Mr Armani talks us through his interior design brand’s achievements and gives us a look inside its superlatively sleek Milan address Although the brand is synonymous with sharp menswear, since its 1975 launch, Armani S.p.A has branched out into womenswear, couture, affordable clothing, sportswear, flowers, kidswear, restaurants and – who knew – praline truffles. But it’s Armani/Casa, the furniture and design arm of the company, that attracts home or hotel owners in pursuit of a seriously stylish interior. At its glamorous flagship store in Milan, a gauzy steel mesh façade obscures the shop windows at number 14 Corso Venezia – a famously fashionable thoroughfare – but as dusk approaches, the silhouette of the iconic, 1982-designed ‘Logo’ lamp that kick-started the Casa brand appears in windows across all three floors. Inside, the austere decor and muted colour palette (inspired by a Japanese Zen aesthetic) provides a blank canvas on which to showcase the Armani/Casa collections. Rubelli-produced textiles are on display in abundance, and the ever-changing intimate roomsets, sprinkled throughout the space, are separated by panels covered with these latest fabric designs. The dynamic, 83-year-old founder remains both the sole shareholder and the figurehead of the business, so Giorgio Armani himself is the perfect person to talk us through Armani/Casa’s evolution. > Giorgio Armani and Armani/Casa’s furniture and tableware, on display in the brand’s store on Corso Venezia 14 in Milan
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My style of fashion and interior design both arise from my appreciation of clean lines, craftsmanship and non-showy luxury. A natural sophistication underlines everything I do, but so does a hint of subtle exoticism and flashes of eccentricity. Sometimes my designs for Armani/Casa make direct reference to the Armani fashion collections, with the use of a colour, a certain pattern, or a particular weave.
I didn’t imagine Armani/Casa would be so successful. For a long time, I had been toying with the idea of extending my fashion aesthetics to interior design. Armani/Casa started life back in 2000 with the first store in Milan… this new one is the 56th.
I’m particularly proud of the Armani/Casa Interior Design Studio. It’s an interior design and consultancy business for private clients and property developers, which we founded in 2003. I find it stimulating to express my vision in other cultures and places and it’s great to have the chance to interact with international architects.
Which cultures inspire me? I’ve always been drawn to certain moods within Chinese and Japanese cultures – the innate simplicity inspires my pursuit of pure, timeless elegance – and oriental Art Deco, too. The stylised geometry of its design, discreet decorative elements and the use of delicate finishes are all impressive.
It is important not to make the mistake of concentrating on aesthetics and neglecting functionality. My vision is to create furniture, spaces and clothes that are long-lasting and that enhance the experience of the person within them (armanicasa.com). D3
Designer and architect John Pawson is the master of modern minimalism. His London practice, founded in 1981, has built houses, airport lounges, Christopher Kane’s London flagship store and the vast new Design Museum in South Kensington.
As articulate as he is architectural, Pawson has penned books and posts a monthly journal on the studio’s website accompanying snaps of shapes, textures, light and colours that catch his eye.
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