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
Look inside three homes decorated by design insiders
THE MILANESE APARTMENT ROSSANA ORLANDI
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 (rossanaorlandi.com).
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. ➤