The word “flair” refers not only to style and elegance, but also talent. Alessandra Tabacchi and Franco Mariotti chose the name for their furniture gallery, which they opened in Florence in 1998 and which encapsulates
all of the above. The gallery offers a broad vision dominated by
furniture, but one that also includes sculpture, painting, lighting, rugs
and accessories, in a mix that combines selections by known 20th-
century artisans and unique pieces by anonymous makers. Thanks
to their relationships with some of the most skilled craftspeople in
the city, the pair launched a boutique furniture and accessories
line, Flair Edition. Like their gallery nearby, Tabacchi and Mariotti’s
home in Florence—situated on the bank of the Arno river—is refined
filled with beautiful treasures and studied in every detail. The interiors
match the grand sophistication of the building, which dates to the
second half of the 19th century, from Florence’s brief time as the
capital of the Kingdom of Italy.
“When we found it, it was an office in a lousy state, but the
potential was there,” Alessandra says of the shell. To help the
couple realize that potential, they turned to Rome-based architect
Massimo Adario, who they have known for many years. “I am trained
in designing buildings, but gradually my interest has shifted to the
interiors,” Adario says. “They allow me to build a story, and that story
always begins in the place and context in which I am working.”
Adario loves art and has always had a passion for objects (“without
having any interest in drawing them,” he says with a laugh) and his
design language develops from a holistic view of each particular
project. This was again his approach for the apartment in Florence.
The entrance hall, which opens on the side to the living area, is a
kind of backbone, while the dining area and conversation area are each an extension of the other. The
kitchen is small, like a jewel box, and the study, which doubles as a guest room, boasts the most privacy.
The public and private areas have different moods, but are united by a color palette in which gray is the
prevailing hue. Underfoot, a stained black wood floor throughout is softened by Beni Ourain wool rugs
placed beneath seating and lounging areas.
Each room has its own personality, separated by large wood and glass doors reaching up to the
12-foot-high ceilings, at once connecting and unifying all the spaces of the living area. The variety
of materials, and the way the couple and Adario combined them, allow for the interiors to be quite
expressive. The protagonist is the brass wall in the dining room, which sets a dramatic scene, but also
diffuses the light and contains both the kitchen door and storage cabinets. “I had it in mind even before
buying the house,” Alessandra says. Nearby, a dining table signed by German artisan Stephan Leo is
illuminated by a Serge Mouille chandelier. The pairing evokes a sculptural presence further emphasized
by the silk curtains in what the designers call a “petrol blue.” Most of the other fabrics in the home are from
Dedar, each introducing a precise mood, from the bouclé in the sitting room to the velvet on the living
room sofa to the yellow silk of the headboard in the master bedroom.