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February 14, Valentine’s Day, the feast of lovers. It seems that this anniversary was introduced for the first time to the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer, who associated the celebration with the engagement between Richard II of England and Anna of Bohemia in one of his poems. On February 14, 1400, the High Court of Love was founded – that was an institution inspired by the principles of courtly love, that took care of love disputes between the wealthiest couples of the English society. Since then, until today, Valentine’s Day has been one of the most celebrated pagan holidays in the world.

February 14, 2020. The shop windows are adorned with red decorations, heart-shaped toys, chocolate and candies that tell the love in the form of glazes and pralines. Gaia is thinking what Valentine’s Day gift should she give to Andrea. She would like to surprise him with something special, but at the same time she would prefer not to buy junk food or plastic gadgets. Walking through the streets of the town, she stops in front of a design showroom with many pieces of furniture. She feels fascinated by a particularly elegant living room with burgundy leather armchairs and a black veined marble table… So, she gets an idea.

sgabelli Kuga
Kuga bar stool made in terracotta-coloured leather; Alfred coffee table in lacquered metal and Pandora suspension lamp made of perforated lacquered metal.

At 8p.m. sharp Andrea is at the door, with a bouquet of red roses in his hands and a box of chocolates. With candles around, the living room is simply perfectly set up … There is also a golden lamp hanging from the ceiling just above a high table with two stools combined with two glasses of white wine. The romantic aperitif is served and the couple begins to enjoy the evening.

The dining table is prepared for the real dinner: ceramic plates decorated with floral motifs match the water jug, and the chairs are covered with a burgundy fabric that creates the right atmosphere for Valentine’s Day. Gaia has prepared all their favourite dishes, those they like to order at the restaurant, and those making them smile before ordering another portion. A basket with fresh fruit is used as a table centrepiece, while some fruits are scattered between one plate and the other, as they were ornaments, too.

tavolo Supermarmo
Echo In table with unicolor top

The evening keeps going pleasantly. Andrea appreciates all courses, and then he offers to wash the dishes. The red roses perfume the living room, after being carefully placed in a glass vase. The candles have now run out, and the chocolates have been eaten – that is yet another sign that dinner has been very much appreciated by both of them.

Before going to sleep and ending the wonderful Valentine’s evening, Gaia sits on the soft pouf in front of her desk with the round mirror – it’s her favourite moment of the day, when she takes a little self-care with face and body lotions and some beauty treatment.

scrittoio Vanity
Vanity desk, with a lacquered metal structure, top and drawer in melamine

An extendable console table is a long and narrow table with a rectangular top, generally placed beside a wall and dedicated to hosting ornaments, with the chance of being transformed into a dining table as well. Its use in furnishings goes back to 1600, when it was very common to find console tables with mirrors above them in large reception rooms. Today, a modern console table is especially used in tiny rooms and passageways, such as the anteroom or corridor, where it can turn into an organizer. If placed in a living area, it is useful to write, sort correspondence, and consult documents. Among its qualities there is functionality: it can be a large table adaptable for small rooms, so you can invite the whole family to dinner.

Being elegant, modern and functional, Bontempi Casa console tables lend themselves to different locations in many different styles, from a classic one to a more creative one. Thanks to this, you will be able to add a seat at the table when needed and have an extra worktop to rely on.

tavolo consolle Artistico
Artistico console table with lacquered metal structure, wooden top and extensions.

The extendable wooden console version of the Artistico table, one of the most iconic and appreciated Bontempi Casa models, recalls the decorative function of the first consoles thanks to a cross-legged structure, a detail that certainly does not go unnoticed.

tavolo consolle Etico
Etico console table with lacquered metal structure, top and extensions in melamine.

For those who want to count on a large dining table when needed, Etico extendable console table is the ideal solution. When it’s closed, it comes with a minimal and compact design that allows to easily place it in any kind of environment. When it’s open, it can reach up to 12 or 14 seats (depending on the version that has been chosen). The lacquered metal structure and the melamine top make it suitable for outdoor spaces, too, for example a veranda and used for organizing family lunches.

Tavolo consolle Bontempi
Mago console table with lacquered metal structure, Galaxy chair.

