Best-kept design secrets on display at Italian Luxury Interiors Exhibition

Formitalia and Made a Mano are among more than 20 of the finest but lesser-known names in Italian interiors expected to exhibit at Madinat Jumeriah from Sunday.
Formitalia will present its Aston Martin collection in the UAE for the first time. Courtesy of Italian Luxury Interiors
Formitalia will present its Aston Martin collection in the UAE for the first time. Courtesy of Italian Luxury Interiors

"Made in Italy" is a phrase synonymous with quality, craftsmanship and desirable design - and, of course, luxury lifestyle items sought the world over, from fashion and furniture to sleek sports cars.

All "Made in Italy" attributes will be celebrated in the second Italian Luxury Interiors Exhibition taking place from tomorrow at Madinat Jumeirah Dubai.

More than 20 of the finest names in Italian interiors have been invited to exhibit, although according to Elisa Guidi, a spokesperson for Artex, the Florence-based company curating the three-day event, visitors won't find obvious "designer" names such as Giorgetti, Cassina or Cappellini in Madinat Jumeirah's Joharah Ballroom.

"The difference with the more famous Italian brands and these exhibitors is that this event really is a celebration of the handmade and bespoke," explains Guidi. "We want to honour these companies, many which have been in the hands of families for generations. Others are just a few years old but really evoke the true values of Italian design. They may have showrooms, catalogues and websites but essentially their products are all unique. They all focus on quality rather than quantity."

A cornucopia of Italian design styles, furniture, accessories and decorations will be on display during the event, and integrated into room-style settings.

"This arrangement will allow visitors to really see how these objects would look in a home and how each one engages with other interiors styles," Guidi says. "We feel this more informal style of display is more intimate and inspiring for visitors and will hopefully encourage them to stop and chat with the craftspeople who will be very much in evidence to talk about their work."

Among the exhibitors Guidi thinks visitors will be most excited about are the furniture company Formitalia, which will present its Aston Martin collection in the UAE for the first time. Debuted at the 2011 Salone del Mobile in Milan, Guidi says, "This collection, designed in collaboration with the luxury car manufacturer, combines materials such as fine leather and wool with high performance metals such as steel and carbon fibre in an extremely sleek range of seating, lamps, tables and shelving. It is highly contemporary but due to the high level of craftsmanship sits very well with the more traditionally designed exhibits."

At the more rustic end of the spectrum, Made a Mano will display its stunning collection of handmade tiles. Hand drawn, then individually brush painted, the designs are transferred onto the tiles in a method similar to silk screen printing. "This company is very interesting because, although it is very small, it has commissions from all over the world and has worked with some top designers and architects, including Tom Dixon," says Guidi.

Essentially, the exhibition will allow the UAE's interior designers and architects - as well as those who just love the country's rich culture - to become acquainted with Italy's best-kept design secrets, says Guidi. "There has always been such a strong relationship between the Italian interiors world and the UAE. Homeowners here very much appreciate Italian design and the Italian Trade Commission thought this was a way to allow so many more people to appreciate the companies that until now have been under the radar. It is very much their time to shine."

The Italian Luxury Interiors Exhibition - The Art of Design will take place November 27-30 at the Joharah Ballroom, Madinat Jumeirah from 2pm-10pm daily. Admission is free

Published: November 24, 2011 04:00 AM


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