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History of a brand: Visionnaire

The purveyor of Italian luxury is more than a furniture brand, extending its reach to interior design, hotels and even private jets

Visionnaire interior decorating

It seems appropriate that some of Italian design brand Visionnaire’s most high-profile projects should be in the world of travel, styling the interiors of yachts and private planes, for its origins also lie in this sphere. The company was founded in 1959 in Zola Predosa, on the outskirts of Bologna, by brothers Pompeo and Vittorio Cavalli, and specialised in making padded seating for Lancia cars. They christened their firm IPE, an acronym for imbottiture prodotti espansi (expanded padded products). Its technology for moulding polyurethane, a new-generation plastic, was regarded as groundbreaking.

The Reverie Saigon hotel in Vietnam, interior designed by Visionnaire
The Reverie Saigon hotel in Vietnam, interior designed by Visionnaire

Realising that their method could revolutionise furniture construction, the brothers launched their first interiors collection in 1961. However, it was Vittorio Cavalli’s son Luigi and Luigi’s children, Leopold and Eleonore, who created the brand as we know it now. The company, renamed in 2004, now includes more than 2,000 items in its furniture collection. Influences differ, from the boxy, 1970s-style of the ‘Babylon’ sofa, whose padded form pays tribute to the brand’s heritage, to the Art Deco look of the ‘Bradley’ bed. Opulence, however, is a constant.

Personalising spaces is also key – Visionnaire has designed a number of private homes from top to toe, as well as the interiors of hotels and restaurants around the world. ‘Our clients love to collect unique, handcrafted pieces,’ says Leopold Cavalli, explaining why the brand has its own art collection to complement its furniture, carpets and lighting. You can experience the art at its showroom in Milan’s Piazza Cavour, which also boasts a coffee bar and a gallery, aptly named the Wunderkammer (cabinet of curiosities). Can’t make it to Milan? Visit the new Visionnaire store at Harrods, London to experience its art, furniture and accessories. visionnaire-home.com; harrods.com

This article first appeared in ELLE Decoration January 2018

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