Vis­ual magic

AN ITAL­IAN DE­SIGN LU­MI­NARY LEADS THE WAY IN CON­TEM­PO­RARY STYLE

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Living - By Neale Whi­taker Neale Whi­taker is editor-in-chief of

Brows­ing the Mo­roso web­site (mo­roso.it) is the de­sign equiv­a­lent of choos­ing from the most ex­quis­ite choco­late box imag­in­able. It’s no won­der the Ital­ian fur­ni­ture brand’s show­room is con­sis­tently the hot ticket at Mi­lan De­sign Week. Quite sim­ply, if you haven’t checked out Mo­roso, you haven’t been to Mi­lan.

If you’re not fa­mil­iar with the name, I guar­an­tee you will recog­nise many of the de­signs – not to men­tion its le­gion of im­i­ta­tors. Mo­roso has pro­duced some of the most iconic chairs of re­cent years – such as de­sign leg­end Pa­tri­cia Urquiola’s Smock (as seen in the lobby of Mel­bourne’s Crown Metropol) and su­per-sexy leather Fjord; Su­per­nat­u­ral (the cute lit­tle alien by Bri­tish de­signer Ross Love­grove is one of the most-copied cafe chairs); and Tord Boon­tje’s psy­che­delic and curvy Shad­owy.

Head­ing to Aus­tralia this week, Mo­roso’s art di­rec­tor, Pa­trizia Mo­roso, is the daugh­ter of Agostino Mo­roso, who founded the com­pany in 1952. Of­ten de­scribed as “de­sign roy­alty”, Mo­roso counts Urquiola and fash­ion doyenne Mi­uc­cia Prada as her close friends, and is one of the vi­sion­ary women at the helm of con­tem­po­rary de­sign.

In­dus­try in­sid­ers say Mo­roso has an unerring in­stinct for not just read­ing the zeit­geist but creat­ing it. Her early em­brace of the hand­crafted and cross­cul­tural aes­thetic that has since gripped the de­sign world was prophetic. Aside from Urquiola, Mo­roso has cham­pi­oned de­sign celebu­tantes such as Dutch maestro Mar­cel Wan­ders, Ja­pan’s Nendo and Lon­don-based duo Doshi Le­vien.

At my first Mi­lan De­sign Week in 2007, I was mes­merised by an in­stal­la­tion – com­mis­sioned by Mo­roso – by Toku­jin Yosh­ioka, where thou­sands of waxed drink­ing straws cre­ated a dream-like cloud­scape. Vis­ual magic is the Mo­roso trade­mark.

Mo­roso loves the colours of Aus­tralia and the spir­i­tu­al­ity of our red cen­tre. “Aus­tralia i is a l lot aboutb red,” d” sheh says, re­veal­ing red and black as the dom­i­nant colour com­bi­na­tion at her home in Udine, where the com­pany is also based.

Mo­roso de­signs are avail­able lo­cally at Hub (hub­fur­ni­ture.com.au). Hub owner Jaci Foti-lowe calls it “a gutsy brand”.

“It’s ex­actly that ir­rev­er­ence for the ex­pected that I adore, and Pa­trizia Mo­roso is at the core of it,” she says. “Mo­roso sets the bar for years ahead.”

Vogue Liv­ing.

IN HAR­MONY (right and below left) In vary­ing shades and tex­tures, Mo­roso‘s Gen­try sofa by Pa­tri­cia Urquiola blends into any set­ting. ONE OF A KIND (below) Tord Boon­tje’s Shad­owy chair has an eye-catch­ing weave and shape; (below cen­tre) “de­sign roy­alty” Pa

1. by Louise Olsen and Stephen Or­mandy, $79.99, pen­guin.com.au 2. Stu­diokyss book­ends, $740, stu­diokyss.big­car­tel.com 3. Tom Dixon de­canter, $195,

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