Wednesday, April 30

The Best of Italy with Blogtour Milan, April 2014 at Salone Del Mobile & Eurocucina in Venice and Milan

Nest by Tamara's
Best of Italy (Milan & Venice) with 
Blogtour Milan Roundup:

Third time's the charm!
This was my third Blogtour trip with Modenus and although they were all enriching experiences the magic of the Milan/Venice trip was insurmountable.  I realize I'm gushing, but it was truly a wonder-filled experience from start to finish topped off by the beautiful group of people I traveled with. So, when heading to Italia next please check these sources - I spotted some great finds!
Happy Nesting
XO Tamara
Nest by Tamara's top 3 design finds 
at Salone Del Mobile & Eurocucina
1). the Chateau 150 from La Cornue

I am a sucker for large, French ovens and when it also has a colored enamel finish, stick a fork in it because I am done. The  La Cornue products take me straight to the weathered, but elegant French country kitchen of my dreams with the perfect pot of lavender blooming in the window sill.  La Cornue's kitchen display was simply my favorite at the Eurocucino show in Milan because it stood out amongst the oodles of sleek Italian kitchens with this pedigree look.  Maybe not the most practical oven for a NYC dweller, but I am dreaming.  The new range, the Chateau 150 in over sized proportions and made of Stainless Steel.  It sat front in center in their show space, offering many cooking options:  it's two-vaulted, one gas and the other electric, with many cooking possibilities for different foods, and two, giant warming drawers.  The oven is customizable to provide varying organizational possibilities.  And, quite frankly, it's damn gorgeous in the white finish they showed.   
2). Gessi's new Cono sink
is gorgeous!
the shimmering tall Cono sink with thin faucet caught my eye.  It's high and stylish and would work with both traditional and contemporary design.  I'd love to use this sink in the perfectly adorable powder room. 
4).  Icon's Levitas oak table with glass legs.
This gorgeous natural wood table with great-shaped glass legs was a mix of rustic and glamour.  There are SO many wooden tables here in NYC, I guess one may wonder why this particular table in Italy struck me.  Icons is from Venice, and prides themselves on hand selecting particular woods for different designs.  The wood-centric company uses old oak taken from the mooring posts of the Venetian lagoon.  It is recycled, and is water-based, therefore showing lots of craggy knots and aged finish left by the wearing over time. Somehow, they transform this old wood it to something completely new, but holding a special provenance.  Add the chunky glass legs and the seemingly unadorned shape and raw, unadulterated finish, it reads as a modern piece quite well.

Nest by Tamara's top 10 favorite brands 
& why:
1. Imperfettolab
all those wonderful orb-like sculptures/seats/art inspired.  I loved their floor unique display with a tree which seemed to grow right in the middle of the floor, and their products are equally as creative.  
The hanging art and the orb seats are gorgeous!

2. Gessi
the Italian bath and fixture company is cutting edge in their technology, and, well, they are so darn nice, but
they get kudos for how well they seamlessly mix old and new together in their showroom, showing sleek Italian design together with patina'd pieces--exquisite!  Their state-of-the-art technology shower heads and lighting combinations was impressive, and the best we saw!

plus, I spotted this perfect lil' nesting chair/nest/bed 
at Gessi
3. Cosentino
because of this resilient, multi-purpose stylish Dekton material, I'm smitten!

4. Team 7

beautiful kitchens & furniture
a trend I noted at the show was over sized bookcases, sometimes seeming to float in the middle of a room, working as a divider between two spaces.  Team Seven had a gorgeous wooden piece in their display.
5. La Cornue
stand out with their gorgeous stoves & ovens as explained above, and their kitchen display was one of my favorites at the show.
6. Icons

love their dedication to natural woods, preservation, and the rustic, yet unique look
7. Pacini & Cappellini
loved all the wood, Danish looking style, channeling a mid-century appeal, and the floating bookcases were stunning
8. Tom Dixon
  The Cell
more shiny lighting by Dixon
Dixon showed stunning lighting, and I loved the copper colored ones, and the Cell Pendant (made in polished brass), which is a great mix of something new and old.  Dixon's collection called the CLUB, hearkening to a traditional men's club, but with a twist.
9. Arlex
I like Arlex for the interchangeable small tables in interesting colors and for their simple, straight-lined case goods - without handles, sleek but again, the versatility of working in many interiors and blending classic design with modern design.
10. Plus+Collection
loved the Talea Wood seat
which would work indoors or out
I loved all the innovative indoor/outdoor furniture at the show.  There seems a major trend in making versatile products that can reside both indoors and outdoors, and the aesthetic is blending as well, giving interior design a completely new feel.
*Favorite cultural institution:
MUVEU Fodazione Museu Civic Venezia

a small museum tucked into a side street in Venice, but a wonder to behold from large mixed medium installations, to unique pieces by Pablo Picasso the museum does a tremendous job of stylizing in the museum in a way I have not seen before.