An extendable console is also good for furnishing an office, where it can be very useful for satisfying needs depending on the projects. Available in three variants to accommodate up to eight seats, Mago is an extendable console table particularly suitable for offices and corporate spaces, where you want to maintain a modern and essential style of furniture. Its metal structure with square shapes makes it a true design classic piece dedicated to professional environments, and it lends itself easily to be combined with different types of chairs. Its top is available in different materials, from melamine to crystal, and in different shades: Mago can be the ideal partner for any business.

Our favourite bookstores always tell something about us, what we love to read and how’s our relationship with order (or disorder). There are those who arrange the books in strict alphabetical order by title or author, those who group them by theme and also those who arrange them according to the colour of the cover. What is certain is that we all need modern bookcases to place our books and magazines – that are never too many! Even in the digital age, in fact, the pleasure of browsing through the pages of a book and smelling the scent of printed paper remains an irresistible call.

Modern bookcases, either suspended or by the wall, for the living room or other rooms, are not simple containers then. Just think of how many items, in addition to books, we put on the shelves of a bookcase, turning it into a sort of Wunderkammer full of memories, among travel gifts, small design objects, photographs. Last but not least, bookcases are also important elements to complete the furniture and define space, distributing it, separating it, creating interesting games of light and shadows.

Light-designed and elegant, solid without being heavy, Bontempi Casa bookcases frame books and other objects as if they were pieces of art themselves and highlight them discreetly.

LexingtonLexington bookcase with lacquered metal structure. 

Lexington is an example of a modern and dynamic bookcase, whose lacquered metal structure is available in different finishes and many sizes, with modules that can expand as needed. To further personalize it, you can choose the shelves in lacquered metal coupled with SuperCeramic, SuperMarble, metal covered in leather, wood veneer or crystal. With so many customization possibilities, it really is a piece of furniture “for life” that can be expanded (or reduced) according to changing needs, between removals and growing book collections, and that can change its appearance thanks to the shelves to adapt if you want to give your living room a new style.

Hip HopHip Hop bookcase with structure in lacquered metal, and top in crystal or scratch-resistant crystal.

When choosing modern bookcases for the living room, it is good to keep in mind some useful tips on how to furnish a modern living room. First, especially if the space is large and contains many elements, it is the general harmony that should be created between them, as if “they talked to each other”. An ideal combination, in this sense, can be Hip Hop bookcase with the tables of the same family. The modern and essential design and the glass tops immediately give the idea of a refined environment with an eye for details. Combining shapes and sizes, it is easy to furnish any room of the house with it.

Librerie Hip Hop
Hip Hop coffe table, structure made in lacquered metal, and a crystal or scratch-resistant crystal top.

The Journal’s traditional list of art and design exhibitions you should visit in 2020 is back. Let’s find out the most anticipated dates. First, in 2020, London will play a very important role in promoting valuable retrospectives.

A multimedia experience of (and with) Andy Warhol

In spring, London’s iconic Tate Modern will be coloured with the pop tints typical of Andy Warhol’s Pop Art. The most famous images of the American artist, such as those with Marilyn Monroe, the bottles of Coca-Cola and the Campbell’s Soup Cans, will be exhibited during a multimedia experience called “Exploding Plastic Inevitable”. Pop Art’ fans can’t really miss it.

Where: Tate Modern, London

When: March 12 – September 6, 2020

Londra

 

 

A classic on the designers’ agenda: the London Design Biennale 2020

Expect light installations, large sculptures and all the best of contemporary artistic expression. This global impact event is among the most anticipated of the year; the theme will be “Resonance” and over 50 countries worldwide will participate.

Where: Somerset House, London

When: September 8-27, 2020

Never seen in Europe: Hassan Sharif, the art of the Middle East in the twentieth century

Hassan Sharif is one of the most influential 20th century artists in the Middle East. For the first time, a retrospective dedicated to his conceptual style and work arrives in Europe.

Where: KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin

When: February 20 – May 3, 2020

 

Paris Design Week 2020, the Salone del Mobile à la française

The Paris Design Week has rapidly been establishing itself on the International scene in the past few years. Next September, all design lovers will be able to take inspiration from the French cultural scene, too (after learning the main news from the iconic Salone del Mobile in Milan). Paris will liven up with events, temporary exhibitions and talks dedicated to contemporary design.

