in Color Inspiration, Furniture, Interiors, Ispiration

Mãos at the Blue Mountain School

The older I get, the more I like uncomplicated interiors. This eight seater Mãos Restaurant at the Blue Mountain School in London is a good example of an interior thats charm is based on a clever use of materials and colours. The furniture is functional and complements the space: it adds colour and interest without dominating the attention. The pinewood floor with its abundance of knots gives this notable Michelin star eatery in the East End a natural look, it reminds me of the floors in saloons in the Wild West. The floor in one room is complemented by the wall colour and in the other room it complements the light grey of the painted wall and the tiled wall. In both cases, the chairs -very different from each other- introduce a new style and a new colour.

The Blue Mountain School doesn’t just host the Mãos restaurant on the sixth floor but also an events room (Grace’s), an exhibition and project space (Blue Projects) and a collection of limited edition works available for sale (Hostem Archive).

Photographies courtesy of The Blue Mountain School

in Color Inspiration, Furniture, Interiors, Ispiration

A good example of how to use colours and some thoughts about the present

A friend of mine have just left a comment below one of my posts on Instagram noting that I have published quite a bit of beautiful hotels recently and if that hides a desire to travel. Yes, it does. In the last few weeks I have felt a bit caged. I miss exploring. I can’t even got to see an exhibition! Museums in Italy are open Monday to Friday until 18.00, basically they are open for retired people who probably don’t go anyway considering they are the most vulnerable age. We need to be more patient, things are going eventually to settle down even if I wonder if they are ever going to be back to how they were.

Going back to the my recent obsession for hotels, today we are going to speak about Hotel Les Deux Gares. Located between Gare du Nord and Gare de L’Est in Paris (hence the name), this small hotel has everything you need, including a gym and a lovely atmosphere. The interiors were designed by British enfant-prodige Luke Edward Hall and they are an excellent example of how colours can transform a place. The young designers has cleverly mixed vibrant greens, yellows, pinks and light blues with touches of red, geometric patterns, stripes, fringes, leopard and much more. The space look so cohesive though because the main colours are recurring even if used in different ways: light blue can be for instance a sink, in a stripy fabric, a wall, the background of a wallpaper, a door frame.
Totally inspiring!

Photos courtesy of Hotel Les Deux Gares.

in Interiors

Cristina Celestino for Fornace Brioni

Italy is famous all over the world for its exquisite craftsmanship passed on from one generation to another, as well as its creativity and ability to design timeless pieces. In Italy there are a lot of family businesses that manage to reach across the world. Versace, Brunello Cucinelli, Trussardi, Natuzzi are only a few of the family run brands in our country: everyone knows that Italians are family people.
These companies have managed to succeed, survive and make a name for themselves because they managed to preserve the quality of what they produce but also to embrace the future and identify and collaborate with the right talented professionals.

Fornace Brioni was created in 1920 by the Brioni family and since then it has produced terracotta floors. The factory is near Mantova, in Gonzaga and is still run by the fourth generation of the family (Alessio and Alberto Brioni).
Fornace Brioni is having a period of extreme popularity thanks to its history in making terracotta floors and its partnership with Italian architect Cristina Celestino, creative director of the brand since 2007.
Cristina Celestino has designed some special collections for Brioni: Scenografica that takes its inspiration from the work of the set designers during the Baroque period; Giardino delle Delizie inspired by the grottoes in the Reinassance gardens; Giardino all’Italiana based on the idea of drawing nature.
Here are a few images of Fornace Brioni collections designed by her.
No wonder they are everywhere on Instagram.

in Furniture, Interiors, People

Angelot, turn disadvantages into advantages

Angelot -a patisserie shop in Xiasha in China– was born from the experience and vision of two young but very experienced Chinese architects,  Yan Zhang and Jianan Shan, founders of Say Architects studio.

The architects managed to solve some evident architectural disadvantages, like the recessed front door and the fact that the full height window inside that face a nice view. They didn’t try to hide these disadvantages, they made them focal points, strengths. The entrance, covered in customized tiles, is curved and it accompanies the clients inside, revealing the dining area slowly, like a surprise. In order to make sense to the two different heights between entry level (very low) and dining area (very high), they created a changing clearance along the route.

They used customized GRC (glass fiber reinforced concrete) to soften the wall and the semitransparent curtain to block exterior view but keeping the sunlight.

Some lemon tree add color and bring nature in the interiors, the cherry on the cake.

Photographs by Hao Zhang, courtesy of Say Architects.

in Color Inspiration, Furniture, Interiors, Ispiration

Casa Hoyos, how to drive tradition into 2020

Casa Hoyos, a boutique hotel in San Miguel De Allende, has been owned by the same Hoyos family for 4 generations. The hotel occupies a typical colonial Spanish manor in one of the most historical city in Mexico and it has been designed by AG Studio.

The 16 rooms hotel focus around the courtyard and its archways tiled with the colours of the family shield, black and peach, contrasted by walls tiled in a pungent yellow.

The choice of furniture is original, the colours and shapes of the pieces, many of which were custom designed for this project, are sapiently mixed. The result manages to be innovative and traditional at the same time, preserving the spirit of the place.

Photos by Diego Padilla
in Arts+ Crafts, Furniture, Interiors, Ispiration, People

Living in a museum

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Palermo is one of my favourite cities in the entire world. It is a magical, fascinating, exotic, elegant place where life seems to be so sweet that you almost feel compelled to move there. Every time I go, I discover new incredible things and my love for the city grows a bit more.

One of my recent discoveries was Palazzo Contefederico, a few steps from from the buzzing Ballaro’ market. This sixteenth century palace is still inhabited by the Count Alessandro Federico and his family; one of Alessandro’s sons guided me around the marvellous rooms of the Palazzo Contefederico. The fact that the tours are led by a member of the family and the fact it is still their home make the experience unique.

