18 September 2011

A World Apart,The World of Muriel Brandolini: Interiors

 I commissioned my signature slipper chair, covered in antique fabrics and trims, from Gina Bianco. 
The ‘S.A.M.’ box side table is by Martin Szekely; the rug is by Fedora Design.

photograph by Pieter Estersohn

I converted this beaded 1920s Yoruba headdress into a suspension light for the master bedroom-MB

photograph by Pieter Estersohn

These are the sorts of images in the new Muriel Brandolini book from Rizzoli that will make you gasp for air, & sigh.
Yes, it sounds a little risky-no fears-Muriel Brandolini is heaven sent-and though her design work is full of tight rope walking, it is done on an enchanted wire. The designer's new book The World of Muriel Brandolini: Interiors, is a Revelation-a Revolution-a Respite.

The sofa and pair of armchairs are after Jean-Michel Frank and were custom-made for the project. The sleek lines of the Eileen Gray side table complement the African carved-wood chair and stools. The delicate paper floor lamp is by the Japanese sculptor Noguchi. MB

 photograph by Pieter Estersohn

I remember Muriel Brandolini's work since this image (above) was pressed in the pages of every design publication that was any design publication years ago.
Unique, Unusual, Modern-but not spare, there is an quiet Luxury in Brandolini's Interiors-and though her design life has evolved that Luxury has remained in every interior she touches. The World of Muriel Brandolini-aptly titled- is a world apart. There is an Exoticism along with a Control that is rare in the design world, perhaps it stems from her first career -and a very successful one-as a stylist . With friends and colleagues the likes of the late David Sneider, influences from Mongiardino and her own fascinating heritage-Her Eye had to be Unique-She is an Original.

As one client-(in the wonderful format of book as client & designer comment on their design projects)-puts it:

My immediate sense was that it was something I had never seen before. It is definitively out of the ordinary and yet has tremendous harmony and balance.
This project is featured on the cover of the Brandolini book & is by far my favorite in her oeuvre. Every inch of the rooms of this New York home are exquisite- a marvel to study.

As I began reading this book, I had to stop and reorient myself to the fact that I was reading a book about interior design. Muriel Brandolini's Story-which I will leave you discover in the book-reads like that of a modern day Scheherazade.

photograph by Laura Stojanovic, Town & Country

All that is Muriel is reflected in rooms that turn back upon themselves as quickly as the tales of One Thousand and One Nights & Proust's  À La Recherche du Temps Perdu. Here Brandolini weaves her own unique story into every room, one moment we are in a seraglio, the next in a Belle Epoque Saloon. .

The ‘Bird’ ceiling light in bronze roundels by Francesca Amfitheatrof hangs above the master bedroom’s canopy bed, which was made by Decour. The ‘X’ chair in front of the bed is by Peter Hvidt. On the ‘Substance’ side table in straw marquetry by Hervé Van der Straeten is a 1950s brass and leather table lamp by Paavo Tynell. In a corner sits the 1936 ‘Isokon’ long chair by Marcel Breuer. The ‘Petale’ sconces are by Hervé Van der Straeten; the rug is by Fedora Design.MB

 photograph by Eric Boman

No- the book is not your typical design tome-
but A Life,
A World- The World of Muriel Brandolini.
There is another book afoot here certainly and it fills some of the initial pages of the book with excitement and mystery and what I hope will be a full blown second book about this woman.

 In the living room, the corduroy sofa was made by Jonas Upholstery. The embroidered border along its platform is by Holland & Sherry. I commissioned the ‘Propeller’ coffee table from City Joinery. The wicker chair across from it is by Marc Newson. The ‘Fantasia’ stool is by Elizabeth Grouse, and the rug is by Fedora Design. MB

 photograph by Eric Boman

Muriel Brandolini shares her own home in the book and we see it in several different incarnations. She admits to using her own rooms as a sort of experimental laboratory and I can sense in these images a sort of sorcery.  Pieces disappear and reappear, Textiles and Texture are both rich and spare. There is a certain abandon that is exciting -and yet there is a sureness, a subtlety in her rooms too. It is this balancing act that makes for the most original interiors being created today.

