Live-in ex­hi­bi­tions

What hap­pens when you give a de­sign in­sider a do­mes­tic space to dec­o­rate? You get the ul­ti­mate show flat! We asked the creators of these three apart­ments to share how they made high drama homely

ELLE Decoration (UK) - - Front Page - Words NELL CARD

Look in­side three homes dec­o­rated by de­sign in­sid­ers


In April this year, the gallery owner opened her first pub­lic in­te­rior project, ‘Up in the Sky’, in the pent­house of City Life Res­i­dences in Mi­lan, an ur­ban com­plex de­signed by Daniel Libe­skind. The two­s­torey ‘sky villa’ (above) has a unique ge­om­e­try, and Orlandi has filled the an­gu­lar space with cut­ting-edge de­signs from her epony­mous show­room and gallery, all re­flect­ing her sig­na­ture eclec­ti­cism and pas­sion for con­tem­po­rary art (rossanaor­

How does a gallerist’s eye help when it comes to dec­o­rat­ing a home?

When I buy for my gallery, I buy what I like – what­ever moves me. In con­trast, if I am work­ing within a do­mes­tic res­i­dence I have to make sure that there is a di­a­logue be­tween the space, the peo­ple who live in it, and the fur­ni­ture or art on dis­play. In a home, it’s very im­por­tant that ev­ery­thing has a func­tion, and that ev­ery ob­ject is po­si­tioned where it will give the own­ers the most plea­sure. In the re­cep­tion room here, for ex­am­ple, a sculp­ture by Span­ish de­signer Na­cho Car­bonell is po­si­tioned op­po­site a mir­ror so that you can see it from both ends of the room.

What is your favourite piece in this space?

The cloud- cov­ered sofa by Nigel Coates for For­nasetti. It was the first piece I chose. I find that once you choose your first piece, ev­ery­thing be­comes eas­ier: you can start to build your story.

How do you make a space filled with gallery pieces or de­sign art look homely?

I tell my cus­tomers not to be fright­ened of put­ting dif­fer­ent pieces to­gether. Don’t rigidly fol­low one di­rec­tion. If you want your home to be real it should re­flect your mem­o­ries, your fam­ily and your trav­els.

Do you have any tips for us­ing gallery pieces in real homes?

Firstly, fol­low your in­stincts and be brave. If you love some­thing, go for it. Sec­ond, ex­per­i­ment with how you ar­range your ob­jects. In this apart­ment, I have put two com­pletely dif­fer­ent so­fas di­rectly op­po­site one an­other: ‘Sofa Raw’ by Mat­teo Casalegno, which is an­gu­lar and mas­cu­line, and an­other by Pa­tri­cia Urquiola for Moroso, which is fem­i­nine, round and soft (above). Cre­ate com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween ob­jects: it builds a sense of har­mony and pur­pose.

What would you say to some­one who wanted to buy a gallery piece, but was wor­ried it might be too frag­ile or im­prac­ti­cal?

The same thing: be brave. I have sold ex­tremely del­i­cate pieces to clients be­fore. For ex­am­ple, one bought a pair of fab­u­lous glass bowls that were 50 cen­time­tres in di­am­e­ter. They were in­cred­i­bly ner­vous of their fragility, but they were con­vinced they had to have

them. I wasn’t go­ing to stop them!

How does what you have in your own home com­pare to this apart­ment?

It’s to­tally dif­fer­ent. I live with my hus­band, so I have to re­spect his tastes. We have pieces that we’ve col­lected from our trav­els – an eclec­tic mix of things – and lots of grand­chil­dren run­ning around! We haven’t moved any­thing away from the chil­dren. I have a col­lec­tion of chairs de­signed by my friends Na­cho Car­bonell, Piet Hein Eek and Max Lamb. The chil­dren en­joy them and re­spect them just as we do: it’s very Montes­sori!

Have you ever come across a piece that was sim­ply too chal­leng­ing for ev­ery­day use?

Too chal­leng­ing? No. Too ex­pen­sive? Yes. But even when I can’t buy some­thing, I keep it in mind. ➤

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