 *favorite restaurants:  
this is a tough one because, well, it's Italy
but there are standout moments I cherish, so let me tell you about them...

maybe because it was our first night in Venice,
but this restaurant was special. 

1). best dinner:
 Trattoria AI Caccia
  An accommodating staff who served us an aperitif as we were ready to leave, so we sat back down and enjoyed more time, Italian style! 
design: love the local vibe, small but quaint.  A casual atmosphere favorite local spot & added bonus it was walking distance to hotel. 
rate: 8 1/2
service: familial, accommodating and prompt
rate: 8 1/2
food: delicious, some rustic dishes and some not typical and unusual as well
rate: 9 
2). Best lunch
the Al Fresco dining was perfect, plus the food was divine and set in the gorgeous, Sant Angelo square.
design: simple, Italian style Al Fresco dining under a tent with open, airy long tables in a row overlooking the square and people watching-- perfect way to end our busy, walking day. 
rate: 8 1/2
service: very nice staff and took special orders no problem
rate: 8
food: the simple pasta dish with tomato sauce was the best I had on the trip, however, the frozen Lemoncello served in small little cups at the end of the meal, put the experience over the edge! 
rate: 8 1/2 
2). the best pizza 
3). Best Pizza
Pizzaria Fabbrica con Cucina
design: just across the little foot bridge from our Hotel Navigli in Milan, this is a casual, crowded, raucous, and festive place to dine with a large group.  We may have been one of the loudest groups since it was our last night (sorry Italy), but people barely noticed 
rate: 7
service: our server was nice enough but kept forgetting our orders and little details, but, hey, it was pizza and beer!
rate: 6 1/2
food: So many choices of pizza from caramelized onion to vegetable, and loved all the beer options as well.  The pizza was delicious.
rate: 7 1/2 

*Favorite Hotel:

rooftop views of Venice 
The Hilton Hotel Stucky in Venice was outstanding.  From the welcome at the desk, to the breakfast each morning, the staff was extremely polite and accommodating.  The rooftop happy hour overlooking the canals was dream-like.  The rooms are well-appointed with a five-star quality to them including marble baths, great linens, comfortable beds and plenty of room to move about.  The lobby is marble, expansive and the hotel is perfectly located in a quiet spot.  I would most definitely stay there again on my next trip to Venice. And, they even offer an iphone app of the hotel! 
the beautiful facade of the Hotel Stucky, and our very stylish pier just outside the front door where the water taxi picked us up daily. 
design: gorgeous lobby, with marble bath and lovely roof top bar with exquisite views 
rate: 9 1/2
service: helpful, polite staff and accommodating 
rate, only drawback was the internet was spotty.
rate: 8 1/2
food: delicious buffet breakfast each morning with lots of fruit and croissant 
rate: 8 1/2
 gorgeous, luxurious rooms 
with a stunning rooftop pool and bar

beautiful views just out our 
front door from the Stucky
and, some random, beautiful things I came across in my travels:
1). this unbelievable door knocker at the Countess' home in Venice
2). painting of opera singer, Maria Callas at 
Teatro A la Scala theatre in Milan.

3). the antique Meissen porcelain collection at Countess B's home.
**Meissen porcelain is the first European hard-paste porcelain developed from Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirhaus in 1708 (Wikipedia). 

We were allowed to photograph the Countess' collection displayed in her dining room in Venice, and it was a highlight for me.   To see this much beautiful, antique porcelain together and without chips, preserved and still together in a collection (outside of a museum) was a sight to behold.  I loved the  delicate pattern.
Stunning Kitchens:
Many of the kitchen displays showed stand-alone casement pieces, some antique-looking, others contemporary but looking artisan made (and not matching the rest of the kitchen cabinetry) and showcased a mix of worn, patina looks with industrial -- refreshing! 

loved these sinks - not sure where they were from

cardboard cool furniture: again, not sure who makes this but I snapped up a shot

crayon box colors and chairs
Well, of course, 
there was more but that's it in a nutshell,
and I hope you will tab some of these favorites for your next trip to Italy.  
Ciao Ialia!