Stefano Pilati probably thought nothing much when he tossed straw rugs over wicker armchairs and tucked them around a sofa at a summer home in Sicily, Italy.
Fahad Hariri was so enchanted by the aesthetic impact of these offhand gestures that he invited the Italian fashion designer to do a project for Pinto, the Paris-based interior design agency where he’s been owner, chairman and co-artistic director since August 2020.
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Pilati’s dreamy, undulating hat-like chair and curving, low-slung sofa are being unveiled in the French capital during couture week, drawing a link between fashion design and the haute craftsmanship of bespoke furnishings. Indeed, Pilati’s rug-covered chairs will be cast in bronze with a wax-like patina. A limited edition of eight will be produced, starting at 45,000 euros.
The hulking, low-slung sofa emits a perfume of Asia with its origami-like folds, the armrests dressed in an extra swag, like French cuffs on a dress shirt. The rustic, sand-colored fabric is known as Shanghai and comes from the heritage French furnishings specialist Maison Pierre Frey, though it is also available in a velour. The Pinto agency added monkey pillows for whimsy.
Thirty of the couches are to be produced, each boasting a solid oak base, high-resilience foam padding of differing densities, coil springs to ensure comfort and buoyancy, and a price tag of 65,000 euros.
Hariri, a fan of Pilati’s designs since his Yves Saint Laurent days, says he wishes to “break down barriers” between disciplines by inviting guest creatives, here exalting the draping skill and eye for proportions of a seasoned and acclaimed fashion designer.
“I agreed to this project because I find industrial and artisanal design generally inspiring,” Pilati told WWD. “It is possible to find some affinities across 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 a certain familiarity, I believe.”
Pilati said his chair and sofa were “conceived to be in spaces where indoor and outdoor coexist seamlessly.”
Asked if he could see himself heading further into interior design, the Italian designer replied: “I love decorating spaces myself and I trust my style as I do in 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 at the creative helm of Ermenegildo Zegna. The designer also worked in senior design and fabric development positions for a number of Italian design houses, including Miu Miu, Prada and Giorgio Armani.
In 2017, he debuted a new fashion project out of Berlin called Random Identities.
Hariri said he’s leaning toward a fine 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 logged more than 500 projects, including the Hôtel Lambert in Paris, a mansion-turned-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 office, jets and mega yachts.
The son of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri, Fahad Hariri has long had a passion for decorative arts and had entrusted the Pinto agency for five personal projects. He took over the firm when the founder’s sister, Linda Pinto, decided to step down. He shares the artistic direction with Pietro Scaglione.
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