Where: Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine, Palais de Chaillot de Paris, Paris

When: September 3-12, 2020

 

Milano

Focus on women of Russian avant-garde movements 

The retrospective will be called “Divine Avant-garde. Women in Russian avant-garde” and it is the first time that such a collection will be exhibited in Italy. An exhibition that recounts the twentieth-century movement in the Soviet Union from a female point of view: women painters, but also women as portrayed subjects, both protagonists of that profound cultural change that accompanied the Russian Revolution.

Where: Palazzo Reale, Milan

When: October 2020 – January 2021

 

Expo 2020, Dubai

There is very little to add: it’s a sensational event that will take place in one of the richest cities in the world. It’s out of question: save the date.

Where: Dubai Exhibition Centre, Dubai

When: October 20, 2020 – April 10, 2021

 

Oak is a majestic tree, a long-lived plant that can last three centuries. In Italy it grows up especially in the Pianura Padana but it is also widespread in the rest of the country. It loves the sun and, thanks to its strong and robust roots, it can grow even on steep slopes and up to 600-800 meters above sea level. In the woods, it is common to see oak trees next to other green broad-leaved trees such as beech, common ash, hornbeam, wild linden, chestnut or mountain maple.

From ancient times to present days, oak wood has always been considered very valuable. Its solidity and water resistance makes it an ideal material for naval and maritime constructions, for load-bearing structures and heavy carpentry works in general.
Its peculiar scent, on the other hand, is the feature chosen to manufacture the so-called “aging barrels” for the aging of wines, the so-called barriques. Last but not least, oak is a highly valued material for the construction of solid and refined luxury furniture like those featured in the Bontempi Casa catalogue. Natural solid oak wood, in particular, is used for large tables and chairs.

Solid wood is obtained from the central oldest and most resistant part of the tree trunk. The only treatment that it requires before being used to build furniture for our homes is seasoning, that helps to eliminate the humidity of fresh wood. Its surface maintains the natural appearance of the wood, with the knots and rings that form during the life of each tree, and with the passage of time its colour may slightly darken. To exalt its natural qualities, the lateral external edge of Bontempi Casa table tops in solid natural oak retains the original shape of the tree trunk, giving the uniqueness of craftsmanship.

tavolo legno di rovere
Millennium XXL table with structure in lacquered metal and top in natural solid oak wood. Kelly chair with structure in natural solid oak wood.

With its warmth and natural appearance, oak makes every place more welcoming. Millennium XXL table is an example: solid and spacious, it seems made to host large family gatherings or cheerful lunches with friends, all comfortably seated on the soft Kelly chairs. Not only: the value of solid wood makes it suitable for a meeting room, to furnish the workplace with style and attention to detail.

sedia legno di rovere
Kelly chair with structure in natural solid oak wood and details in lacquered metal, covered in velvet. Millennium XXL table with top in solid natural oak wood.

It’s 6.00 AM, it’s still dark outside. You can see the city lights in the distance outside the window. Giacomo is already awake. After all tonight Santa Claus has come. Silent, he goes down the stairs and arrives at the kitchen: the table is full of stacked plates, glasses and cutlery. Everything is almost ready for lunch, there is also a panettone that is leavening, covered by a cotton cloth. “Grandma cooks really well” thinks Giacomo, who already has a watering mouth. There will also be the traditional capon stuffed with chestnuts, and many appetizers. “Yay!”.

After stealing a cookie from the cupboard, Giacomo runs into the living room. The Christmas tree has been lit since the night before. The silver decorations shine in the dark and make the multitude of coloured packages that have been placed underneath shine. The golden gifts sparkle like stars in the eyes of the boy, who has been waiting for December 25 for a long time.

He would like to unwrap one but thinks that his mother would be angry. Surely, he will not be able to get back to sleep, he is too excited! Suddenly he has an idea: he drags one of the soft poufs bought by his father, a true design lover, near the living room closet. He goes up and begins searching for plates and saucers, trying not to make any noise.

Mirage, extendable table, structure in lacquered metal and top in white-veined grey SuperMarble; Mila chairs with metal frame, upholstered seat and back.

