The Fornasetti Atelier

Fornasetti Profumi

I absolutely love Italian design. I adore the bravery and boldness, the wit and irreverence. Two of its' main protagonists (and my favourite designers of all time) are Gio Ponti, and of course the wonderful Piero Fornasetti. The artistic paths of these two great men were to cross at many different junctions in their glittering design careers. Here, I hope to share some of my favourite Fornasetti finds. I will hopefully get to talk about Ponti on another occassion too.

Fornasetti is often associated with Surrealism and Modernist Art. He had many recurring themes, motifs and obsessions, but probably his most cherished icon is the sweet face of Italian Opera singer Lina Cavalieri, which he used in over 350 of his designs in one guise or another. Playing cards, harlequins, suns and hands also feature heavily in his work.

The Fornasetti Atelier has undergone something of a rebirth in recent years. Piero's son Barnaba has kept his father's legacy alive, invigorating many of the original designs and introducing some stunning new products by way of licensing to carefully selected partners - there is a collection of candles and room scents (United Scents), vases (Bitossi Ceramiche) and even a range of wallpapers (Cole & Son).

For a great selection of Fornasetti products in the UK, you really need to check out Milk Concept Boutique in London's Shoreditch. Not only are the staff extremely helpful, but very knowledgable about Fornasetti and Italian design in general. The last time I went to Milk I was chatting to them for ages and they couldn't get rid of me!

On a final note don't forget to take a peek at the Fornasetti website, which is sublime. There are some great photographs on here of the Spazio Fornasetti in Milan.