It is a very inspirational visit for the interior design lovers with colourful original tiled floors, beautiful pictures and frames, precious wall-coverings and numerous delightful glimpses into another world.

Also unmissable is the majolicas collection at Le Stanze al Genio, that I wrote about some time ago.

Unfortunately the vintage shop Mercurio & C that I photographed last year closed down (see the post). A boring jewellery shop opened instead (even if originally it was a jewellery shop).

(Photographs by Elena Giavarini)

in Color Inspiration, Furniture, Interiors, Ispiration

2019 interior trends (as seen in Milan)

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I was in Milan last week and as usual I saw a lot of interesting things but also trends that I had already predicted in previous years.

This is my list of the 2019 interior trends after visiting this year’s edition of ISaloni.


I predicted that rounded sofas were going to be a big trend in 2017 but the world probably wasn’t ready at the time to embrace completely different shapes of sofa and armchair so it took a while for the trend to explode properly.

We spoke about it a few months ago in the post “White is back (and rounded sofas”) and since then this look has spread even more.

At the Salone del Mobile this year Adrenalina, an Italian brand, had the best examples in my book: well made, comfortable and original.

Bigala by Roberto Giacomucci is the perfect private nest and it can come with electric sockets and a little table:

Bixib by Luca Alessandrini changes perspective according to the point of view and the base is a mix of silk and bioresin.


Wall lamps that offer ambient light, perfect for corridors or entryways are finally back in fashion. It is something that you have probably seen in your grandmother’s house but the new designs are something else, geometrical, efficient, sexy.

Nemo has two wall lights I really like, very linear, very impressive.

Wall Shadows by Charles Kalpakian:

And Tubes by Charles Kalpakian:


In 2019 we will see a return to natural materials, especially wood.

Wicker will also have a renaissance.

Wicker chairs make a come back with new fun looks.

Lisetta by Elena Salmistraro for Bottega Intreccio is glamorous and funky at the same time. The four cushions in different hues make them unique.

Fratelli Boffi 5610/C LUI 5-A is a wicker throne more than a simple chair. It comes in different colors.


Versatile tiles are tiles that can be mixed and matched to achieve a unique (or at least different) pattern.

Versatile tiles are generally monochromatic and they come in various shapes. The idea is actually old: you can find amazing floors made of monochromatic tiles from the 1800’s and the first 60 years of 1900.

The tiles can be combined for colors or shapes and can be put horizontally or vertically in some cases.

Micro for instance offers a variety of micro tiles or mosaic tassels that you can freely combine; they are then sold in blocks.

Visit Micro‘s website to fully understand the extensions of their tiles and mosaic possibilities.

in Color Inspiration, Furniture, Interiors, Ispiration

70’s, the 2018 trend

This year as well I was asked by the super cool American online magazine The Lux Pad to write about the 2018 most prominent trend in my book.

I believe that the new year is going to bit about pattern; this is my contribution:

“2018 will see a new trend coming straight out of the 70s. We have already got used to decorating with tiles, bold patterns, unusual shades and vintage furniture, but this year we will go for even more pronounced graphics in ceramics, in a combination of colors that we considered dull – if not ugly – before like brown and orange or mint green and gray.

Vintage 70s inspired pottery will be proudly displayed and new versions of 70s designed tiles will make our floors much more interesting and eye-catching.” 

Click here, to read my 2017 forecast.

Tiles by Bisazza

Tiles by Bisazza

Ceramics by K+R

Wallpaper from Wallpaper from the 70’s


in Furniture, Interiors, Ispiration

New hexagonal tiles

Hexagonal tiles have been a big trend in the last two years and a clever way to add pattern to walls or floors.

When I work on a project I always decide first which materials I am going to use. Sometimes the materials have already a big personality (for instance marble) so you don’t need to add much color. In this case, I like to add pattern, introducing differently shaped tiles or wooden boards.

Introducing a pattern in the scheme, allow you to keep the rest quite neutral without falling into boring; you can do that going for tiles of natural materials in different shapes.

Here are some examples of what you can do with hexagonal tiles. You can go for a mixture of wooden and marble floor tiles like in the top photo (Oak and marble floor by Idee & Parquet by Gazzotti), or simply go for simple grey tiles but in a hexagonal shape and combined with copper faucets (interior by Ambert Interiors), propose a wooden spectacular 3D wall (Timber Alexander tiles by Giles Miller) or provide a natural stone background to your bath like in the Porcelanosa catalogue.

If you feel braver, you can copy the solution in the bottom photo picturing the Cups Nine Cafè in Greece, and let the hexagonal tiles invading the wooden floor.

in Color Inspiration, Interiors, Ispiration

Easy chic

Hello everyone, things are good these days, no news to report which I suppose is good news.

Work is progressing slowly but progressing and I have finally managed to achieve a good quality of life. I even started practicing yoga again which I love. Because of my timetable, I can’t go to my usual Ashtanga Yoga school but I found a place near my house where I can practice Hatha Yoga at 7.30 in the morning and I really enjoy it unexpectedly! Sometimes you need to adjust your wishes to your needs and learn to adapt to the circumstances.

The house I want to show you today reflects my state of mind: calm and happy.

This apartment was published on the Entrance website, a estate buying/selling mediator (via Planete Deco) and the photos are by Anders Bergstedt.

As you can see the shell is pretty simple: white walls, white windows frames, no architectural frills. It re-proposes a recipe that always works: a white shell, some black elements, eye catching trendy details, light grey soft furnishings and few wooden vintage pieces. The atmosphere is very serene and the place is fled with light. Updating a space like this is very easy and unexpensive, you just need to change the artwork, some details and the cushions.

Sometimes the simple things are the ones that work best for our daily life.