BlogTour Milan: The Gessi Concept Lab

BlogTour Milan: The Gessi Concept Lab | CLOTH & KIND

This should have been our first clue that we were in for the ride of our lives at the Gessi Concept Lab in the heart of the Brera fashion district in Milan, Italy. As we first entered the building, we snapped pics on these adorable little vintage Vespas (the kind that everyone is dashing through the crowded streets of Milan on!) in front of the Gessi step and repeat before descending the dramatic set of stairs into one of the most unforgettable experiences of the entire BlogTour Milan trip.

BlogTour Milan: The Gessi Concept Lab | CLOTH & KIND
What exactly is the Gessi Concept Lab, you ask? It is a luxurious multilevel wellness play space comprised of waterfalls and pools, stone, wood and surprising underground vertical gardens, all set up to showcase Gessi’s bath and kitchen products but it feels like anything BUT a showroom. We will do our best to share this magical place that brings the beauty and elegance of the Gessi brand to life through our images and words, but in reality the only way to truly experience it is to be there yourselves. If you ever find yourself in Milan, we highly encourage a stop into the Concept Lab, which is open to the public. You won’t want to leave, trust us!

The space is set up almost like a museum exhibit, and is titled The Bathrooms of the World. It includes seven installations with inspiration from Morocco, Japan, Russia, New York, Scandinavia, the Mediterranean and Bali. Perhaps what we loved most about the entire thing was Gessi‘s ability to mix their often times sleek and modern products with rustic, natural or timeless pieces of furniture and accessories to create that storied and layered look that we always seek in our own designs. Proof, yet again, that the best interiors include a variety of finishes, styles and tones mixed together to create the most interesting of patinas. Allow us to share a few of our personal favorite spaces from within the exhibit. First, the dramatic entrance to the space…

The Moroccan project features the traditional Tadelakt technique, a nearly waterproof plaster used in the palaces, hammams and bathrooms of Morocco. Special Moroccan lime is applied to the walls, which are then finished with river rocks and treated with a soft black or olive oil soap for water resistance. The beauty lies in the glowing, soft undulating touch of the individual artisan.

BlogTour Milan: The Gessi Concept Lab | CLOTH & KIND

BlogTour Milan: The Gessi Concept Lab | CLOTH & KIND

BlogTour Milan: The Gessi Concept Lab | CLOTH & KIND

In a new twist on Oya stone, the Gessi Design Studio mixed slats of wood and sandblasted travertine in a Japanese bath. Created naturally from lava and ash, and known for its warm texture, Oya stone was used by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1923 for the facing of the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. In this Gessi version of a Japanese bath, an original tansu-type piece with its signature hardware becomes a stunning vanity.

BlogTour Milan: The Gessi Concept Lab | CLOTH & KIND

BlogTour Milan: The Gessi Concept Lab | CLOTH & KIND

The epitome of cool, calm and collected, the Scandinavian-inspired bath blends limed pine, marble, stone and hemp, along with other materials.  The mirror is framed with a special treatment of lime with a hemp-based coating.

BlogTour Milan: The Gessi Concept Lab | CLOTH & KIND

BlogTour Milan: The Gessi Concept Lab | CLOTH & KIND

BlogTour Milan: The Gessi Concept Lab | CLOTH & KIND

In a fresh twist on time-honored Indonesian design, the Balinese bath features a rugged wood block wall and teak bench that contrast with slick stone walls, modern pedestal sinks and Italian faucets and showers.

BlogTour Milan: The Gessi Concept Lab | CLOTH & KIND

BlogTour Milan: The Gessi Concept Lab | CLOTH & KIND

BlogTour Milan: The Gessi Concept Lab | CLOTH & KIND

BlogTour Milan: The Gessi Concept Lab | CLOTH & KIND

As you can see from above, the use of the natural world throughout the space was incredible. A living wall, ferns draping over walls and mirrors, palm fronds abound. We loved it all!

BlogTour Milan: The Gessi Concept Lab | CLOTH & KIND

BlogTour Milan: The Gessi Concept Lab | CLOTH & KIND

Thank you, most sincerely, to the entire Gessi team for providing us with this once in a lifetime BlogTour Milan opportunity and for hosting us in your absolutely lovely Concept Lab. It’s all an experience we won’t soon forget. Ciao!


BlogTour Milan Sponsors | ModenusBLANCO AmericaGessiClever Storage by KesseboehmerDekton by CosentinoNational Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA).

 

Image Credits | Krista Nye Schwartz & Tami Ramsay of CLOTH & KIND & Gessi.

 

FabFive: Custom Surface Concepts

FabFive: Custom Surface Concepts | CLOTH & KIND

We’re the first to admit, we’ve always steered toward natural materials like marble, granite and if we’re lucky and have a particularly adventurous client, more exotic stones like onyx, in projects whenever possible. Our curiosity was more than piqued, however, by a new ultra-compact surface that is revolutionizing the category with advanced technical properties for both interior and exterior design called Dekton.