It’s 9.00 AM, the alarm rings. Cecilia opens her eyes: it’s snowing outside. Wonderful! Stretching herself, she goes to her son’s room, to give him the good news: it’s Christmas! But she doesn’t find him in his bed, so she goes into the kitchen, but he’s not there either. When she arrives at the living room, Cecilia finds a surprise: little Giacomo has set the table for everyone! There are the sub-plates that had been placed in the kitchen, the smaller dishes for the appetizer, wooden napkin rings, and even the centrepiece – a bit botched, with dry branches, candles and puppets. After a hug and a wish for a Merry Christmas, Cecilia prepares breakfast for everyone, while Giacomo, all cheerful, goes to wake up dad.

Shortly after, the whole family is reunited. Including the grandparents, who slept in the guest room. The scent of smoked salmon on the butter tarts is mixed with the capon that sizzles in the oven. It is finally lunch time, and the table is already set. To welcome the other guests, Cecilia and Marco open the round table that extends and creates space without cluttering (link Giro table). Now there is room for everyone.

Imperial rectangular table with elliptical top in solid wood, bracelet structure in lacquered metal; Sveva wooden armchairs in solid wood with armrests and covered in leather.

The family’s Christmas lunch continues in its traditions: after the main course, the aunt feels full and goes for a little walk; then it’s time for dessert, a star-shaped pandoro with raspberry cream. Cecilia decorates it with sparklers. It is now time to play bingo and card games, while the little one naps on the sofa.

Some friends come by and Marco makes tea for everyone and uses a practical food trolley with glass shelves (Chic trolley link) to serve it to the guests. Everyone sits on the porch, facing the window overlooking the garden: the sun is going down, it has stopped snowing, but that magical day has left a thin white veil on the grass. Guests are comfortably seated on the armchairs; they talk about old memories and have fun.

Evening comes and, once the guests have left, Cecilia and Marco put Giacomo to bed. They now enjoy a quiet moment, sitting on the sofa in front of the shining Christmas tree. “Despite the effort to prepare everything, Christmas with the family is always a special moment” – they agree. And they fall asleep embracing each other, tired but happy. After all, tomorrow is another party!

Magnum round fixed table with concrete base and wooden top; Alfa chairs, solid wood frame, monocoque in lacquered wood with padded and quilted cushion.

 

Christmas 2019, it’s time for family lunches and dinners. But how should you furnish a home with elegance and style, without making a room too crowded with objects or kitsch? The perfect Christmas decoration starts with the larger pieces of furniture: tables and chairs. Then you can move on to smaller items that will make a difference. But let’s go step by step.

In order to create a trés chic and orderly mise-en-place, it is essential to have a table with a large top and, at the same time, not blocking the passage. The Podium table, a classic of the Bontempi Casa family, is renewed for the occasion: the sturdy central cement base acquires charm with the Brass-coloured lacquer, and the fixed top, in a refined “Noir-Desir” SuperMarble, is large enough for accommodating up to 12 people. The solid structure comes without bulky legs and makes the Podium table ideal for a crowded living room: no guest will find itself stumbling and toppling their glass of Champagne on the carpet. Also, the precious finishing of the product makes for an element that is pleasing to the touch and to the eye, even if without a tablecloth.

As for the seats, the chairs around the table can become real Christmas decorations for your home. Just pick them in the right shades! Bontempi Casa recommends for the 2019 holidays season a variation of the red-Christmas theme: the colour of the year is Terracotta, so why not going for it?  Penelope chairs release positive energy from every strip of fabric. Covered in soft Terracotta coloured velvet, and with a very light structure in gold lacquered metal, they become part of the Christmas decor without “making too much noise”. They are simple, elegant, made with a contemporary taste and in line with the current trends, but at the same time, the warm colour reminds us of Christmas in an alternative way (but you can keep them all year-round).

An “additional” furnishing accessory that cannot be missing from your home during the holidays is the food trolley. A design object that we have taken from the salons of the 50s and that we have never let go. Chic food trolley by Bontempi Casa has a vintage soul but contemporary lines. It’s made in lacquered metal and equipped with small wheels, so it can be moved and cleaned easily. The glass shelves are refined and spacious: they can carry plates and glassware services from one room to another, but they also become original table tops for Christmas decorations such as spicy scented candles, coloured in silver or gold, red and white. Let’s always go for a few simple but polished Christmas decorations so that they will allow you to move freely between rooms and without the idea of being inundated by the surrounding objects.

