Italian Madness And Practicality | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

Milano Triennale Exhibition this month of November 2013 celebrates 100 years of Piero Fornasetti’s work as a painter, sculptor, interior decorator and engraver. 100 years of practical madness is the name of the exhibition due to the practicality Fornasetti’s objects offer with a twist. A bit of surreal feel doesn’t hurt in everyday life, almost like an escape from reality.  I particularly like a pixellated wall representing a woman’s eye with a real convex mirror as the iris. Face and hand are the trademarks of the Milanese born artist who produced approximately 13,000 objects through his artistic life. He took a theme and plaid on its variations to the nth power.


(Most photos shown in my slide are courtesy of ©Designboom)

His famous plates portraying  the face of opera singer Lina (Natalina) Cavalieri are known worldwide and they are highly collectible. Fornasetti found her face in a nineteenth-century French magazine and used it in many variations creating whimsical imagery as he pleased. It has been said that Fornasetti was her assiduous admirer and covered his bathroom walls with many plates onto which Lina’s face was immortalized forever. It must have been hard to know he was only a small part of her large number of admirers, followers, fiancées and husbands. Apparently she was one of those rare beauties every men wanted. Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida reenacted her life in the film “The most beautiful woman in the world”.

Not all Fornasetti’s plates carry Lina’s face. He produced many more with animal and snakes with written, strange recipes printed on the front, such as snake à la Cleopatra and oyster egg omelette. Other plates design carried printed architectural details from Palladian villas, Venetian street scenes and symbols of Italian culture. He created chairs with capitals, dressers with lips and furniture with Neo-Classical building façades. His trompe-l’oeil screens are adorable, suitable for illusionist theatrical tricks, I would not mind having one example in my house. Being particularly attracted to the screen as a mobile object, Fornasetti studied the function of this element of décor through various historical periods and produced quite whimsical pieces also in many variations.

Remarkable are the variations of ashtrays that describe a culture of smoking, when smoking was accepted as both relaxation and social recreation. Shaped like small dishes, today his ashtrays can be used to serve canapés and will be perfectly fashionable on any table.

The Milano Triennale will stay open from November 2013 to February 9th, 2014.

The master illusionist of ornament and design left us numerous examples of objects that are, but they are really not, objects that are pleasant and functional and others that are purely decorative with no function.  However we hope 100 more years will not pass before we can see practical madness again into everyday objects. Being Italian I can help you find some original pieces  in the meander of Italy. Ciao,


Copyright © 2013 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

ValentinaBlueStampValentina Cirasola is an Italian interior designer in business since 1990. She is passionate about colors and all expressive arts. She is a “colorist”. To her, selecting art means to bring out the best energy of her clients and nourish their soul. She is the author of her book on the subject of colors: ©Red-A Voyage Into Colors available on



2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Izabela Wojcik
    Nov 27, 2013 @ 01:20:23

    Thanks for sharing. Loved the read.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


"La flamme des cuisines."

Teagan's Books

Now available: "Three Things Serial, a Little 1920s Story"


Any old world uncovered by new writing

The Love of History

Another site/blog for loving history

Life is too short to drink bad wine

La vie est trop courte pour boire du mauvais vin

Badfish & Chips Cafe

Travel photos, memoirs & letters home...from anywhere in the world


a journey of discovery with my camera...


Vague Meanderings of the Broke and Obscure

Chasing Destino

I'll be outside of the mosh pit . . . waiting with bandaids and kleenex . . . I can also work magic with an ace bandage. Just sayin' . . .

this man's journey

Each journey has a story to tell. Each story has the possibility to bring about change, hope, joy, comfort, healing.


Fine Art Photographer ~ Daring to be Different

Through Harold's Lens

Harold Green Photography

HarsH ReaLiTy

A Good Blog is Hard to Find

The Punchy Lands!

Embrace Your PUNCHY Nature

In Bruttium

Uncovering Calabria & The Mezzogiorno, One Toe At A Time. | By Adam Underhill

Design Secrets

fulfill your craving for a beautiful home

Decorating by Donna • Color Expert

A Virtual Color Expert who is highly specialized in designing color for your home.

Green Door Hospitality

Adventures in Everyday Entertaining


These letters are written to remind you just how much you matter, just how important you are, and just how beautiful the gift of life as a human is.


Tanaman, Alam Semulajadi Dan Yang Berkaitan

Architecture, Design & Innovation

Construction Industry News & Views

Critique Collective

Critique Collective is your source for information and interviews about emerging and established contemporary artists.

The Dragon Blog

Fantasy Author Raani York's voice

Oh, the Places We See . . .

Honey, grab the GPS.

Zeebra Designs & Destinations

An Artist's Eyes Never Rest


amy begun saab ~life as i see it. a Vermonter deeply entrenched in Alabama i plant flowers.

I see beauty all around by rob paine

Pro Photographer Rob Paine's (of stories behind his photos along with helpful photo tips

%d bloggers like this: