I like to fantasize about a period décor, the antiquity, traditions, elegant woods, beautiful but simple furniture, how about you? Perhaps you see yourself sipping a glass of aged Bordeaux wine while sitting by a carved stone fireplace, you know, that kind which has a large mouth and a very tall mantel. I remember one of those in my grandmother’s home when I used to stand in it and feel completely tall. It is a nice feeling to go back in time and sense the enveloping of classicism and the warm atmosphere of the past. Do you like to smell the wood and do you appreciate looking at the craftsmanship of artisans who worked on wood like a sweet poetry? Then you would like “Arte Povera” in your home.
Arte Povera, literally “Poor Art” is a movement which started in Italy in the decade between 1960 and 1970 by the Italian art critic and curator Germano Celant. It sprung up as a rebellion and as a rejection of the convoluted and massive Italian furniture used before World War II. Urban artists from Genova, Milano, Torino and Roma exhibited their works in various galleries showing a new concept of making art using poor and recycled materials and bringing art into a new dimension. The ‘60s in Italy were turmoil times, every level of culture was attacked by cynicism, skepticism and rejection of the past, but it was also a time which a new consumerism was embraced. Italy, as the whole Europe was enjoying a new post-war wealth, consuming every possible merchandise was a very attractive idea. I remember the first Vesta and Lambretta (mopeds) and the first, very exciting Fiat 500. What a jewels they were! Contradiction, modernity and simplicity marked the ‘60s in Italy.
Arte Povera as I said started as a rejection of the heavy and classic bourgeois art of the past. The new concept of furnishing in the ‘60s was conceived with simplicity in mind, taking inspiration from the simple woods and linear shapes of the farms and country life, but some other furnishing were made with new everyday materials, interchangeable, vibrant colors, anything and everything was used as the new material, making Arte Povera so modern and surprisingly contemporary even for this new millennium.
Last year I went on vacation and spent a few days at a B&B in the Salento area, a southern Italian region. The architecture was a typical farm-house with stone walls and vaulted ceiling also made of stones. Furnishing was made of decape’ farmer’s pieces and soothing colors. My room was beautifully elegant in its simplicity of Arte Povera, it was very homey and cozy, but the price was not at all poor. I must say that since in Italy furnishing in the Arte Povera style is in high demand, it has become very expensive.
Decape’ style, or Shabby Chic is one style comprised in the Arte Povera. This is the perfect style to renovate old furniture that has little value. With a few paint techniques, it is possible to exalt the simple beauty of an old piece and to create a romantic retro environment.In the kitchen I have designed for one of my client (photo),
In the kitchen I have designed for one of my client (photo), the kitchen cabinets were made of oak stained in dark walnut, the client brought in an old dining table from a farmer that really added character to the kitchen room. The look we were after was that of a country Italian kitchen, but every detail was well-studied and executed with the same care and passion characteristic of the poor farmers making their own furniture by hand. My experience of decades in interior designing allows me to rebuild or restore any décor by taking care of the small details that will change your home into a master piece, even if it is decorated as a “Poor Art”. If you have a creative vein, you can tackle a project of refinishing a piece of furniture in the decape’ or poor art style, but if you want a well-researched and sophisticated look in the Arte Povera you should consider working with a professional. This is why many people are discovering the benefits of working with me as their trusted interior designer and consultant, someone who can make you feel at home in all of your dreams and decisions. Ciao,
Copyright © 2010 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved
Valentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior Designer in business since 1990. She loves to remodel homes and loves to turn unattractive spaces into castles. Being Italian born and raised, Valentina’s design work has been influenced by Classicism and stylish, timeless designs. She will create your everyday living with a certain luxury without taking away your comfort. Check out her books on