What else feels like Christmas, without being kitschy? Pieces of furniture made in natural wood. Alfred coffee table by Bontempi Casa is an ideal solution to offer support to diners who are taking a break from lunch while sitting on the sofa. This discreet and space-saving coffee table warms up the atmosphere of the living room thanks to the rough surface of the wooden top. The style tip of Bontempi Casa is to place a typical wintery Christmas decoration on the wooden surface, possibly handmade, like a dry branch or leaves, with dried fruit, pinecones and dehydrated flowers. The effect is a corner of the house decorated for Christmas in a totally natural, alternative and definitely not tacky way. 

Last but not least: lights. A smart choice that warms up the atmosphere for the holidays, but that is perfect all year round, is a suspension lamp (it does not occupy the living space) like Gloria in its Brass finish. This refined colour reflects natural light very well and creates interesting reflections. Its structure allows a wide but modulated radiation: the room is warm and welcoming. Is there anything more magical?

Ideas for New Year’s Eve? If you like to organize a party at home and invite your family and closest friends, remember that during the holidays the bon-ton rules at the table are more important than ever. Preparing an elegant mise en place, using these few little tricks during the evening and gifting something special to your guests will make your party look great.

Let’s start from the end, or better, from the gift that you will deliver at the moment of greetings. The meaning of the French word “Cadeaux” is precisely “gift” or “present”. Searching through the dictionary, it turns out that it was related to the homages made by men to ladies, hence the current meaning. We can therefore consider a cadeaux as a tribute to the pleasure we feel for the company of our guests and to the memory of special moments we spent together.

The etiquette suggests preparing small gift boxes to be delivered at the end of the reception, or to have them found directly on the table before dinner. Whichever mode you prefer depends very much on the type of gift you have chosen: you can either keep the surprise effect until the end if you have big-sized gits, while the second choice is more suitable for small objects, that can also serve as placeholders. Remember, in fact, that one of the basic principles of bon-ton to set the table is functionality: the table must be used comfortably, so make sure to leave the space to place bottles and serve dishes while placing the decorative elements as a centrepiece and placeholders.

 

Now, how to choose the perfect gift for your guests? Gourmet ideas such as homemade biscuit sachets, olive oil, jars of spices or flavoured salt are always appreciated, as well as aromatic plants, natural soaps or scented candles. The best thing, however, is choosing a cadeaux whose meaning is linked to you and to what unites you to your loved ones. For New Year’s reception, you can take advantage of free time that the festive period allows to make your homemade gifts. Alternatively, going around Christmas markets you will surely find craft items and original ideas that will suit you.

And now, let’s kick off our New Year’s reception. It is duty of the hosts to welcome their guests and making them feel welcome, arranging the coats in a dedicated area with hangers suitable for collecting overcoats, scarves and hats. To give the evening a more dynamic twist, consider replacing the classic appetizers with a welcome cocktail and snacks to be enjoyed standing before you sit down at the table. In this way you will also allow the latecomers to arrive and settle, and the hostess will be able to check the last details in the kitchen without her absence becoming too noticeable.

Aron table with wooden frame and glass top. Mood chairs with solid wood frame and velvet upholstered shell.

For an impeccable table, the etiquette recommends a perfectly ironed tablecloth made of a high quality fabric. However, you can also go for a more modern solution, setting the table with runners or place mats if you have a table with a top made in precious materials such as crystal or SuperMarble by Bontempi Casa.

The result will however be very elegant and of great impact. Pay attention to the size of the table: remember that, between one placée and another, the ideal distance is about 50 centimetres, measured from the centre of the plate of each one. Same rule for choosing the centrepiece: large flower arrangements and candles require large tables, that leave the centre empty; otherwise, better to opt for small flower jars or other items such as pine cones or candles to be distributed on the length of the table.

Finally, the basic rule of bon-ton at the table: a general harmony should be created between all the elements laid out, from glasses to cutlery through the placemats, just like the one that will reign among the diners. Happy New Year!

