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The Midas Touch

02.12.21

Dominating the fashion industry for decades - Giorgio Armani has also made his influential mark in the flamboyant world of interior design with Armani/Casa - a fully developed entity offering customised ranges of furniture, lighting, accessories and more. L-J Andrew celebrates his indomitable style legacy

At the age of 87, Giorgio Armani is still a formidable presence in the world of high-end fashion, with sleek, modern designs that celebrate his influence at the cutting edge of tomorrow’s trends. The acclaimed designer has turned his hand to many different ventures over the decades and mirrored his fashion world success, and nowhere more so, than with Armani/ Casa, the home interiors branch of the Armani brand.

Armani took his first tentative steps into the world of interior design in 1982, with the development of the ‘Logo’ lamp. However, it would be another 18 years until his aesthetic curiosity for styling the perfect living environment enticed him to explore the sector further. In 2000, Armani/ Casa opened its first flagship store at Via Manzoni 311 in Milan. He commented at the time: “It had been on my mind for quite a while, but only now did the time feel right.”

Fast forward to today and the Armani/Casa concept is still perceived to be in a class by itself: a brand that translates his designs, yet unlike other European luxury brands—Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Prada come to mind—there are no logos or interlocking patterns that instantly identify the product’s provenance. If you know Giorgio Armani, you will recognise his home furnishings. If you don’t—well, you won’t.

The underpinning philosophy behind the range is a subtle exchange between sensibility and taste; a complex process that creates an unexpected harmony between different cultures. The overarching theme across his designs is an expression of lightness, delivered through an exploration of subtle thicknesses. From the structures of the furniture range to the woven textures of textiles, many are inspired by Obi, an ornamental Japanese sash worn mainly with the kimono.

This theme is also expressed through seemingly rigid surfaces such as wood and leather, reshaped to suggest a new, playful identity. The Oriental charm offensive continues with design allusions to Japanese iconography: nature, hot springs, the shape of the tsuba, the Japanese sword guard and the lightness and fluidity of the ocean.

An almost ethereal sensation is also conveyed by the reference to these natural elements in motion: the shades of the clouds and Asian landscapes with trees and hills that create infinity-effects, blended colours reminiscent of a sunset or reflections on the water. Captured from nature and coursing waters come in muted shades of pink, apple green and light blue, accompanied by classic colours combined with brighter, more vivid tones such as red, forest green and petrol blue.

These hues are further emphasised by artisanal craftsmanship and exquisite materials, whether Murano glass or precious embroideries. Noble traditions of working with classic elements and components further meld with the use of innovative materials like resin and synthetic woven textiles.

Building on his interior design success, in 2005, Armani partnered with Emaar Properties PJSC to create three landmark holiday resorts bearing his name. Keen to ensure sure he was the one personally responsible for overseeing all aspects of the design, layout and styling within each residence, Giorgio even created a limited-edition collection of home furnishings specifically for each project.

Armani has since continued to build on his portfolio, launching brands such as Armani/Dada, a collaboration with Molteni & Co to produce and distribute his designer kitchen in 2008, Armani/Casa Exclusive Textiles, a partnership with Rubelli creating furnishing fabrics in 2009, and Armani/ Roca, a collection of stylised bathrooms in 2010. Additional lines include the ‘Exclusive Wallcoverings Collection’, for which Armani joined forces with Jannelli & Volpi in 2014.

More recently, his reputation has been further strengthened with his first show at Armani/Silos dedicated to architecture – The Challenge, showcasing the work of Tadao Ando. This occasion was also an opportunity to release his new Armani/ Casa collection that transforms parallels and similarities between cultures into furniture and décor at Armani/Teatro, the venue that Tadao Ando himself designed.

Despite having successfully branched out into every aspect of interior design and architecture, Armani shows no sign of losing his zeitgeist grip. He says: “20 years after the launch of that first Armani/Casa collection in 2000, I still see it as a wonderful opportunity; a field in which I can experiment and create objects and spaces that mirror my philosophy.” He reflects: “Fashion and design are both expressions of the human spirit. It’s wonderful to be able to express my aesthetic vision and style in both worlds.”

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