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Viva Italia! Shawn Henderson,'s Design Director, is Heading (Figuratively) to Italy for Decor Inspiration. FASHIONTRIBES HOME DECOR BLOG & PODCAST Interview

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(Clockwise from top left: Gio Ponti wall-mounted dresser c. 1953; Max Ingrand chandelier c. 1955; Lucio Fontana & Osvaldo Borsano coffee table c. 1955; Ermanno Toso Nexrox 'a petoni' vase c. 1958 - all photos: Wright Auction House -

"There was recently a huge auction at the Wright Auction House in Chicago of an amazing collection of Italian furniture," explains Shawn Henderson, the Design Director of's Home & Garden division. "Some of the important names included Gio Ponti, a furniture maker in the 30s, 40s, 50s. The craftsmanship and wood furniture is incredible. He also did really interesting collaborations with other artisans in glass, with cabinetmakers and lighting designers. Fornasetti is also another important name; he's best known for the plates, but he also made chairs and cabinets, and used the same idea of the collage effect on furniture. Also, there's a lot of beautiful glass out of Italy, especially chandeliers from Venini and Murano."

To incorporate something like a chandelier into a modern home without coming across as too contrived, Henderson advises giving the ginormous over-the-top designs a miss and opting for something more refined and beautiful. "I recently bought a Venini chandelier for a client. It was a big 20 inch sphere made from individual pieces of glass. It was stunning and looked thoroughly modern." And lastly, don't think you have to transform your entire crib into an ersatz Mediterranean lair. "Even if it's just adding a few accessories - whether it's something like a vase or plate - start small and work up to big pieces of furniture. Mid-century Italian designers used a different construction methods than you see now, and the forms and shapes are beautiful, organic, and a touch playful."

For more-more-more Shawn, check out his newletter: What I Love

Finding Italian design is easy on

Ebay_5  Ebay_7  Fornasetti cabinet & coaster (both

Ebay Gio Ponti chair - Annies Antiques on

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Left to right: Art Deco Venini chandelier from Vintage Views Postcards; Murano available at Venetian Creation (both

- Lesley Scott


January 17, 2007 in Design, Home Decor, PODCAST, Trend Alert, Weblogs | Permalink


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