If you take a look at a museum collection of antique furniture – desirably, untouched by time – you will find that many of these exquisite pieces are decorated with inlay. Aren’t they impressive? Talented artisans, most of whom remained unknown, turned plain wooden boards and parts into masterpieces by inlaying them with small pieces of veneer, metals, mother of pearl, tortoise shell, bone, ivory, horn, semi-precious stones, and other materials. Remarkable skill of these craftsmen still draws awe and admiration.
Italian Cabinet Makers: Outstanding Skill and Centuries-Old Traditions
Italy can boast of numerous brilliant cabinet makers who in fact were artists rather than handicrafters. Luigi Prinotto and Giuseppe Maggiolini, Giuseppe Maria Bonzanigo and Pietro Piffetti, to name a few – these Italian luxury furniture makers of the past centuries are acclaimed all over the world, and their fame will never fade.
Wonderful pictures by Giuseppe Maggiolini and Pietro Piffetti composed out of small pieces of veneer (this technique, similar to inlay, is called marquetry) turn heads in museums and please the eye of fortunate private collectors. Giuseppe Maggiolini, in particular, was known to use a remarkably wide range of woods – eighty-six species, from common to rare and exotic.
For centuries, numerous Italian craftsmen have been creating impressive inlayed furniture pieces, some of them are real tour de force. Successors of these masters – modern Italian high-end furniture makers -inherited their predecessors’ passion for excellence and sense of beauty, as well as lots of know-how and trade secrets, some of which are several centuries old.
Worthy Successors to Old Masters
Needless to say, that XXI-century furniture making is an industry that greatly differs from what it was a century before, not to mention earlier times. From this point of view, inlay and marquetry are very demanding techniques. Well, when we say ‘inlay’, we, first of all, think of flight of imagination, mastery, excellence… and plenty of meticulous work.
In a certain sense, we can compare inlay to lacework making. Handmade lace takes so much time and effort to make that nobody will sew it on cheap everyday clothes. In view of that, inlay has always been a sign of high-class or custom-made furniture. Especially nowadays, when mass production of furniture has become mainstream.
But anyway, inlayed furniture hasn’t died out. Italian luxury furniture producers – for example, Bellavista Collection – managed to keep old methods and take this millennia-old technique to a new level.
Combining deep-rooted traditions with innovative technologies has proved successful, and the time- and labour-consuming technique got a second wind. Although inlay remains one of the most painstaking fabrication routes in furniture-making, the end result is definitely worth all the effort.
Chic and Harmony
Inlayed wooden pieces from Bellavista Collection always look splendid and attract plenty of attention at trade shows. For example, in 2015 at Maison&Objet Bellavista Collection among other exhibits showcased TOM – a side table with an inlayed chessboard.
By the way, high-end wooden chessboards traditionally are made using inlay technique. Sometimes such board become a part of tables, intended especially for playing table games. If you are fond of chess, checkers, backgammon, and card games, you may enjoy one more Bellavista’s gaming table. Named LAS VEGAS, this table was designed in 2018. One of its two removable boards is inlaid. It’s two-sided: one side is intended for playing chess or checkers, and the other side – for backgammon.
As for the exhibits shown the most recent trade event – 58th edition of Salone Internazionale Del Mobile, which ended on April 14 – Bellavista Collection displayed a number of genuinely chic items there. Inlaid or made of valuable exotic woods, Bellavista’s showpieces did spark visitors’ interest.
Glorious ebony turned out to be a great choice for the two of three fancy-looking PAC MAN coffee tables. Their distinct shape put a smile on the visitors’ faces. When looking at it, some of the people thought of Pac-man – an old arcade game that was all the rage in the 1980s. Actually, Attilio Zanni, Bellavista’s brilliant all-around designer who created designs for all the exhibits, mentioned that it was that game that inspired him to choose such a form. Well, some of the attendees– those who had a sweet tooth or were just hungry – might have thought a huge chocolate cake with a piece cut out. Anyway, these tables found great favor with the visitors of Bellavista’s display booth.
Choosing polished Tanganyika frisé wood for ALEXANDER sideboard, Mr. Zanni scored a hit as well. This item, showcased in two variants, was created shortly before the event and was first shown to the public at Milan Furniture Salon. So were the elegant larch OSCAR table and QUATTRO PASSI dining table made of splendid-looking ebony.
All of them you could see at Booth F26 in Hall 3. The section where Bellavista Collection displays its showpieces year by year ever since 2010, is called xLux. It unites producers of really deluxe pieces. xLux section is all about brilliant designs, only top-quality materials and unimpeachable craftsmanship. In other words, everything Bellavista Collection is known for.
Furniture for Sweet Life
Everybody who saw Bellavista’s showpieces at this edition of Salone Internazionale Del Mobile, couldn’t help recalling chic and glamour of the past.
When talking about the exhibits shown at iSaloni 2019, Attilio Zanni made no secret of where he got inspiration from. Not just design of the past, but also the Attilio’s memories of his childhood were reflected in the design.
Another source of inspiration this year had been “Dolce Vita” period, which is Italian for “Sweet life” and is extremely easy to perceive but equally difficult to explain. It has everything to do with the art of living a life to the full, enjoying all aspects of life, getting pleasure from everything, including lovely and enjoyable things – like the ones Bellavista Collection recently showcased at iSaloni 2019.