“For me, to be happy is about pleasing only my heart and not worrying about what others think”
‹‹ Many of her contemporary pieces are by artists she supports at the art gallery, One Piece Art, which she has run on nearby Via Margutta since 2002. A sideshow-alley-style piece by Hélène Launois, a Paris artist working in plastics and lighting, unexpectedly lights up one corner of the room, jostling alongside one of Italian-American artist Nicola Verlato’s photo-realistic paintings and an unusual lamp in the shape of an eyeball by Marco Consolino. “It’s a space where it’s possible to put anything and everything,” says Orsini. The designer comes to this compact one-bedroom, one-bathroom bolthole — with its sweeping views of the city that take in the Villa Medici and the magnificent Altare della Patria — to be on her own, “to write, to think, to dream”. She moved in eight years ago, for an escape from the home she shares with her husband in another part of Rome. “Here, this is my theatre,” Orsini explains. “For most of my life, I have thought only of my husband and son; now it is time to sometimes think only for me.” She’s drawn to old things that resonate emotionally with anima mia, she wildly gesticulates; “with my soul!” The beauty of a piece lies in its imperfections. “I love the patina of things that have been made and touched by hand,” she says of her many brocante (flea market) pieces. “However, a mix is always important.” Orsini points to an original Carlo Bugatti desk from the late 19th century intricately carved in darkened walnut, then to a 16th-century saint’s head dressed with an old hat from the Moulin Rouge. Beside it sits a diamanté toilet by Nicola Bolla. “Oh, and here is my fiancé,” she says with a laugh, caressing Paolo Maione’s Papa, a ceramic sculpture of a donkey as the Pope. “For me, to be happy — if it is possible to be happy — it is about pleasing only my heart and not worrying about what others think. If I stay well within myself, everything else stays well,” she says, beaming. “Maybe I’m a little pazzo, crazy,” Orsini hoots. “Okay, so maybe not ‘mad’ crazy, but it’s definitely interesting and irreverent. I like to turn something traditional on its head. It’s necessary to play, and I don’t believe you have to spend a lot of money either. The antique, the modern and me — we live well together!”
this page: in the KITCHEN, cupboard panels made from striped Moroccan cloth and wire mesh; various artworks unknown. opposite page: on the MEZZANINE, 1870 French-Egyptian revival-style sofa; photograph of horse installation — Novecento by Maurizio Cattelan — taken by Massimo Listri; photograph by Pino Settanni.