This past spring, I crossed paths with Giorgio Armani. Not the man himself but, in a rare, needle-in-a-haystack moment, something pretty close. I was in southern Italy and pilgrimaged to the de facto ceramic capital of the country, Grottaglie. In this iconic, pint-sized town with dozens of ceramic studios dotting its winding streets, I stumbled into Ceramiche Nicola Fasano, a veritable treasure trove filled with every conceivable ceramic vase, bowl and pine cone (the region’s good luck charm), handmade in the Puglian style. I soon discovered, however, that I was not the first intrepid explorer to alight upon such porcelain marvels. Signor Armani happens to be a good friend of its proprietor and, as such, had long before commissioned several sets of dishes for his own villa. I promptly stocked up on stores of unwieldy pottery to tote home.
But, as it turns out, I could have just waited until fall when Armani’s inner sanctum arrived in Vancouver. Canada’s first Armani/Casa boutique has just opened in the Armoury District, the city’s upscale home furnishings agora, where the designer himself approved every single harmonious detail—right down to the high-sheen Italian marble tile in Pietra Gray and, of course, its myriad elegant dishes. In all its neutral-hued glory, the 1,500-square-foot boutique serves as canvas for the designer’s personal taste, an ode to the elegant and luxurious furnishings that comprise the Armani/Casa line.
The shop also nicely elevates the neighbourhood’s already high-design ethos: think of the space in the way you do Armani’s timeless clothing—subtle, classic, handsome… An understated and warm contemporary luxury. “With the new Armani/Casa store, I was looking to convey a way of living and being at home that wasn’t just based on rationality and design, but also emotion,” Giorgio Armani says of the new store. “A sense of comfort and serenity where light is a fundamental element, as it lends the space a feeling of lightness. In the boutique, the natural light enhances the light of the materials, creating a warm environment that almost seems to float.”
Subtle details abound: invisible pocket doors, concealed electrical outlets, sleek track light systems by FLOS. From the z-shaped wall shelving to the millwork, the use of one continuous material creates a sleek, sophisticated backdrop to best showcase the perfectly proportioned furniture and furnishings. From sofas in neutral grey, a leather bench at the foot of a bed, to a dining room table set with elegant tableware, the range of furniture, home accessories and fabrics is perhaps the closest thing to actually being in Armani’s own casa.
Armani/Casa, 1656 W. 2nd Avenue, 604-423-2814, armanicasa.ca.
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