Much to the relief of the global design community and its supporters, the prestigious Salone del Mobile Milano (or Milan Furniture Fair), which was cancelled last year due to the pandemic, will finally begin on September 5.
The renowned event is known for showcasing the latest designs in furniture, home decor and lighting by acclaimed designers. It is also a starting point for many fashion brands making inroads into the furniture market.
Furniture is definitely one of the first things that catches the eye when we enter a house, hotel or office. And the market is burgeoning. According to a study conducted by Research and Markets, this industry is poised to touch US$838 billion by 2027 — up from US$616.6 billion in 2019.
Perhaps this is one of the reasons why luxury fashion brands including Gucci, Versace and Louis Vuitton have branched out into the business of interiors. Illustrious designers at the helm of these brands focus on creating attractive home furnishing products. A recent example is Off-White founder Virgil Abloh, who used his time indoors during last year’s lockdown in Chicago to design a homeware collection of more than 80 products, including stools, deck chairs and doorstoppers.
From Versace’s Baroque-inspired designs to Off-White’s trendy home collections, here are 10 fashion brands we love for their super stylish furniture.
Fendi Casa was launched in 1988 when Italian entrepreneur Alberto Vignatelli met fashion designer Anna Fendi and decided to introduce a furniture brand. According to Vignatelli’s daughter Raffaella, it was the first time that a fashion house launched a line of furniture. Anna Fendi built the Fendi brand with her four sisters. Fendi has for decades played a leading role in luxury fashion with its lines of clothing, perfumes, timepieces, eyewear, shoes and other accessories.
Like the fashion house, Fendi Casa’s home collection is the epitome of effortless sophistication. Its range of sofas, coffee tables, low cabinets and table lamps features a diversity of textures, sizes and designs. Among its latest designs are coffee and side tables (first picture) introduced in vibrant colours and geometrical shapes. As of 2018, Fendi Casa’s estimated sales were more than €70 million.
The renowned fashion label offers a stunning collection of furniture, textiles, ceramics and wall coverings. When Hermès launched its homeware products in 2011, the first set was crafted by Enzo Mari, Antonio Citterio and RDAI Studio — three iconic names in furniture design. The luxury fashion furniture brand has everything from ergonomically designed chairs to elegant benches in its collection. Some of the products, such as the Hippodrome d’Hermès coffee table and the set called Équilibre d’Hermès comprising a table, a chair and an armchair, have been created by reputed designers such as Normal Studio and Jasper Morrison.
In 2013, the brand launched the Les Necessaires d’Hermes collection created by French designer Philippe Nigro using materials like original Hermès textiles and Canaletto walnut — a solid wood known for its elegant texture. Some of its pieces are multifunctional. For instance, the Essential bull-calf leather upholstered groom valet (first picture) has a rotating mirror along with a pouch and a hook made of metal bones covered in Canaletto walnut. Another notable item from the collection is the folding screens (second picture), which have “Maitres de la Foret” fabric on the front and H canvas fabric on the reverse.
Louis Vuitton Objets Nomades Collection
In 2012, the fashion label started inviting renowned artists to collaborate for its travel-themed collection Objets Nomades, featuring “functional furniture pieces and design objects”. Designers from across the world like Patricia Urquiola, André Fu, Atelier Oï, India Mahdavi and Marcel Wanders have contributed one-of-its-kind creations.
In 2020, Andrew Kudless became the first American designer to feature his work in the collection. Named the Swell Waves Shelf (pictured, top), it is a curvilinear design made of polished oak wood and comes with leather straps. Another notable item is the Bomboca Sofa (pictured, bottom), designed by Brazilian designers Humberto and Fernando Campana — famously known as the Campana brothers. The sofa gets its name from a traditional Brazilian confection. Eight plush cushions fit in a curved shell lined with soft calfskin creating an impression of a sculpture.
The collection also features LV’s innovative furniture designs from the past like the iconic “trunk bed” — a foldable bed that can fit inside a mid-size trunk — created specially for French explorer Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza in 1905. De Brazza was the founder of Brazzaville, the settlement named after him and Congo’s capital today. A similar item can be custom made under the brand’s My Creation service.
Giorgio Armani founded his eponymous fashion label in 1975. Years after becoming one of the most famous fashion designers, Armani entered the realm of home decor with Armani/Casa in 2004. Exotic villas, luxurious hotels, and private planes and yachts are among those decorated with furniture, lighting and carpets produced by the brand, which espouses its design philosophy: elegance, essentiality and simplicity.
The Armani Hotel in Dubai is one such example — it has bespoke Armani furniture made from elegant textiles and precious materials. For its 2020 collection, Armani/Casa drew inspiration from the art of icons such as Paul Klee and Henri Matisse. While the decorative cushion line Portia draws inspiration from Matisse’s paintings and features floral designs, the range of frames called Ponte is inspired by Klee’s paintings and uses geometrical designs. Emerald green quartzite and satin-finish brass are among the materials used for some of these items that centre around modernism.
Ralph Lauren Home
One of the first American fashion houses to enter the home decor business, Ralph Lauren Home was launched in 1983. The range of products, including bedding, lighting, furniture, floor covering and other accessories, are created with a focus on four signature RL motifs — Thoroughbred, New England, Jamaica, and Log Cabin. According to Lauren, the home decor products are designed “the way I design for a man or woman, with the same attention to detail and the same eye for what is beautiful and unique”.