While in Italy for Salone del Mobile with BlogTour Milan, we were able to experience Dekton first hand and learned all about its superior technical characteristics like the fact that it provides unique UV resistance for color stability outdoors and exceptional strength and performance.  The product is also highly resistant to impact, scratches and abrasion for use in high-traffic areas and has very low water absorption.  It  provides thermal shock resistance against heat, frost and thawing, enabling the material to be used outside in any climate. Dekton most definitely harnesses the potential for design to flow from the indoors to outdoor spaces using one continuous product, which we think is incredible and have already started dreaming of using it in a beach front residence.

But perhaps the thing about Dekton that got us most excited is the ability to customize the surface with any texture or pattern that we can imagine.  Our creative juices were flowing as we started brainstorming the ways in which we could customize this product to our hearts content. And for two girls with a penchant for fabric, texture and pattern, especially those inspired by nature, the possibilities are endless!

Here are the top five results of our little internal brainstorm on how we’d customize Dekton, the CLOTH & KIND way.

no. 1  | CANNA TROPICANA STRATO, TECH COLLECTION
FabFive: Custom Surface Concepts | CLOTH & KIND

no. 2 | WOOD GRAIN DANAE, NATURAL COLLECTION
FabFive: Custom Surface Concepts | CLOTH & KIND

no. 3 | EYELET ARIANE, SOLID COLLECTION
FabFive: Custom Surface Concepts | CLOTH & KIND

no. 4 | GINKO SIRIUS, SOLID COLLECTION
FabFive: Custom Surface Concepts | CLOTH & KIND

no. 5 | BURLAP KERANIUM, TECH COLLECTION
FabFive: Custom Surface Concepts | CLOTH & KIND

S o which one is your favorite?! And where would you use it?

BlogTour Milan Sponsors | ModenusBLANCO AmericaGessiClever Storage by KesseboehmerDekton by CosentinoNational Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA).

Inspired: The Palaces of Barnabò & Fortuny

We’re back from our whirlwind trip to Venice & Milan as part of Modenus’ BlogTour Milan. What a truly and utterly incredible journey! Without sounding cliché, there really are no words to begin to articulate what the last 10 days have meant to us… but over the next several weeks we’ll certainly attempt to by injecting the blog with heavy doses of the things we saw and experienced on our Italian adventure.

After arriving in Venice and taking our water taxi to the hotel, we had some time to settle in and explore on our own. Soon we’ll be sharing a BlogTour Milan Photo Album post that encompasses many of our random experiences, but in the meantime we want to tell you about one of our first full days in the city of love. Veronika and Florence of Modenus arranged for us to have a wonderfully personal guided walking tour with Cristina of SlowVenice. She specializes in offering multifaceted experiences of Venice at a slower pace, one that incorporates the history and stories, both past and present, of this culturally rich city. Let us just tell you, she had us all hanging on her every beautiful, Italian-accent-drenched word and oh, oh the places she took us! Aside from wandering through the narrow, cobblestone clad back streets and learning about the vibrant Venetian history and culture, we also had the distinct pleasure of having a private meeting with the Countess Anna Barnabò and seeing, first hand, her family’s stunning (and if we’ve ever said stunning before, we never truly meant it until now) Byzantine style palace, named Palazzo Malipiero.

Inspired: The Palaces of Barnabò & Fortuny | CLOTH & KIND

The palace is located right on the Grand Canal and was originally built in the 11th century, changed hands several times, and was ultimately restored to its splendor by the Barnabò family in 1951 who undertook a substantial restoration, returning the palace to a grand eighteenth-century style. To learn more about this history of this grand home, check this and this out.

We entered the palace from a rather nondescript door on a side street just off of the Grand Canal, but once we stepped into this cool, dark foyer we knew we were in for something very special. Immediately across from the entry door was this monogrammed archway out to the garden which we will show you more of in a bit. You can begin to feel the mood, right? Quiet, serene – almost like a moment frozen in time.

Inspired: The Palaces of Barnabò & Fortuny | CLOTH & KIND

Inspired: The Palaces of Barnabò & Fortuny | CLOTH & KIND

Every detail had us weak in the knees. Like the light fixture and that funky little hand painted bench seat back. Oh my god!

Inspired: The Palaces of Barnabò & Fortuny | CLOTH & KIND

After taking in the entryway, we climbed a set of stairs and stepped into the main hallway of the palace which quite literally took our breath away.

Inspired: The Palaces of Barnabò & Fortuny | CLOTH & KIND

The patina of the cracked plaster walls and that ornate molding painted in lovely pastels took us to a totally different time and place. Oh, yes – and Murano glass chandeliers adorned just about every space we entered in the palace.

Inspired: The Palaces of Barnabò & Fortuny | CLOTH & KIND

Inspired: The Palaces of Barnabò & Fortuny | CLOTH & KIND

Inspired: The Palaces of Barnabò & Fortuny | CLOTH & KIND

The grand living room with floor to ceiling windows that open directly onto the Grand Canal was like a moment frozen in beautiful time.

