The A List: Raffaella Carnevale
Raffaella is the founder of MODOMILANO, one of the most prolific architecture and interior design companies operating in the Middle East. Get to know her and her strong connection with beauty and craftsmanship in this exclusive interview.
When she was just few days old, Pier Paolo Pasolini requested her as cameo for “The gospel according Matthew”, this was a highlight from the universe that her life would be a blend of art, humanity and devotion towards the inner beauty of all things. Raffaella has reshaped the interior design perception by founding MODOMILANO, one of the most prolific architecture and interior design companies operating in the Middle East. Palaces, retail spaces, famous restaurants have undergone her touch, which is a longstanding anthem to the Italian craftsmanship and style that she has been proudly representing around the globe.
Craftsmanship is the tangible projection towards the infinity, the physical portion of space delimited by willingness to leave a mesmerizing promise of beauty to those who will come after us.
What does "Made in Italy" mean to you?
“Made in Italy” is a synonym of resurrection and pride for me. The history of Italy, from the Roman Empire going forward, it has been a rise and fall, a sequel of atrocities, wars, invasions and calamities which affected the “Belpaese”; all unfortunate episodes that have been phenomenally counterattacked by the soul and attitude of its inhabitants who, into an unrivalled variety of ways, tackled the pain of the moment through work and creativity. Italy is fatigue, fierce devotion, strength…Italians do not do it better, they are just the best in investigating their intimate fears and desires and transform them into something eternal as the pain they felt, as the resilience they represent.
Who has inspired the most your work and style?
My mother is a very successful seamstress, she conveyed for years most of the Middle East royalties in her atelier in Arona. My father is an historian as well as a classicist, thus it is rather obvious that this maelstrom of class, heritage, craftsmanship and humanistic touch has forged my style and the way I perceive the reality surrounding me.
Tell us about your design approach and philosophy
I never adopt a standard approach to discover client needs. I love to think of people in their joyful moments, when spending time with family in their houses as well as when they seek protection and comfort in their own environment. I am primarily oriented towards a bespoke approach. An interior designer is the psychologist of shapes and colors. My main aim is not a furniture selection or an impressive marble cladding, it is to materialize the inner vision my clients have about themselves and their desire.
What is the one decor element you cannot imagine yourself living without?
I truly believe that welcoming people into your house is the same than welcoming them into your life. I do host many dinners and I make my living spaces accessible to my guests. However my family living room is eventually the most secluded and intimate space without whom something will be missing. It is the place where to deflate the stress of the day, where the closest ones can sit down with me, relax whilst surrounded by contemporary art pieces, Oliviero Toscani’s limited edition collection and some memorabilia which have incommensurable emotional value in my life. I like to think of the living room as the inner soul of the house: lively, inaccessible, trustworthy and inspiring.
What is your idea of the ‘ultimate luxury'?
The ultimate luxury is the uniqueness of pieces and elements which represent the space a client lives in. It is not about the status or the price, it is about creating things that are solely ambassadors of your taste and are not to be found elsewhere. Hermes creating a bespoke piece of furniture with the same leather of a Birkin Bag, following the indication and the details that Modomilano has been able to elaborate; be it the wall paper or duvet or a simple set of mirrors done in Paris accordingly to the taste people, through us, want to express themselves, this is the tangible unrivalled meaning of ultimate luxury.
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