Piero Fornasetti was a Milanese painter, sculptor, interior decorator, engraver of books and a creator of more than 11,000 products. In terms of variety of decoration, Fornasetti’s production of objects and furniture is one of the largest of the 20th century.
Fornasetti is celebrated as being among the most original creative talents of the twentieth century. During his career he created a visual vocabulary that is instantly recognisable and unceasingly engaging. Fornasetti designed a magical world, saturated in image and colour and filled with whimsy and wit.
Fornasetti’s son, Barnaba, is perpetuating the Fornasetti tradition by continuing to produce, and revive, Fornasetti designs. At the helm of the company and its creative heart, Barnaba is the custodian of his father’s legacy.
An abundance of important motifs have emerged from the Fornasetti archive thanks to Barnaba’s skillful tenacity and dedication. The Fornasetti Atelier is currently managed by Barnaba, who has successfully maintained in-house production, revived as well as reinterpreted his father’s designs. Barnaba also works in collaboration with specialised companies who are entrusted to produce licensed products under the Fornasetti mark. The Fornasetti legacy has been secured thanks to Barnaba Fornasetti’s commitment to projects designed to articulate his father’s oeuvre. And, most importantly, the extraordinary visual language of Fornasetti is as active and strong as ever.
The Fornasetti Atelier in Milan is an outpost of careful and accomplished craft production. Here skilled craftsmen and women use the same rigorous handcrafted techniques as were employed on the very first Fornasetti products. Colour is applied by hand and the original paper patterns are still followed. Maintaining the quality of these methods of making is an important aspect of the Fornasetti legacy.
The majority of the furniture and objects produced in the Atelier are true re-editions of the original designs created by Piero Fornasetti. Objects referred to as ‘Re-inventions’, are designs created by Barnaba Fornasetti using the decorative elements and imagery found in the immense Fornasetti archive and are evolutions of the exclusive production of his father.
CRAFT & QUALITY
Every object produced at the Fornasetti Atelier in Milan is wholly handcrafted using exclusive artisan techniques. Such particular methods of production render these unique pieces and elevate them to the status of true art. Two objects within the same theme will never be absolutely identical. All of the most valuable furniture and porcelain are produced in limited, annual, editions.
Today everything is still rigorously executed by hand in the atelier; colour is applied to surfaces by a painter who copies the original hand painted paper models. Only the printing technique has changed (for reasons of necessity) from lithography to serigraphy – an evolution that began during Piero’s lifetime. Decoration is transferred onto specially prepared lacquered surfaces before a further two layers of transparent lacquer are applied – a perfectly finished object is the end result.
Every piece of furniture or each accessory bears the Fornasetti trademark and an object number, its production edition number, and the year of production. In the case of painted material, each object is signed by the painter who has completed the hand colouring.
The Fornasetti family home is an extraordinary testament to the creativity of Piero Fornasetti. The house can be found in the Città Studi area of Milan and was built by Piero’s parents in the 19th century. Like a labyrinth, the house is made up of a complex and intricate network of rooms and corridors.
The family home became a canvas for Piero’s fervent creativity and over the course of the many years he lived here the rooms of the Milanese villa became decorated with his art. There is no better, certainly no richer, example of the Fornasetti aesthetic.
The home became a testbed for Fornasetti’s work with colour and motif: unique designs, original furniture, found objects and inspirations fill the rooms. Piero’s home became a living archive of his style – the result is an intoxicating, magical experience. The house remains the Fornasetti family home and has been maintained and developed by Piero’s son, Barnaba Fornasetti.