9th April, 2013

I wouldn’t get any work done!

Piero Fornasetti Desk
“TRUMEAU” (bureau/desk), Architettura, by Piero Fornasetti.

This is where all the Crankbunny paper puppets would go on vacation.

Spectacular is the only possible word to describe this extraordinary piece of furniture, the brain-child of Italy’s most original designer of the early 20th century.

Made of wood, with original drawings laminated on to all visible surfaces, the bureau features a drop-front desk, with an opening cupboard above. When this cupboard is closed, there is a central niche, which could be occupied by a classical statue, as shown in an illustration of an earlier version of this “trumeau”. All the drawings are originals by Fornasetti, whose inspiration was Italian 18th-century architectural prints, selected for their extraordinary perspective effects. The base shows the palace of the Alessi in Genoa; the lid of the desk, an arcaded courtyard.The closed upper cupboard displays the windows of a palazzo facade; open, it transforms into a tessellated entrance hall with foliate ceiling, yet another elevation standing like a screen within. The effect of this ordered richness of classical architecture, every detail perfectly recorded in stark black and white, is quite stunning.

Versatility could have been Piero Fornasetti’s middle name. Already a serious artist in his teens, he settled in Milan at the age of 22, and worked there until his death in 1988. His style,based on illusion and trompe l’oeil, akin to the Dutch artist Escher, and on architectural motifs, was applied to an astonishing variety of objects. His unexpected images decorated items as diverse as waistcoats, scarves, plates, cabinets, beds,racing cars; he provided the decor for bars, shops and ocean liners. This bureau, combining his consummate knowledge of classical architecture with his sophisticated approach to interior decor, is a unique masterpiece.


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