The House of Armani Redux

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Posted April 9, 2014. Filed in Giorgio Armani, Minimalism, Moderne

Giorgio Armani-Palazzo Apt-Milan-Nuevo Estilo-2013

In two of my earliest posts, Le Style Frank: The House of Armani and Le Style Frank: The House of Armani Revisited, I shared every known photo I possess of one of the most memorable and influential interiors with regard to my own decorative and architectural lexicon as it has developed over the years. The sheer minimalist and quiet luxury of Armani’s parchment sheathed rooms filled with Jean-Michel Franks’ iconic modernist (yet warm) furniture enveloped in shades of more parchment and cream still makes me blissful. This is timeless design at its best.

But, alas, I had not seen it all! The Spanish shelter magazine Nuevo Estilo published more recent images of Armani’s palazzo apartment in 2013. This recent glimpse into Casa Armani reflects his affinity for clean lines, neutral yet sophisticated color palettes, and Asian decorative elements.

Armani's oak-lined salon with furniture by Jean-Michel Frank. Interior design by Peter Marino.

In an earlier view of the salon Armani hired Peter Marino to collaborate on the apartments re-design in le style Jean-Michel Frank, with walls paneled in oak and furniture by the iconic French modernist. The only noticeable piece that remains is the Japanese links patterned rug.

Photography by Gionata Xerra

When Armani’s apartment was photographed in 2012 for a feature in The World of Interiors titled Designers by Themselves a new furniture arrangement utilizing the same pieces is most notable.

Giorgio Armani-Living Room-Nuevo Estilo

The living room appears virtually unchanged in 2013, save for the addition of more highly decorative objets d’arts and a shot of plum in the silk covered pillows.

Giorgio Armani-Lounge-Milan Apt-Nuevo Estilo

The photo above produces somewhat of a paradox for me, for I don’t believe it is a room ever before photographed. While it resembles the parchment sheathed study, the layout of the room with its blocked columns and a granite tiled floor tell otherwise. I assume there is another level, perhaps at penthouse level, that incorporates another dining room, which can be viewed beyond the facing sofa. Let’s take a look at both the library and dining rooms as they appeared in the 1980’s-90’s:

Armani's Milanese library designed by Peter Marino.

In this photo of the study taken for House & Garden in the 1980’s it is clearly evident we are not looking at the same room as above. Let’s now take a look at the dining room …

Giorgio Armani-Dining Room- Milan Apt-H&G-Oberto Gili

Clearly this dining room with its lacquered door entrance and ebonized wood floors contained within four walls is not the same room featured off the lounge, which can only mean there are at least two dining rooms in Armani’s palazzo apartment. But let’s, first, take a look at later photograph of Armani’s dining room …

Photography by Gionata Xerra

Eureka! This is the dining alcove off the lounge area, featuring the same artwork (that reads as a mirror in the previous photo due to reflection), and the same furniture featuring iron clad tube chairs and a table of Japanese design. The Asian style lamps with silk plum shades were changed out with simpler Japanese lanterns. Until now, I had always assumed that this dining room was a redecorated version of the dining room in the photo above it. This, however, is not the case, as the photo below recently published in Nuevo Estilo illustrates:

Giorgio Armani-Dining Room-Milan Apt-Nuevo Estilo

Armani changed out all the furniture and added a graphic checkerboard pattern rug to the parchment-sheathed formal dining room that was originally featured in House & Garden in the 1980’s. I think it is fair to assume that there is another level, possibly more modern in terms of age, that encompasses additional living space to include a lounge and dining area, given the expanse of modern windows and floors entirely covered with black granite tiles.

Giorgio Armani-Lounge-Milan Apt-Nuevo Estilo

Another view of the lounge, which shares the same drop-down soffit, features clubby Jean-Michel Frank lounge chairs and a mix of Japanese decorative objects.

Giorgio Armani-Lounge-Milan Apt-Nuevo Estilo

Another view of the lounge, photographed at a different time? The expanse of windows, granite tiles, and parchment sheathed walls would indicate so. The lamp and sofa style also indicate as much, while the black cougar sculptures appear to have been added, or removed, as the case may be.

Armani-Milan Apt-WSJ-2012-Dean Kaufman

This photo of the third floor lounge was brought to my attention by a reader of this post – another fan of Armani’s style, and interiors evocative of Jean-Michel Frank. This wide angle view puts the layout of the lounge into perspective, and cements any unanswered questions regarding the configuration of the rooms featured above. Thank you, Sylvie, for your contribution!

Photography by Oberto Gili

In a photo taken for House & Garden in the mid-1980’s Armani’s bedroom is paneled in oak, in le style Jean-Michel Frank.

Giorgio Armani-Bedroom-Milan Apt-Nuevo Estilo

In what appears to be the same room, Armani has removed the paneling and painted it, simply, white. Though there is only one in view, the red Chinese lantern lends the room a decidedly Asian feel.

If any doubts remain as to the layout of Armani’s palazzo apartment, here is an exterior view revealing three levels, where the uppermost top floor’s facade consists of a continuous expanse of glazing, indicating the location of the lounge and dining alcove, and very likely Armani’s home office.

Palazzo Armani-Milan-Nuevo Estilo-2013

Reading List: The House of Armani written by Charles Gandee for House and Garden magazine, 1989, with photography by Oberto Gili; Designers by Themselves featured in The World of Interiors, December 2012, with photography by Gionata Xerra.

5 Responses to The House of Armani Redux

  1. April 20, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    Hello Christopher,

    I recently discovered your blog and have been devouring all of the gorgeous and inspiring images in your posts. Keep up the great work. Your blog is one of my new favorites!

    I was also delighted to see that your in San Francisco. I am a Bay Area native and worked with a well known designer for over a decade before I moved to DC to work for another designer. In 2009 I opened my own office in DC but would love to be back in San Francisco someday.

    All the best,

    Michael Hampton

  2. Cristopher
    April 20, 2014 at 9:53 pm

    Thank you for your kind and encouraging words! I, in return, follow and enjoy your blog – your correspondence reminded me to add you to my Bloglovin list. I particularly admire your own brand of cool classicism and pared down luxury.
    Hopefully one day, sooner than later, we will both find ourselves in our beloved San Francisco!
    Happy trails,

  3. sylvie
    April 27, 2014 at 9:48 am

    Great post! I have been following Armani’s residences in various parts of the world. It’s refreshing to see the updated look of this apartment whilst retaining the Jean-Michel Frank classic style. Love it to bits. Thanks for the new photos and the amazing writeup.

  4. sylvie
    April 27, 2014 at 9:55 am

    Oh yes, here is a picture of the Armani’s three-story palazzo in Milan.

    Picture taken from slide 9 of the online article.

  5. Cristopher
    April 27, 2014 at 11:50 am

    Thank you for taking the time to write, and for the additional photo of Sr. Armani’s Milan apartment – you’re one ahead of me! At the time of writing this post I tried to imagine the layout of rooms on this top floor in my mind, and this particular photo you discovered puts the pieces of the puzzle together. I’m going to update the post now with this additional photo, thanks to you! Feel free to send new discoveries any time!