cover image Domus: A Journey into Italy’s Most Creative Interiors

Domus: A Journey into Italy’s Most Creative Interiors

Oberto Gili, with Marella Caracciolo Chia. Rizzoli, $65 (304p) ISBN 978-0-8478-

In the introduction to this magnificent book on Italian interiors, writer Caracciolo Chia mulls the defining quality of a selection of rooms from across Italy: what brings them together is not harmony, and not history, but that “they [are] all absolutely necessary and vital to the life, talent, and, sometimes, obsessions of those who made them. In other words, these interiors [tell] a story.” These interiors aren’t simply a display of exemplary art and furniture collecting (although they are often that), but of the imaginative working lives of their residents. Those represented include painters, sculptors, interior designers, couturiers, filmmakers, and more, and the contents often include the artist’s own work and those of friends and associates. The wide variety of interiors are awe inspiring. Some are determinedly classical, others wildly modern, some a riot of items, others simple—many rest in between. Some are decorated according to rigid schemes (one resident removes an object whenever another is added). Others are furnished entirely by instinct. Much of the most striking work was done by artists themselves—not merely paintings and sculptures, but trompe l’oeil wainscoting, wallpapers, and mosaics. Even the physical structures are noteworthy: some are grand historic chambers, one is a former pigsty. All are tremendous. Color photos. (Oct.)