Armani turns back to 1930s for home collection

MILAN Wed Apr 16, 2008 10:25pm IST

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MILAN (Reuters Life!) - Giorgio Armani turned to the 1930s for his latest furniture collection, where tables, sofas and beds stood in settings reminiscent of movie sets during Hollywood's Golden Age.

Richly finished with a pleated effect, the "Armani Casa" line stayed true to the Italian designer's minimalist style, with a typically linear approach and classic colors.

The 73-year-old Armani, known for his understated designs, said he found inspiration in the work of Eileen Gray, whose rounded Bibendum chair was one of the 20th century's most recognizable designs.

"There are so many people who are hungry for beautiful things," he said at the start of Milan's Furniture Salon Show.

The mock-up house in Milan, which hosts Armani's menswear and womenswear fashion shows, displayed rooms flowing into one another, with designs in black, white, ivory and natural colors. Only one cabinet displayed a bright orange interior.

"I did a bit of color a few seasons ago (and) I did not sell a (colored) cushion," he said.

Ebony or lacquered wood featured greatly in the objects on display, with some furnishings finished off with a glossy black pleated look. The rooms were decked out with screens.

BLACK VELVET

One table had three legs while a daybed was clad with black velvet. Lamps were rectangular or simply shaped while chairs varied from largely geometrical to more curved.

All of the items' names begin with the letter "B".

Armani also unveiled a television he designed with South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. He has joined forces with Samsung to make a mobile phone, unveiled in September, and consumer electronics.

The lean liquid crystal display television comes with a stylish remote control and a special mode lighted power switch that customizes the Armani and Samsung logos. Playing on the screen on Wednesday were re-runs of fashion shows.

Armani Casa, which brought in 38 million euros in turnover last year, has outlets in 45 countries. It aims to open around 15 sales points this year, with locations in Beijing, Kuala Lumpur, New Delhi, Bahrain and Belgrade.

Armani plans to open hotels in Milan and Abu Dhabi, with an opening scheduled for the end of 2009 or early 2010 for the latter.

In Milan, where the designer is creating an intimate atmosphere, the hotel opening is scheduled for end-2010.

Other clothing designers showing off their domestic offerings during the April 16-21 Salon show include Versace, which last month unveiled interiors for helicopters.

(Editing by Paul Casciato)

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