On one of the hottest days of summer, award-winning designer Francesco Meda strolls around his modern furnishings and vibrant décor on one foot, ready for a photo op. The other got screwed on a ski trip in Alaska, and one can’t help but feel bad for him as he rambles around the house neatly putting away carvings and keepsakes and urging his daughter to pick up after herself.

He pauses for a minute, balancing on Acerbis’ famous steel-and-fur Nanda Vigo Due Piu chair, and pulls out his phone to share where and how he got his red Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Midway Garden chair for a bargain. in 1914 and redesigned by Cassina in 1986.

If one is lucky enough to be invited into this burst of color home, it’s a great place to admire the past, present and future icons of the contemporary design scene – from the Piero Fornasetti wall lamp to the black and white portrait given to his wife, Alessandra Orci, as a gift from French-American photographer Elliot Erwit. in 2012. There’s also a wealth of work by the artists he’s eager to introduce – a painting by Veronese’s Flaminia, whose exhibition “The Hermitcrab’s Wundershell” he recently hosted by Marni, and “Palms on Rolling Paper” by another friend in their entourage, Margherita Chiarfa.

Medea is also quick to say that he doesn’t think a home should ever look like a showroom and that the house is very much a reflection of the family’s history, its creative roots, and his many travels with Orsi on special projects.

For example, a three-year project led them to Guadalajara, Mexico, where he would spend 10 days every six months designing a furniture brand. Having a job was not necessary for economic gain, but it gave them a rare opportunity to immerse themselves in the abundance of local craftsmen such as blacksmiths, carpenters, potters, glassmakers, and weavers. There they discovered the Ceramica Sora brand, a tile factory, pottery studio and art center that attracts discerning gourmets from all over the world.

Their house, which greets guests with a long hallway that connects to the kitchen and opens into the living room, was cut “like a maze” from an old family mansion where more than four generations of the Orsi family lived and raised children. It has been divided to accommodate the new generation and their growing families.

The Orsi family is known for its reputation as fine antiques dealers. The couple’s family unit is spread over two floors, one for the adults upstairs and one downstairs for the two daughters. Glancing at the verdant courtyard garden below, it’s hard not to imagine how many special events have been held over the past two centuries or whether there have been any ghosts roaming its halls.

“Nothing I know,” Meda laughed, though some mysteries remained, like the lonely Gothic window in the bathroom, at which he shrugs. “I actually have no idea how that happened.”

A trained industrial designer, his own creations come alive in the home. the ultra-light bridge lamp he designed for Foscarini; The Seconda chair designed by Mario Botta for Alias ​​(which he and Spanish architect David López Quincoces re-edited for Alias), and the Split Table made of “Cippollino marble” are some of the models he designed under his own name in 2016. The table is VarioPinto vases The eclecticism he conceived of with his father, the famous designer and academic Alberto, with whom he often works. Nearby, a metal pole lamp also made by his father, called a teepee, lights the dining room, drawing guests towards a lithograph of Andy Warhol’s “Flowers” from 1964.

“Making design products all the time often leads me to bring prototypes indoors to see how they might work in a real home environment,” he says, pointing to a bench, coffee table and abstract stool he made that never went into production.

Elsewhere, there’s just the right amount of antiques – from a chinoiserie painted circa 1880 by Orsi’s grandfather, a noted Milanese antiques dealer; The Piero Castellini Baldassera dresser and sheer-fabric canopy bed, in the master bedroom, painted okra yellow—work as elements of the Maharaja’s ‘Passage to India’ theme. The 1956 Ignazio Gardella Arenzano table lamp was a staple in Orsi’s ancestral home, and 17th-century porcelain vases bought at auction are among the pieces that add a sense of comfort to the curated rooms.

Downstairs, the shelf of the Hub System that Meda and his father designed for Alias ​​in 2022 is filled with books and vivid drawings of Palma, his youngest daughter, who just turned five (her name comes from her mother’s obsession with palm trees). Proof of this is that one of Alessandra’s most prized possessions is a life-size palm figurine that her father gave her. A natural beauty, she works as a fashion consultant, as well as managing Dalwin Design, where she hand-paints watercolor motifs applied to various surfaces such as textiles and ceramics.

The girls’ rooms are filled with hand-painted stripes, and the bedding is made of Pierre Frey fabric with animal prints. “The use of color is innate in our cultures,” Meda comments, referring to the irreplaceable red-painted walls mixed with dyes the two found on one of their adventures that led them to a souk in Marrakesh, Morocco.

A relatively young designer on the Italian circuit, with a wide portfolio of projects involving some of the country’s biggest brands, his vision and appreciation for the past led to his appointment as Creative Director of the Acerbis brand in 2020, alongside Spanish designer López Quincoces.

Born in 1984, Maida studied Industrial Design at IED in Milan before working for Sebastian Bergeni and Ross Lovegrove in London for two years and exploring art/design with other companies and galleries such as Nilufar, Rossana Orlandi, Mint and Schoeni Art Gallery. in Hong Kong. His collection, Orme Cinesi, was shown at Lane Crawford in Hong Kong, and later at Shueneyi Art Gallery in 2012-2013 during the Hong Kong Art Fair.

He and his father designed the acoustic panel Flap for Caimi Brevetti, for which they won the 2015 German Design Award, the 2016 Design Europe Award and the 2016 Compasso d’Oro Award. Meda also won the 2019 Wallpaper Design Award for his Woody chair for Molteni & C.

Among the many offerings first presented during Milan Design Week in April, Meda envisioned a small collection that resulted in a series of chairs, sideboards, tables, coffee tables and consoles by C Design, a furnishings and accessories startup made in partnership with Florentine. Furniture maker Chelini and sold exclusively at Galleria Rossana Orlandi.

“It’s all about my perfect home. The materials are basic but by no means cheap. We wanted to do something light and build a world of color that makes you want to linger,” says Meda, who often works with combinations of materials like wood, metal and lava stone in luxurious finishes. Lava from Mount Vesuvius near Naples is the basis for an upcoming project that will be revealed at Edit, a three-day contemporary design fair that will start in Naples on October 6.

Looking to the future, Francesco says he hopes he has time to focus on a more artisanal path rather than an industrial one. The industry is changing, and it’s not uncommon for designers like him to transition into an art director, which will give him the opportunity to work with photographers, consultants, and 360-degree exchanges.

He says this kind of transformation happens more in the fashion world, where someone like Pharrell Williams can rise to the role of creative director of menswear at a major luxury house like Louis Vuitton. “I was born into this fluid world of design, but I believe that when two shared worlds meet with the right empirical output, that moment has the potential to endure as something historic.”

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