Savoir Design Stories

Fornasetti Debuts “Cilindro”: A Reboot Of House Iconography

A family story as successful as Donatella's take-over of Versace.

Fornasetti is an art-furnishings brand famous for their whimsical objects founded in 1943 by Milanese painter, sculptor and interior designer Piero Fornasetti.  The house has produced more than 13,000 products including notable collaborations with Comme des garçons and Valentino. With the passing of Piero in the late 80s the house fell under the creative direction of Barnaba Fornasetti, Piero’s son.

And while a lot of things could have gone wrong- nothing did. Barnaba not only clutched the legacy of his father tightly to his chest beating back copycats, he also branded Fornasetti into one of the largest luxury commercial brands of covetable objets d’art in the world.

The most mundane of household items get a glamorous remake when designed by Fornasetti. Decorated scented candles, ceramic globe diffusers, porcelain ash trays and boxed incense are accessible luxury. The most covetable are the art-furniture designs that feature the famous Fornasetti lithographs from the archives.

Plate 150, $126, from Piero Fornasetti’s Theme and Variations series, modeled loosely on Lina Cavalieri, the early 1900s Italian soprano. Courtesy photo | Fornasetti Archives
Wall Plate No.160 in Gold $277

Founder Piero Fornasetti, who was once expelled from Brera Academy in Milan for insubordination, believed in the unconventional. And it was his eccentricity (he’s been called ‘the man who launched 1000 plates’) that propelled him to design stardom. His son has seamlessly maintained the relevance, humor and appeal of the Fornasetti brand for over 30 years.

 

This leads us to the latest in Fornasetti news. Art Director Barnaba Fornasetti recently unveiled their latest furniture collection during the 2017 Design Week. Titled “Cilindro” the furniture series re-releases the house mascot Lina Cavalieri (circa 1900s), an Italian soprano whose face has littered everything from Fornasetti plates to sofa cushions.

Fornasetti “Tamburo Comme des Fornà” side table
Fornasetti “Vetrina Comme des Fornà” display case

The storage design units are produced in three different versions including a “Cilindro” small table/storage unit (diameter 80cm x 61h), a cabinet for holding objects (diameter 60cm x 135h) and a tall display case (diameter 60cm x 145h) for glasses, bottles or anything one wishes to exhibit (like shoes). All three versions are made of wood, printed, laquered and hand painted, and they are available as limited editions with prices ranging from $10,000 to $25,0000.

Fornasetti “City of dots”display case

The re-releases of the iconic pieces and the “re-invention” of new objects in the handcrafted tradition of the Fornasetti Atelier reflect Barnaba’s committment to both quality and functionality that is essential to the reputation of the Fornasetti brand. In this Barnaba not only honors Fornasetti’s unique design legacy, he is finding ways to truly make the name his own.

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