A creative odyssey through Giorgio Armani’s new home collection.
Bold geometric patterns, shimmering black pleats and refined textures define the latest collection from legendary designer Giorgio Armani. But don’t think these seasonal trends are exclusive to the fashion runway. Armani was one of the first high-profile fashion figures to enter the world of home furnishings, translating a design aesthetic into a range of home products from furniture and textiles to accessories and tabletop. Launched in 2000 as a separate division within the Giorgio Armani Group, Armani/Casa embodies the Italian icon’s inimitable style, bringing the same sophistication and timeless elegance of his fashion sense to his collection of understated interior decor.
“The interplay between the fashion and furniture collections allows me to bring inspiration for colors, fabrics and materials from one design discipline to the other and vice versa,” says Armani.
Reflecting the spirit of Armani’s haute couture, the Armani/Casa 2008/2009 collection interprets the Art Deco period in a contemporary way with textural variety, a geometric sensibility and an affinity for a restrained palette, creating a point of view that is both consistent and connected. Imitating the movement of one of his pleated garments, Armani applies a glossy, pleated surface to the geometrically styled doors of the black lacquered Bach bar, finishing it with lobster-colored fabric.
When it comes to elevating simple materials, Armani is the master, crafting the short Blush screen and sinuous arms of the Borromini chaise in Macassar ebony to express the understated elegance of the wood. In the Buonarroti daybed, he combines diverse elements to create a study in contrasts. Its rich, velvet upholstery warms the architectural-style mass of sleek, silver-leafed wood that is the base of the structure.
With thirteen factories and 5,000 employees, the fashion-based company is well-versed in textiles, evident in lush fabrications such as the Boreal rabbit throw. Silk cushions and graphic black-and-white quilts and coverlets complement the simple silhouettes of sofas, sculpted tables and beds such as the Osiris. Overall, the juxtapositions between light and dark, and between raw materials and refined finishes, evoke a mood of unmistakable luxury and glamour synonymous with the Armani name.
“Everything that bears the Armani signature is interrelated. I want to feel an intimate environment around me where all pieces of furniture, textiles and accessories work in harmony,” says the designer, whose latest opportunity to realize that express vision came when he signed an agreement in 2006 with Emaar Properties to supply the interiors of ninety residences and a 175-room hotel in the world’s tallest residential and commercial tower — Burj Dubai.
For Armani, the endeavor represents a tour de force and is a far cry from the career path he embarked upon as a medical student. In 1957, he abandoned medicine to pursue a merchandising job at Italy’s department store, La Rinascente, followed by a stint with designer Nino Cerruti and other fashion labels. He founded his own company, Giorgio Armani S.p.A, in 1975 with partner Sergio Galeotti, launching a men’s and women’s ready-to-wear line. By the 1980s, Armani had revolutionized the industry by deconstructing the “power suit,” establishing his reputation as one of the world’s most influential and successful fashion designers. With more than 300 international retail stores, the company continues to expand. Today the Armani brand includes nine labels: women’s and men’s clothing, shoes, bags, eyewear, jewelry, fragrances, cosmetics and home furnishings.
Armani’s extension into the home is consistent with the designer’s fashion philosophy and language. “The process of creating products for the home and for fashion collections is very similar,” he says. “Both skills require an ability to imagine things in three dimensions and to translate sketches into reality. In both cases, it is the precision and finesse that will make all the difference.” The furnishings are designed to fit specific zones in the home: living, dining, bedroom, study, kitchen and bath. Each season, additional lines are introduced to complement the existing ones.
In the midst of a recession and with much fanfare, Armani recently opened his 47,000-square-foot U.S. store in midtown Manhattan, bringing all of his labels under one roof. Blending effortlessly with tailored suits and couture dresses, Armani has transcended fashion to become an all-inclusive luxury lifestyle brand.
“I now consider myself to be a designer in the fullest meaning of the term,” says Armani, “someone who designs all matters of things, not just fashion. But to be honest, my vision for Armani is the same as it has always been: to make wonderful products which reflect my personal design aesthetic and, through doing this, to offer people collections which make them feel good about themselves. The lifestyle approach has evolved naturally over the years… it has not been so much a business strategy, but a personal creative odyssey.”
For more on Armani Casa check out the information and photos below….
photos below styled by Sarah Bloesch