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Published by Sugar & Cream, Tuesday 14 May 2024

Images courtesy of Fornasetti

A Magical Surrealist Collection

Ceci n’est pas une salle à manger For Milan Design Week 2024, Fornasetti transforms the dining room into a magical, surrealist space.

The Milanese atelier employs its savoir-faire to explore the boundaries between decoration and object, reality and illusion, two-dimensionality and three-dimensionality, mixing them, creating connections and inviting the viewer to unleash their imagination in a surrealist interplay between container and content. By means of deliberate juxtapositions of orders of reality – enhanced by Fornasetti’s graphic style and dreamlike language – these new pieces of furniture and accessories fill the dining room with magic.

New multi-sided storage pieces, tables, with novel shapes and materials, and chairs that combine historic charm with contemporary lines and the comfort of padded fabrics, all blend functionality and fantasy.

The “Vasi” buffet and cabinet bar – made of screen-printed and hand-lacquered wood in the Atelier’s finest tradition – have an internal design that can be adapted to hold glasses and other objects for the dining room, and are larger than customary Fornasetti furniture.
• The cabinet bar polyhedric immediately catches the eye with its generous dimensions and attention to detail. Externally, it features decorations of vases, wine glasses and bottles. Their solid colour fields, obtained through a long process of hand silk-screen printing, create a chromatic contrast that ensures they stand out impressively against the black or ivory background. But it is when opened that this cabinet reveals its full charm, thanks to the decoration on the inside of the doors, which echoes that on the outside, and the soft integrated lighting that elegantly highlights the brass finishing and the ribbed mirrored glass.
• The buffet polyhedric features the same decorations as the cabinet bar, creating a dialogue with the dining room and with what this piece of furniture may in turn hold, arranged horizontally to follow its long shape. Its spacious side compartments and central drawer can store everything required for a perfect mise en place.

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The table collection is enriched with new designs:
• The “Oggetti sparsi” table has a functional rectangular top resting on stained solid wood legs and brass tips, a tribute to the design and finishing of the 1950s. The decorations, screen-printed by hand, create a contrast against the hand-sponged brown or ivory background, giving them a mysterious floating appearance.
• The “Giostra di frutta” table boasts a convivial round wooden top, screen-printed, lacquered and painted by hand, and also has stained solid wooden legs with brass tips. Gazing at the swirl of hand-painted fruits filling the large top, one can almost feel the dizzying sense of horror vacui.

For the first time, Fornasetti tables are also available with tops made of decorated glass that celebrate Fornasetti’s unmistakable style in this material as well. The decorations are thus used to create playful illusions, exploiting the combination of transparency and graphic lines.

The new padded chairs have a solid wooden frame stained black with brass or chrome-plated metal tips, along with padded seats and backrests upholstered in jacquard fabric. Featuring the same legs as the tables and with four different motifs playfully referencing the dining room, as in the case of “Bottiglie e cocktail”, they blend perfectly into this setting, filling it with bright colours and imagination.

The decorations used for these new creations pay homage to two projects executed by Piero Fornasetti in Milan in the late 1940s and early 1950s, namely the Pasticceria Dulciora and Casa Lucano, both places of conviviality and hospitality.

All the original patterns are in fact the result of meticulous research from the archives in a series of playful pairings between the furniture and its surroundings.

Lastly, the Atelier is reissuing numerous trays, an object of which Piero Fornasetti considered himself the inventor, because, as he liked to say, “at a certain moment in our civilisation, we no longer knew how to present a glass, a message, a poem.” In particular, after almost half a century of absence, the oval tray returns, enriching the range of shapes of these objects that, like precious picture frames, hold and celebrate hypnotic still lifes.

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