Every product in the brand’s range appears to be following this principle. One such example is the Brook Street Bookcase (pictured) — black with carved rosettes and a reinterpretation of 1940s neoclassical bookcases.
When Gucci announced in 2017 it was launching its home decor line, the news was received with much excitement. And the fashion powerhouse didn’t disappoint — its products bear the standard maximalist signature of its creative director Alessandro Michele.
Items such as chairs, cushions, screens, wallpapers and trays are decorated with the House motifs of animals and colourful floral patterns. Designed by Michele, its new collection ‘Souvenir from Rome’ uses a floral jacquard pattern for upholstery of the made to order chairs (first picture) — a design borrowed from his ready-to-wear collection reminiscent of vintage fabrics.
One of the most luxurious products in the range is a velvet three-panel screen (second picture). Worth US$32,000, the panel is mounted on black lacquered engineered wood with tufted pink velvet on one side and hexagon jacquard fabric on the other.
The line also includes candles, incense trays and metal folding tables. Gucci’s home decor products can be purchased online and also at some of its stores.
The iconic Italian fashion house forayed into home decor in 1992 with textiles and porcelain dinnerware. It gradually expanded to luxury furniture, including leather beds, sofas and chairs, and lighting.
Versace’s products are exquisite pieces of art due to the use of Baroque and Greek motifs. Black, gold and white appear to be the dominant colours in its glamorously detailed furniture. The brand clearly believes in excess — a glimpse of which can be seen in the dazzling designs of its sofas alone, each of which is fit for a palace. Take a look at Jaipur (pictured), which has an upholstered frame in printed panel velvet fabric with seat cushions and is made of wood with polyurethane foam wrap to frame and seats.
The fabrics that go in the making of soft furnishings such as cushions and beddings are pure silk, velvet and super-soft cotton.
Bottega Veneta’s first furniture product was a bench designed by its then creative director Tomas Maier in 2006. With that, the fashion brand — in existence since 1966 — began spreading its wings in the world of home decor.
Today, its wide range includes beds, tables, consoles, desks, pillows, blankets and lamps. Materials such as steel, oak, marble, glass and bronze are used to create the sturdy pieces in designs that are simple yet gorgeous. Oak chests with sleek frames draped in suede or leather and bronze hardware will make for a remarkable addition to any room. Those who love the outdoors might find the foldable camp bed, which is made using gunmetal or brushed steel, to their liking. Also available are a folding lamp with bronze finishing, a lantern-inspired floor lamp, and metal magazine rack (pictured) — which looks like a shopping bag and is a quintessential example of the brand’s ability to merge eye-catching design with functionality.
Over the years, Bottega Veneta has collaborated with illustrious names such as designer Osanna Visconti di Modrone, porcelain maker Koenigliche Porzellan-Manufaktur Berlin and furniture maker Poltrona Frau for its products.
Luxury leather brand Berluti’s creative director Kris Van Assche joined hands with the founder of Laffanour Galerie Downtown François Laffanour to showcase 17 stunning pieces of furniture at the Design Miami fair in 2019. The pieces were a tribute to, and a reminder of, the artistic genius of Pierre Jeanneret — the Swiss architect renowned for designing the Indian city Chandigarh, along with his cousin Charles-Édouard Jeanneret who went by the pseudonym Le Corbusier.
Original Pierre Jeanneret pieces from the 1950s created for the administrative buildings of Chandigarh’s Capitol Complex were restored by Laffanour and upholstered with Berluti’s hand-patinated Venezia leather.
In the collection, what strikes immediately are the colours — Van Assche used 18 different shades for the 17 pieces that include the Nespola orange day bed, Pinjore garden green judge armchair (pictured), one Sukhna cinema chair in purple and another in Simal red. Also part of the distinctive U, V, and X-like shape solid teak furniture are a base-building desk, high court chair, a pair of library chairs and folding screen. The only piece with Berluti signature tobacco colour leather upholstery is the writing chair, which is also one of the few with rattan seats.
To ensure that the historical integrity of the collection was maintained, Domeau & Pérès, who worked on the upholstery as per Berluti tradition, used magnetic fixings. And for the sake of preserving the character of each piece, normal signs of wear were left intact.
Three years after the launch of his brand Off-White, Virgil Abloh presented his inaugural furniture collection at Art Basel in Miami in 2016. On display were chairs, tables and sideboards made of wood, steel and stone.
In 2019, the brand presented a series of homeware under the “HOME” label with ceramics, bed and bath products. Its latest collection, released in late 2020, comprises more than 80 items including everything from a toothbrush to bedsheets. Available in black, grey and beige tones with accents in fluorescent pink and orange, all of them feature the brand’s unique design elements such as meteor holes and quotation marks. An example is the beautiful ivory deck chair (pictured), made with fabric featuring blue meteor holes in print and the “Off” logo. This is also available in black.
Outside of his brand, Abloh has dabbled in other furniture projects. For his “Acqua Alta” collection at the 2019 Venice Biennale, he designed low chairs that represented the threat from rising sea levels. The same year, he also collaborated with Swedish furniture maker IKEA for a collection named “Markerad” which had 15 products including a rug that looked like a receipt.
Main and featured image courtesy of Tiendaogt/ Facebook
This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Hong Kong