Stefano Pilati probably didn’t think of much when he threw straw rugs over wicker armchairs and arranged them around a sofa at a summer residence in Sicily, Italy.
Fahad Hariri was so enchanted by the aesthetic impact of these casual gestures that he invited the Italian fashion designer to do a project for Pinto, the Paris-based interior design agency he owns, chairs and co-artistic director since August 2020.
Pilati’s undulating hat-shaped chair and curved, low sofa are unveiled in the French capital during Couture Week, bridging the gap between fashion design and bespoke furnishings craftsmanship. Indeed, Pilati’s rug-covered chairs will be cast in bronze with a wax-like patina. A limited edition of eight copies will be produced, starting at 45,000 euros.
The massive, low sofa exudes a scent of Asia with its origami-like pleats, the armrests dressed in extra swag, like French cuffs on a dress shirt. The rustic sand-coloured fabric is known as Shanghai and comes from French furnishing specialist Maison Pierre Frey, although it is also available in velvet. The Pinto agency added monkey pillows for fantasy.
Thirty of the sofas are to be produced, each featuring a solid oak base, high resilience foam padding of varying densities, coil springs to provide comfort and buoyancy, and a price tag of 65,000 Euros.
Hariri, a fan of Pilati’s designs since the time of Yves Saint Laurent, says he wants to “break down the barriers” between disciplines by inviting guest designers, exalting here the skill of draping and the sense of proportion of a seasoned and acclaimed fashion designer.
“I took on this project because I find industrial and artisanal design generally inspiring,” Pilati told WWD. “It is possible to find affinities through the industrial aspect of fashion design where it becomes necessary to recall the physics, gravity, proportions and tensions shared between elements and surfaces. Upholstery, as a craft, is something a fashion designer can understand with some familiarity, I believe.
Pilati said her chair and sofa were “designed to be in spaces where indoors and outdoors coexist seamlessly.”
When asked if he sees himself going further in interior design, the Italian designer replied: “I love decorating spaces myself and I trust my style as I do my fashion. Pinto is a fantastic “wardrobe” of inspirations.
Pilati is probably best known for his eight-year stint as creative director of YSL and his three years as creative helm of Ermenegildo Zegna. The designer has also held senior positions in fabric design and development for several Italian design houses, including Miu Miu, Prada and Giorgio Armani.
In 2017 he started a new fashion project in Berlin called Random Identities.
Hariri said he was leaning towards a good artist for the next collaboration, while noting that Pilati would continue to create designs for Pinto.
Founded by Alberto Pinto in Paris in 1971, the interior design firm has registered over 500 projects, including the Hôtel Lambert in Paris, a private mansion converted into a hotel in the city’s 4th arrondissement; the Tour Odéon, a double skyscraper apartment in Monaco; The Lanesborough Hotel in London; and several palaces, residences, corporate offices, jets, and mega yachts.
Son of the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri, Fahad Hariri has long been passionate about the decorative arts and has entrusted the Pinto agency with five personal projects. He took over the business when the founder’s sister, Linda Pinto, decided to retire. He shares artistic direction with Pietro Scaglione.
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