occasional tables, Peggy chair and most anything from the Downtown collection.
To not know Terzani’s Atlantis chandelier is to have been living under a rock for the past decade. The design takes pride of place in restaurants, fashion boutiques, hotels and luxury residential projects around the globe. The remarkable creation is made up of nearly three miles of delicate chain, each hand-placed like the drape of a couture fashion gown by Italian craftsmen. This singular piece epitomises the lighting brand’s ethos – traditional craftsmanship which lends itself to a modern arena.