The straw-marquetry bench in the master bedroom is by Lison de Caunes. Gina Bianco created the custom seat cushion in burlap with leather appliqué sewn with metallic thread. The rug is by Fedora Design. MB

photograph by Pieter Estersohn

The library banquette along the window was made by Houston Upholstery. The clear acrylic, floating drinks tables by Alessandro Albrizzi create a light feeling and allow one to look through to the patterned Fedora Design rug. The Chinese lacquer floor lamp is by Hervé Van der Straeten, and the pair of painted wood Hapsburg chairs with Sphinx-shaped arms is from the early twentieth century. MB

photograph by Oberto Gili

Brandolini says her style is evolving.
While words like Individuality, Craft and Authenticity are loosely bantered about in our design lexicon, they take on new meaning in The World of Muriel Brandolini: Interiors.
In her world there exists  harmony in the intricacy of Bugatti and the rarity of Paco Rabanne.
It is a world apart & one that only Muriel Brandolini can conceive, but one were we can enter and return to again and again with this book.

ALL images are used with express permission from Rizzoli, except the Stojanovic photograph (see source below)

The World of Muriel Brandolini : Interiors at the Rizzoli site here
Written by Muriel Brandolini and Amy Tai, Foreword by Wendy Goodman, Afterword by Franca Sozzani,

Photographed by Pieter EstersohnMuriel Brandolini her site here

Muriel Brandolini on Italy in Town & Country here

Another fascinating aspect with the release of the book in Ocotober is the New York Interiors auction by Phillips de Pury & Company of ‘The World of Muriel Brandolini.' "My aim for this sale and exhibition is to transport people into my dream world. My hope is that they realize that there are no rules to follow and that a great design piece is great no matter the era or designer...what matters is its beauty and integrity."-Muriel Brandolini, more here



  1. Love this post really just love her style really speaks to me thanks Gaye.

  2. "Yes, it sounds a little risky-no fears-Muriel Brandolini is heaven sent-and though her design work is full of tight rope walking, it is done on an enchanted wire."

    Now that is what I call "Brilliant Writing!!!"

    We rarely see it.....Please!

    There is a brilliant book in you! I hope you be sure to write it!

    Lovely beyond post.....thank you!

    Please heed me!

  3. While I particularly like the room chosen for the cover of the book, it brings up the question that I have for all the Brandolini interiors; are they just visually interesting or do they actually function? In that huge Fifth Avenue living room, would all the relatively low to the floor lighting be unpleasant at night? But I look forward to seeing and reading more in the book.

  4. Thanks for this review. I will certainly look for Muriel Brandolini's new book, which promises to hold a lot of inspiration. (And I like your phrase, "quiet luxery." Luxery has no need to herald itself!)

  5. Loved seeing such the uniqueness presented here in MB's designs...it's extremely refreshing and interesting,,,much needed in the world of design today don't you think? I look forward to reading it, as well as oogling over the images.
    xo J~

  6. Kaveri, mine too-I love the Vietnamese artisans she uses in her projects.

    Bruce-So creative and I love her work.

  7. Penelope-So lovely to get that compliment, I can Hope too. thanks much, Gaye

  8. John, Interesting in the book-her clients rave over all aspects of her work, naturally. While there may be issues, I think Lighting as a discipline of interior design (in homes) is the most over rated.pgt

  9. Mark- I think that is true of real Luxury too. Any artist will especially appreciate this book!

    24 Corners, it truly is- both refreshing and interesting. You will adore this book. pgt

  10. OMG, I have had that bedroom with the canopy bed on my desktop forever. Everything is absolutely perfect. I never tire of looking at it. I love the way she brings in the floor and that room with the red furniture would be quite ordinary without those curtains! Every aspect of the rooms is special unto itself. Amazing!

  11. The Empress has no clothes, as far as I'm concerned. I don't get it.


  12. Linnea, I love the blue as well

    Cat- the canopy is beautiful.

    Reggie darling. Her background brings a new idea to the picture of interior design. Hers is a fusion of tastes. I am sure it is a matter of taste-some like this others prefer a more austere period look while some like something else. I don't love a pure approach so this appeals to me. Her clients rave. The work she did for the clients who are featured on the cover is impeccable. I think artists and free thinkers can find much to love and appreciate here. I love coloring outside the lines,I wouldn't think you would ever do such a thing. PGT



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