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May 23, 2016
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The Timeless Designs of Renzo Mongiardino

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Architect, set and interior designer, Renzo Mongiardino, the Merlin of decoration, would have been 100 years old this month.  Known as “The Architect of Illusion” and “creator of ambiance,” he had the unique ability to play with proportion and blend the past and present. In honor of his birthday, we are taking a look back at some of his iconic projects and rarely seen spaces that are a testament to his legacy – and timeless designs.

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Mongiardino was a true scholar that loved history.  In his book, Roomscapes, he wrote, “I think it is a mistake to treat ancient and modern as if a barrier divided them…” His imagination and vision gained him a client list that included Lee Radziwill, Marella Agnelli and the de Rothschild’s. His work resonated with people from all walks of life and different design aesthetics.  The Italian decorator was a master when it came to transforming spaces and making them warm, comfortable and mysterious.  Above Right: Mongiardino’s dressing room full of Turkish influence, faux finishes, rich colors and patterns.

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“Every voyage into the past is an opportunity to study the rules that guide our present work. Infinite variations alternate in place and time. The assertion that dimensions of four walls, a floor, and a ceiling can suggest innumerable rooms leads us to observe, with curiosity, some of these possible variations and many unexpected resemblances.” - Renzo Mongiardino, Roomscapes (Above, a grand room in a Paris Villa where he crated Faux inlaid marble in a damask pattern.)

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Inspired by Villa Falconieri, this London garage was transformed into a Woodland Room. Columns replicated in the painting create a deep perspective view while lush greenery, flowers and plants envelope the space.

The Garani Villa

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"...beauty is objective..." - Renzo Mongiardino

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One of Mongiardino’s first projects was the Garani Villa in 1953.  Located in Fiesole, he collaborated with Lila de Nobili, who created small paintings in the center of the walls throughout the villa. Trompe l’oeil vines and latticework remain untouched to this day.

The Carraro Residence

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Franco and Sandra Carraro asked Mongiardino to transform their 17th Century house in Trastevere, Rome, in 1975.  The Living Room showcases his talent, the trompe l’oeil coffered dome. Throughout the house you will find faux marble pedestals, trompe l’oeil painting, walls of atmospheric landscapes, unpretentious wicker, and layer upon layer of juxtaposition.

The Zanussi Apartment

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The Zanussi Apartment located in Milan was completed in 1978. Complete with panels of painted fabrics, faux bois patterned velvet with painted wicker and not a white lampshade in sight.

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Above: The Library/Hallway is rich with layering, texture and color.

Robert Peregalli, who worked with Mongiardino and now carries on his aesthetic through Studio Peregalli with his partner Laura Sartori Rimini, said “He understood the real challenge was to work with difficult spaces, to completely transform them, make them livable, while at the same time shockingly beautiful. He was a scholar of history, but he wasn’t constrained by it. He used it.”

“The goal, the miracle of beauty in art, lies in the rules, but goes beyond the rules. It holds its own mystery, contained within itself. The belief that beauty is objective (absolute) and not subjective (relative) is the only way one can believe in beauty at all.” – Renzo Mongiardino, Roomscapes

Happy Birthday, Mongiardino!

Photos from, Roomscapes, Rizzoli, 1993. T-Magazine, Oberto Gili and Simon Upton.

 

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Design

The Charlotte Moss collection of fabrics and trims for Fabricut includes over 100 new items, including prints, wovens, and trimmings.  “Charlotte Moss is highly regarded in the industry as a powerful marketer and informed designer,” says David Finer, CEO of Fabricut.  Charlotte’s inspiration for the collection is drawn from antiques and vintage documents from her personal collection.  Other inspirations include architectural themes and, of course, her garden. Collaborating with the designers at Fabricut, direction and inspiration for the collection was found within her immense anthology of textile documents, items acquired during her travels and images she's captured behind her camera. Adding to her vision and attention to detail for this collection, each pattern name has its own story. Fabrics are named in honor of her muses – women travelers and explorers who pushed boundaries in many ways. Charlotte explains, "you knew what these women stood for, they had a mission, and as a result, left us legacies that inspire. They are like guiding lights."

Charlotte's second collection of fabrics and trims debuting in the 2015 features luscious wovens, fresh prints and stunning trimmings in three color stories - Canvas, Deep Coral and Watercolor.

“Bits of inspiration find you along your path or you find them. However the story goes, there was an attraction, an emotional reaction that caused the two of you to go home together. A tile, a turtle shell, a vintage scarf; a few of the things that inspired this collection...” -Charlotte Moss

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Charlotte Moss Books
The Nancy Lancaster Vase

Based on the three tiered balustraded vase in Nancy Lancaster’s writing room at Ditchley Park. A limited number are now available for purchase.

16″w x 10″d x 18″h. Includes the vase, glass tubes and two spare tubes.

$2,700.00 (includes S/H)

Buy a personalized signed book here:

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About Charlotte Moss
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Since opening her business in 1985, Charlotte has designed private residences and executive suites all over the United States and the Caribbean. In addition to designing interiors, Charlotte Moss’ career has included retail stores, celebrated for Charlotte’s unique blend of American, European and Classical influences.

Having launched her career on Wall Street, Charlotte has a keen sense for the shifting sands of change, amid all her decorating prowess. Widening her reach in recent years, Charlotte Moss, LLC now brings her signature Flair for Living to consumers worldwide with collections available under license. She has designed fabric and trim for Fabricut, carpeting, sisals and soon-to-be scenic mural wallpapers for Stark Carpet, and china for Pickard. Most recently, Charlotte has used her experience culled from twenty-five years of decorating couture homes to design a collection of furniture and upholstery with Century Furniture. Charlotte’s collection of framed decorative art for Soicher-Marin, which launched at the High Point Market, is based in-part on her own photography.

Charlotte is a sought-after speaker, lecturing widely on all the arts of living. Recent lecture titles include:

  • “Where Ideas Come From”
  • “A Flair for Living”
  • “Having a Visual Life”
  • “Living Well: The Key to an Enduring Style”
  • “Age Defying Decorating”
  • “What Sparks Your Creativity?”
  • “Show Me the Content: Design Blogging Today”
  • “Design Muse: Great Women of Style”

She has written nine books to date. Her most recent title, Garden Inspirations was published by Rizzoli in April of 2015. In addition to writing books, she frequently contributes to The Wall Street Journal.

Charlotte’s work has been published in shelter magazines worldwide and she has received numerous awards, including The Timeless Design Award, given by the Royal Oak Foundation, Elle Décor’s VISION AWARD and Traditional Home magazine’s list of the worlds’ Top 20 interior designers. Last May, Charlotte was honored with the Circle of Excellence Award from the International Furnishings & Design Association (IFDA) for the field of interior design.

Charlotte considers her most important work to be her community service and philanthropy. She serves on the Boards of The Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello, The Bone Marrow Foundation, The Elsie de Wolfe Foundation and the Advisory Board of The New York School of Interior Design, where she received an Honorary Doctorate Degree. Charlotte sits on the Acquisitions Committee at The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology. On May 16, 2013, Charlotte was honored by the Bone Marrow Foundation with the Brandon Tartikoff Award at the ‘Be A Lifeline’ benefit gala.

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