The matriarch of the Missoni family and creator of the booming Missoni Home brand opens up about her design inspirations and the secret to a beautiful space.
YLiving: Have you always been interested in home design? Please describe.
Rosita Missoni: Home is one of my biggest passions. The home is alive. It's constantly evolving and never finished and this has colored the Missoni Home brand philosophy and collection, which over the years has changed and expanded from fabrics to furnishings. From the very beginning I styled my home in an unconventional way, using our knitted fabrics to decorate and upholster flea-market pieces of furniture, asking my husband to design special rugs or wall hangings.
YV: What prompted you to pursue this as a business?
RM: After years in the fashion business my life had changed and I felt I no longer had the right antennas to capture the fashion moods. I had lost the passion. But my passion was stronger than ever when it came to the home.
YV: What or who are some of your design inspirations?
RM: Sonia Delaunay (the French artist know for using strong colors and geometric shapes) and the Bloomsbury artists are some of my style icons.
YV: How do you see people with more traditional taste incorporating your bold designs into their spaces?
RM: Unusual fabrics and surprising objects that are innovative and light are designed to add a touch of liveliness to an existing interior. They separate and divide, allowing movement from one point to another, and create the space for delightful new ideas.
YV: In some of the Missoni hotels you pair your distinctive furnishings with mid-century classics. Can you discuss how you feel these complement each other?
RM: In our family we love to entertain at home in a simple, but not obvious way. In our hotels we try to translate this lifestyle, not looking for a wow factor but more for a charming, subtle, seductive effect. A balance of comfort, efficiency, elegance, a welcoming atmosphere, well-designed furniture, beautiful fabrics, and color highlights is necessary. An example of this is Hans Wegner's classic mid-century chairs in the same hotel as Antonio Citterio's semicircular sofas in a colorful striped velvet.
YV: What makes for a beautiful space?
RM: Design that makes everyday things - a house, a piece of furniture, an object - look new and comfortable, yet surprising and desirable. For me, this is a must.
YV: How is your own home decorated? Do you have a favorite piece and why?
RM: My home is free for movement and meetings, the comings and goings of family or when friends and acquaintances unexpectedly drop in. It's important to encourage emotions and curiosity, to transform the space into an oasis of colors and moods, a comfortable shell with pleasant and unusual elements put together with a free flow of ideas.
I do not consider myself a designer, but rather a “life style setter” and I have many favorite designer pieces in my homes. I love Scandinavian design for its simplicity, comfort, and innovative shapes and materials. I have a passion for Mackintosh revolving tables. Marcel Wander's Knotted Chair is a favorite accent I use in corners. I also have a grey-and-white space-dyed linen version of the Maxalto sofa by Citterio and Hans Wegner's armchairs.
YV: What are some of your favorite design shops in Italy?
RM: Spazio Rossana Orlandi in Milan because of its wonderful space and mixture of objects and art exhibitions that match my taste. Also, Driade for its signature designs and Skitsch for its contemporary furniture and all kinds of curious design objects.
— By Jennifer Bush