Cover with Style

Radiators are a nuisance. In winter you obligingly accept its services anf pretend not to be disturbed by their noises; in summer they are only cumbersome uglyness. With difficulty a new generation of heating systems is emerging but if you live in an old house your best bet are still screens. 

And nowhere in the world have I seen a more beautiful screen than the one in this Amalfi house. Designed by Ernestine Virden Cannon (read about her here) it is the perfect model: another successful combination of a classical motif in a modern rendering. Now let me just find an artisan capable of doing the work! 

Schloss Hollenegg for Design


I am not one to think long and hard about things; I usually just start and figure it out along the way. So when six months ago two friends suggested I start a residency programme at home, I did not waste much time. Hugely exciting, the program Schloss Hollenegg for Design has begun. Last week  I had the first in house designer(s) working on a site specific project: Dossofiorito came over from Italy and stayed with us for five days working on a brief and a theme. The skeleton of the idea is already formed, the rest will take shape over the next six months and will be presented in a collective show at the next Designmonat.

The next designers in line for the residency are Dean Brown and mischer’traxler who will be coming in autumn and working on the same theme and brief. A couple more designers are selected for 2016. Lot’s of work ahead so keep following, it is going to be quite a ride! 


An American Designer in Italy

You know I have a weakness for ceramics and in Amalfi I have recently discovered a most amazing artist I had not heard of before. Ernestine Virden Cannon was american and came to Italy soon after the war. She discovered the Costiera Amalfitana, met the architect Matteo D’Agostino and decided to stay. He had a ceramic factory and she painted watercolours. Together they started making incredibly modern ceramics with new delicate and transparent colours. The patterns varied from two tone graphics to delicate flowers. 

Ernestine was not just an artist, she embodied the figure of the modern designer. Together with the german ceramic engineer Horst Simonis, Ernestine brought about important innovations also on the technical side of the manufacture, discovering the procedure for making mew colours and successfully removing asbestos. The production lasted less than twenty years but the sheer variety of designs and patterns is astounding. They were a huge success, especially abroad. If you bump into an Ernestine piece anywhere in the world, you have a gem in your hands so don’t let it go!


Ten Years 

Ten years ago today Alfred and I got married. I am proud of this milestone because marriage is no easy arrangement to the problem of being in love. Especially for someone restless like me, who gets bored quite frequently. Marriage is love by design: you have to want to be married and you have to choose to love every day (well almost every day!)

Although to anyone who meets him, he appears like a saintly figure, my husband can be incredibly annoying. Just like anyone else really. But if I had to choose again who to marry, I would pick him every day of the year. For a start he understands Design. Also, he endures my tantrums and supports my follies. Perhaps most importantly, life with him is fun! So to my husband, who reads my blog religiously every morning and comments it every evening, I want to say thank you. For the first ten years. 

White and Gold for Tea

Once you exhibit something you grow fond of it. It feels like a little part of it belongs to you, because you know how it feels in your hands. Andrea Baumann’s tea cups feel light and impossibly delicate. Made with limoges porcelain, and gold leaf to contrast the matt white, they have irregular and imperfect shapes. 

Baumann’s work is modern in its simplicity but betrays an Austrian heritage. The white and gold transport me back to the Secession, and even further, to a time when white stuccos and gilded chandeliers became the defining element of Baroque in Austria. History repeats itself even in the beautiful details of life. 

Shopping & Other Stories

You have got to be crazy to go to Milan for work (if design is work to you) and not allow yourself a few hours of retail therapy. From luxury brands to small shoe shops you have it all; but this year my discovery was &Other Stories. After launching COS – which frankly is just too nordic intellectual for my tastes – the H&M group has created a new brand. 

With price tags supposed not too make you feel guilty (one way or the other), hopefully the quality will prove iself in the long run. Light and ageless with lots of colour blocking and few minimalist patterns, it is just my recipe for style. Oh and the bags are to die for, but that is another story! 

Bags of Food

People assume that in the countryside you are constantly going for romantic walks. In fact I have never spent so much time behind the driving wheel in my whole life. Not surprinsingly then, that the thing I miss most of town life is going everywhere on foot.

Seeing this bag at the Wallpaper Handmade show in Milan made me really want to go back to the days when on Friday morning I would walk to the market. Andrea Incontri (creative director of Tods) and Davide Oldani joined forces to design the ultimate chef’s bag. Light and soft, with plenty of side pockets for the delicate pear and smelly cheese, it is  large enough to fit all the ingredients for your gourmet dinner. I love the graphic hole pattern subtely alluding to the famous gommino. It is so elegant you will want to walk to the market every day!