Inspired: The Palaces of Barnabò & Fortuny | CLOTH & KIND

Inspired: The Palaces of Barnabò & Fortuny | CLOTH & KIND

Inspired: The Palaces of Barnabò & Fortuny | CLOTH & KIND

The sitting room off of the main living room is home to a TV and newspapers, evidence that the Countess enjoys spending time in this space.

Inspired: The Palaces of Barnabò & Fortuny | CLOTH & KIND

Inspired: The Palaces of Barnabò & Fortuny | CLOTH & KIND

Inspired: The Palaces of Barnabò & Fortuny | CLOTH & KIND

Check out the Chinoiserie silk fabric that graces these chairs. To die for.

Inspired: The Palaces of Barnabò & Fortuny | CLOTH & KIND

The rugs throughout the space were beyond anything we’d seen before.

Inspired: The Palaces of Barnabò & Fortuny | CLOTH & KIND

Fabric drenched walls, with an ornate mirror.

Inspired: The Palaces of Barnabò & Fortuny | CLOTH & KIND

Inspired: The Palaces of Barnabò & Fortuny | CLOTH & KIND

The bright and cheerful dining room.

Inspired: The Palaces of Barnabò & Fortuny | CLOTH & KIND

Inspired: The Palaces of Barnabò & Fortuny | CLOTH & KIND

Inspired: The Palaces of Barnabò & Fortuny | CLOTH & KIND

We loved this little bobble head dude… oh, and how about the marbeling in the panels below? Too good.

Inspired: The Palaces of Barnabò & Fortuny | CLOTH & KIND

A view from the gardens, taken above in the dining room.

Inspired: The Palaces of Barnabò & Fortuny | CLOTH & KIND

Just as grand as the interior.

Inspired: The Palaces of Barnabò & Fortuny | CLOTH & KIND

Inspired: The Palaces of Barnabò & Fortuny | CLOTH & KIND

Inspired: The Palaces of Barnabò & Fortuny | CLOTH & KIND

OK, yes, we were being total tourists…. but can you blame a couple of design freaks like us?

Inspired: The Palaces of Barnabò & Fortuny | CLOTH & KIND

After bidding the Countess goodbye, Cristina took us next to the Palazzo Fortuny which is now a museum. For textile addicts like us who adore the sumptuous and always decadent Fortuny fabric line, we were acutely aware of just how fortunate we were that the museum happened to be open when we were there.

This large gothic style palace, the exterior of which you can see below, was transformed by Mariano Fortuny into his personal atelier of photography, stage-design, textile-design and painting. While its own collections are vast and plenty, it remains closed much of the time and only opens to highlight temporary exhibits from different artists. We caught the Spring at Palazzo Fortuny exhibit.

Inspired: The Palaces of Barnabò & Fortuny | CLOTH & KIND

One of the temporary exhibits was that of  Ritsue Mishima’s. The thousand-year-old tradition of making glass in Venice, seen through the lens of Mishima’s Japanese culture, results in works forming a highly contemporary alphabet. All lit up in the dark space, these pieces were a vision.

Inspired: The Palaces of Barnabò & Fortuny | CLOTH & KIND

We appreciated the wide-ranging breadth of art and styles represented throughout the space, many of which were hung on a backdrop of Fortuny fabrics.

Inspired: The Palaces of Barnabò & Fortuny | CLOTH & KIND

Inspired: The Palaces of Barnabò & Fortuny | CLOTH & KIND

Inspired: The Palaces of Barnabò & Fortuny | CLOTH & KIND

What a rare and precious opportunity it was to visit these two Venetian palaces. We count our lucky stars every day to be doing what we love on a daily basis, and it is opportunities like these – so graciously provided by Modenus and their forward-thinking sponsors BLANCO AmericaGessiClever Storage by KesseboehmerDekton by Cosentino, the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), that continue to teach and grow us as designers and bloggers.

Image Credits: All photos taken by Krista Nye Schwartz of CLOTH & KIND. Link With Love, please.

Home Sweet Home: Happy Halloween

Home Sweet Home: Happy Halloween | CLOTH & KIND
From our homes in Ann Arbor & Athens to yours… where ever you may be… wishing you a happy and spooky Halloween!

Press: House Beautiful, November 2013

Press: House Beautiful, November 2013 | CLOTH & KIND

Did you happen to catch Tami’s stunning floral arrangement in the new November issue of House Beautiful?

Here’s what she had to say about it…. “I was inspired by the warm golden hues of autumn here in the South. I used dried cardoon pods that I grew from seeds collected from Monticello, feather-light dried hydrangea, curly kiwi vine, cotton bolls plucked from a field in Georgia, and gourds cut from the vine – all nestled in a brass vessel.”

Press: House Beautiful, November 2013 | CLOTH & KIND

I’ve always known that it’s Tami’s gathered approach to both floral and interior design that make her work so storied. At CLOTH & KIND, our goal is always to mix old with new and to curate the most interesting mix of pieces to fill a space that will tell the story of its homeowners. What a wonderful example this floral arrangement is of that exact notion.