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Rome | Established 1938

There's not many people know this, but bang in the centre of today's Rome there's still a tiny workshop where the same family has been plying the same skills for nearly 85 years. Only since 1961 at their present address in Via del Leoncino, mind you. The name of the family is Gualdani, and their trade is making lampshades, mostly to ...

Cesena | Staying on the Treadmill

In a country where everyone’s talking about wellness [wél-nés] and fitness [fi:tnés], few know that one of the top-ranking fitness-equipment manufacturers in the world is based in Emilia Romagna, in Cesena to be precise, about an hour down the road from Bologna. Technogym is the name on the familiar black-and-yellow logo, an emblematic 30-year success story in the business world and …

Salerno | Marsia

Having studied ceramics myself way back in another life in Cape Town, I’m partial to potters. Marsia is one of my latest finds. I stumbled on the studio quite by chance one steamy afternoon last summer, in the laid-back seaside city of Salerno, right opposite the duomo. Mariella Siano, ceramic designer, has a tiny shop filled with fragile bounty in rich …

Sesto Fiorentino | On the Shelf

We don’t usually go in for sad news on UI, but the imminent closure of Tuscany‘s own Richard Ginori warrants an exception. Makers of majolica and fine china since 1735 in Doccia and later in nearby Sesto Fiorentino, Richard Ginori attracted some of the best designers, sculptors and decorators to its factory, where top-of-the-range industrial tableware production never eclipsed an exceptional artistic tradition. Gio Ponti …

Turin | This is not an Optional!

When some new technogadget boasts a list of functions as long as your arm, over here they say it even makes the coffee. Well, the new Fiat 500L does just that. Presented in Turin at the beginning of the month, the little crossover model with compact-car efficiency but the feel of an SUV (says Fiat), which actually looks suspiciously like a …

Cattolica | Fast Flowers

Where do Italians go to beat the heat? To the seaside, of course: it’s a no-brainer on this thigh-high boot of a peninsula with fully 7,666 kilometres of coastline if you include Sicily and Sardinia. Well, Frida‘s has gone to the seaside this year too. The ready-made cheap-and-chic flowers brand has recently opened a new store in Cattolica on the riviera …

Milan | G.A.B.

Sourcing and selecting only superlative Italian products, G.A.B. is a new Milanese boutique-showroom for clothing and accessories, leather goods and interior design, with a concept all its own. Patrizia Campagnari and Claudio Alghisi pooled their business experiences and their faith in the excellence of Italian products, and opened the store a few months ago in a quiet, elegant quarter of town …

Grottaglie | Giovanna Alò

We’re back in Apulia and hot on the heels of a young ceramics designer whose first, innovative tableware line is as striking as it is inspired. Giovanna Alò hails from a dynasty of master potters in Grottaglie and modelled clay before she could walk. For more formal training she took a course in Industrial Design at Rome’s La Sapienza university, before …

Milan | Design Week Appetizer

Just a tiny morsel, a mere soupçon, a humble titbit from the new products on show at the 2012 Saloni and Fuorisalone, hardly scratching the surface of the immense international display of irrepressible creativity and implausible diversity which started today. Serralunga of Biella, of the inspired shapes in moulded plastics for indoors and out, is presenting Notre Dame, tables with one or two 3-legged trestles …

Milan | Pianoprimo

Here’s a gorgeous new design store in Milan. No window displays to lure you inside because it’s on the first floor, piano primo, but once you know it’s there… Design trio Fabio Cocchi, Luigi Rotta (ex Dovetusai studio) and Alessandra Mauri put their heads and experiences together to open Pianoprimo in a rather elegant building on the corner of Via Savona.  In other words, at …

Maranello | Creative Leathercraft

Better known as the home of the Ferrari legend, Maranello can also pride itself on a tannery which is revolutionizing the concept of ‘leather goods’. At Priante PelleItaliana, under the visionary guidance of Luigi Priante, they’ve shifted the boundaries of what leather can do. With over 50 years of expertise in tanning and turning out conventional products, and a level of quality recognized and put …

Turin | Gothic Gazebos

Guido Toschi Marazzani Visconti‘s designs for exclusive tents, marquees, awnings and gazebos reveal a passion for the historic and the exotic. Some are inspired by the lists of medieval jousting events, others by the luxury pavilions of the 17th and 18th centuries, still more by the traditional tents of North Africa’s Berber people. The goods are hand-made to order by …

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