Universe XXL fixed table with structure and decorative details made in lacquered metal and a SuperMarble top; Margot chairs with and without velvet-covered armrests. Puffoso pouf with structure in lacquered metal, padded and covered in velvet.

Who lives in the city is used to look around and see the surrounding landscape in a greyscale, and it is not necessarily bad! Certainly, a touch of green is indispensable, but grey, that is anything but flat and banal, is a colour endowed with a discreet and timeless elegance, perfect for interior design. Among the materials that make grey a distinctive feature, there is concrete proposed by Bontempi Casa.

A material that may seem unusual for furnishing accessories is instead innovative – Bontempi Casa concrete is available in three different shades – white, grey and anthracite, to which a great novelty will soon be added (we will reveal it in the next lines ) – and it has a matt and pleasantly rough surface. Its finish is an example of high standard craftsmanship that guarantees value and uniqueness.

Podium table with its concrete base and top is a piece of furniture whose strong personality can be adapted to different styles, although it seems to be particularly popular in the industrial trend. This material, that doesn’t seem the most usual for interior design, is in fact particularly suitable for furnishings according to this style, turning however towards its most refined and contemporary derivation.

 

tavolo Podium

Podium fixed table with base and top made in white concrete. Suri chairs upholstered in a beige mesh elastic fabric and with a swivel structure made in white lacquered metal.

Among the characteristics that make concrete a winning choice for pieces of furniture, there is the fact of being an eco-compatible material that has a low environmental impact. Another interesting feature is its ease of cleaning: for ordinary operations, a damp cloth with a neutral detergent is enough to prevent oil, red wine or lemon juice from entering the material leaving stains or circles.

tavolo Podium

 

Podium extendable table with base and top in anthracite concrete and top in matt anthracite scratch-resistant glass. Clara chairs upholstered and covered with waterproof nubuck; legs are made of natural silver lacquered metal.

From an aesthetic and functional point of view, this material perfectly combines maximum strength and minimum thickness: solid and reliable support surfaces result.

Finally, a Bontempi Casa novelty: the new Brass-coloured finish for the base of the fixed Podium table will soon be available, it is combined with the refined veins of a Super Marble top in the Noir-Desir variant or a black crystal top, just to name a few. Discover with the Configurator all the possibilities to customize your new table.

tavolo Podium
Podium fixed table with base in Brass-coloured concrete and top in Super Marble Noir Desir. Penelope chairs with structure made in lacquered metal, padded and covered in velvet.

Are we paying the right attention to our coat hangers? They often end up in a corner and, for most of the year, they are all covered in jackets and coats, scarves and hats. If we look for particular coat hangers, however, it means that we are on the right track to make this simple object an important part of our home. Whether positioned at the entrance, in the bedroom or in the area dedicated to the wardrobe, in fact, the coat rack deserves an identity, and it must be combined with other elements such as tables or magazine racks.

Hula coat hanger – traditional with charm

A floor coat hanger that, with its minimal and elegant lines, can change the appearance of an entrance making the environment immediately more precious. Hula is composed of three pairs of lacquered metal sticks that by intersecting create an asymmetrical structure completed with a horizontal ring. Positioned at the entrance, it welcomes you and your guests with elegance.

Alga coat hanger – colourful in style

Among the particular coat hangers there are certainly those proposed in bright shades such as the Alga model by Bontempi Casa, available in different tints including coral red. A touch of colour that can be noticed even when covered in jackets and coats. Its structure, made of swivelling hooks, is inspired by nature and resembles a tree. It is the ideal choice for a young and dynamic home, where it can be easily placed either at the entrance or in the bedroom.

Battista coat rack – artistic with personality

A coat rack that can be unconventional and minimalist at the same time. Is it even possible? Yes, it is and Battista, a classic model of timeless design, is the evidence. It is in fact a floor coat hanger with five star-shaped hooks, designed with clean and gentle lines.

It’s perfect for an entrance that is spacious enough to also have a small utility table where you leave items such as keys or sunglasses. It can also be a good solution for the waiting room of a professional environment.

Far from being a simple functional element, the coat hanger is an important piece of furniture that defines the style of the surrounding environment. Bontempi Casa coat hangers shown above are available in a wide variety of colours – that you can also see online – therefore they can adapt to each and every creative furnishing inspiration.