When it comes to fashion, the world often turns to Italy to set the trends. Italian influence on fashion is undeniable, with Italian design being synonymous with both good taste and emboldened style. Truth be told, there are few things about Italy that don’t inspire us, whether it be style, scenery (#vacationgoals), or even cuisine. And we want to make sure you’ve added Italian furniture design to this list. While Italian furniture designers don’t necessarily command the same level of worldwide name recognition as their fashion-house counterparts, that doesn’t mean their impact is any less.
It seems like Italian design never goes out of style. Like a fine Italian wine, design tends to get better with age. Why? When it comes to Italian furniture designers, innovators, and tastemakers, despite spanning decades and design styles, they understand that having a sense of style is not about playing it safe. In fact, they prove that making a bold, unique design statement can be iconic and enduring. And though imitation is the highest form of flattery (and believe me, there are many knockoffs out there), the stylish pieces from these Italian designers are the real deal.
While we can’t teach you how to speak Italian, we believe that being fluent (or at least conversational) in this roster of Italian It designers is the next best thing. That’s right: It’s time to start exploring la dolce vita at home. Read on for the chic girl’s guide to eight famous Italian furniture designers, along with a look at some of their most iconic must-have pieces.
PHOTO: COKE BARTRINA FOR VILLA LENA
Though his career spanned decades, Italian architect and designer Ettore Sottsass is perhaps most well-known for being the founder of the Memphis Milano design group in the 1980s. The Memphis style and accompanying design movement were iconically disruptive, characterized by bold colors and color-blocking, playful geometric shapes and squiggles, and unexpected or experimental raw materials.
Sottsass’s unique post-modern aesthetic and diverse range of media resonated with many in the design and artist community early on and throughout the years, with notable collectors of his work, including David Bowie and Karl Lagerfeld. These days, like all things ’80s and ’90s, Sottsass’s furniture designs and the Memphis style feel perhaps more influential than ever.