Fantastical Fornasetti

by Dorothea

The whimsical world of eclectic Italian designer & artist Piero Fornasetti

“I don’t limit myself, and nothing is too esoteric to be used as inspiration. I want to free my inspiration from the limitations of the usual”.

UmbrellaStand“Greek Busts” Umbrella Stand

To the proverbial question: “what object would you save if your house caught fire?”, the answer without a doubt would be: this umbrella stand! It adorns my hallway and is one of my most prized possesions, a present from a very special person, who understands my love for all things Fornasetti…

I often walked through the Via Brera in Milan past the original Fornasetti boutique. An Alibaba’s cave of the most divers objects for the home, from umbrella stands to plates, from screens to lamps, from trays to wastepaper baskets…and all covered with wild and wonderful designs. Fornasetti died in 1988, his son, Barnaba Fornasetti, continues to design in his father’s name.

AshtraysA “mozaic” of Fornasetti ashtrays

Fornasetti is most known for his “Themes and Variations” plates collection. Many of the plates feature the face of a woman, operatic soprano Lina Cavalieri, as a motif. Fornasetti found her face in a 19th-century magazine.

PFFornasetti with a selection of his “Tema e variazione” plate collection.

The scope of objects Fornasetti designed is so large, I can only pick a few of them, but you can find most designs on the Fornasetti website. Each object is beautifully made, regardless if it is porcelain, fabric, furniture, tiles or wallpaper. A Fornasetti object, however small, is an investment that will never lose its value. As i live in Paris, my favorite place to shop for Fornasetti is l’Eclaireur. How I would love to own one of his giant screens:

ScreenOr use his wallpaper somewhere:

FWallpaper Wallpaper designed in the late 1940s for the artist’s own Milan hallway.

His objects work in any kind of interior, from classical to minimalist modern.

SettingInterior composition with Fornasetti plates