A lifetime of colour and form Italian gallerist and editor Carla Sozzani explains why shape and colour inspired her to bring Arne Jacobsen’s pieces into her Milan home. Photos: Santi Caleca
When you’re the founder of what many consider to be the world’s first design concept store, 10 Corso Como, it takes a lot for a piece of design to stand out. Yet that’s exactly what Arne Jacobsen’s pieces for Fritz Hansen have done for gallerist and editor Carla Sozzani for the last forty years. “I got my first Arne Jacobsen pieces in the 70s,” Carla explains. “It was the Cylinda line, with all the beautiful steel pots – a teapot, coffee pot, coffee press, and so on. I don’t use it anymore, but it sits in my kitchen. It’s still beautiful!”
Those clean lines rendered in steel imprinted on Carla, who next bought a handful of bright red-orange Series 7 Chairs, also by Jacobsen and produced by Fritz Hansen. They first sat in her kitchen, later moving to her office. “I also have Series 7 in my studio and at the gallery. I feel it is a very versatile chair. The stackability makes it very functional. I love the lines of it; it’s organic, almost like a woman’s body.” Carla Sozzani feels similarly about Arne Jacobsen’s Egg Chair and Drop Chair, both of which she has throughout her homes, gallery and store. Many times throughout her career she has collaborated with Fritz Hansen and in 2020 created a palette of 16 colours for the Series 7 chair. “When Fritz Hansen first approached me to do the colour ways, I was surprised. But they reminded me that I’d worked with these pieces in various ways for decades. I did three exhibitions of Arne Jacobsen pieces at Galleria Sozzani in Milano and one in Seoul in the years since its opening in 1990. When I look back, I see that Fritz Hansen has been part of my journey throughout my entire career.”
Carla notes that the Egg Chair, in particular, can go anywhere in the home. “I don’t have specific places to put the Egg Chair; I really think you can put it in any room and it works. It’s such an inviting piece of furniture. In shape and in function, it is perfect,” she says.
Carla’s house on the outskirts of Milan was designed in the 1930s by humanist architect and designer Pier Giulio Magistretti, father of Vico Magistretti. It is surrounded by land and flowers, with enormous windows that let in the light. “Because it’s a Magistretti house the proportions are perfect. But I have been there for 36 years now, so I have changed many things over time. A home is not the same forever, things change as my tastes change. I have taken down walls and removed doors. I am constantly moving things around. I don’t understand people who hire an interior designer to create their home for them. It drains all the joy of the research! Where is the pleasure in that?” Carla asks. Over the years, Carla’s pleasure has been in slowly collecting, placing, and then placing again, her Arne Jacobsen pieces by Fritz Hansen. While her aesthetic sensibility may evolve over time, her love for these pieces has never wavered, proving that the core of timeless design is in finding what you love.