Idarica Gazzoni founded Milan fabric house, Arjumand's World, in 2009 after 20 years mastering the art of mural painting and trompe l’oeil. Named after the Mughal princess for whom the Taj Mahal was built, Arjumand's World produces fine fabrics inspired by travel and ancient myths. Idarica shares her obsessions, influences and greatest challenges.
INTERVIEW BY CAMILLA FRANCES | SEPTEMBER 2023
The most memorable trip I’ve taken:
Turkey, where I have been many times: as a child on the Mediterranean coast; as a teenager, renting a car traversing Cappadocia and visiting Nemrut Dag (an archaeological site overlooking Tigris and the Euphrates River); with my son, Carlo, and again with my family. I'll never grow bored of the Bosphorus natural strait, the markets, Topkapi Palace, the Galata Bridge or the Cistern of Aspar, all in Istanbul. The scents, the light, the air - it’s all so memorable - as is the feeling of being at the beginning of Asia, crossing Europe, where it all began.
The best party I’ve ever been to:
There are three: one at the Hotel du Cap in France; one in Castelluccio in Sicily and one in Istanbul. They were all very refined with a Mediterranean feel. I also loved the party I threw for my son, Carlo, when he turned two. The house was in restoration so, with the builder's help, we put sand in the sitting room, painted palm trees and gave each child a bucket and spade. It was the best silent party ever, all of them busy building and creating.
The moment defined my career:
Aged 20, I went with my friend, Marina, to Van Der Kelen painting school were I learned to paint Faux Marbles and Bois. I started painting on walls and experimenting with all kinds of design, which later became the Arjumand collection of printed fabrics and wallpapers. Also, early on in my career when I went to participate in Maison et Objet in Paris knowing nothing whatsoever about the textile business!
The greatest challenge I’ve overcome:
I think it was planning - with my friend, Maria Ousseimi - the design of a huge, luxurious restaurant, Liza, in Beirut. We had to fit custom-made wallpaper panels, which were all from Italy and had to be glued in place.
The best gift I’ve received or given:
They’re both stones! A Modigliani-esque face-shaped stone I found in Patmos and gave to a great friend. And, also from Patmos, a big heart-shaped stone that my son, Carlo, gave me when he was a child.
My next weekend-away destination:
Probably the center of Italy facing the Adriatic sea.
I would describe my childhood as:
Very happy; I was raised in a sophisticated bourgeois milieu, in an antique home with frescoed ceilings, a garden and two dogs. My mother studied history and my father was an industrialist.
My favourite flea market or antiques fair:
I don’t really like flea markets any more. I used to when I was younger and hungrier, but I never buy much now. I'm not a collector, I'm a creative producer, so if I buy it’s because I try to transform things. For many years, Etsy has been great fun and presents wide opportunities, and Instagram has opened our minds to following all kinds of producers around the world. I also like proantique.com where you see all kinds of antiques in Italy and France, and I love shopping when I travel, like in Uzbekistan. I recently bought some lovely ceramic painted plates to hang.
I feel most confident when wearing:
Dresses. At the moment I am loving all Diane Von Furstenberg’s dresses.
My signature scent:
Ideal interiors in three words:
Vast, atmospheric, 100% full (or 100% empty).
Distasteful interiors in three words:
Fake, pretentious, minimal.
A new artist or designer whose work excites me:
Tancredi Di Carcaci, a young British-Italian ceramic sculptor.
The person I call for good advice:
My Mother (she has a vast ‘360 degrees’ way of putting things together), and two angels that always help me (they help me listen to my inner ideas). I also try to remember what my father would have suggested; his ideas were very innovative, quick, precise and chic.
The person I call for a good time:
Lalli, my ex sister-in-law, the most simpatico lady. We laugh so hard.
The most interesting dinner party companion:
I am very sociable. I like company, and human beings; they are all interesting.
The person I owe the most to:
My mother, Grazia, who introduced me to beauty, culture and curiosity.
My proudest achievement:
My two sons, Carlo and Giuseppe.
Just One More Thing
One master: Papi (my father)
One muse: Arjumand (the Mughal princess)
One city: Palermo
One book: Silvia Ronchey & James Hillman interviews
One museum: The V&A, London
One song: The Sound of Silence, Simon & Garfunkel
One color: Red
One flower: Dahlia
One word to describe your style: Cosy
One word to describe Cabana: 360-degrees
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CABANA ISSUE 20
Idarica Gazzoni's new home in Milan will be exclusively revealed in the next issue of Cabana, launching October 2023 | Subscribe now to receive your copy.