In creative director, Angela Missoni’s unique, exuberant home in northern Italy, nature inspires a deeply personal interior where every object tells a story or holds a secret.
It’s impossible to resist the exuberant and positive energy that radiates through the home of Italian fashion designer Angela Missoni. Here, surrounded by greenery and an expansive garden, the feeling is more holiday home than a domestic residence.
Those lucky enough to cross the threshold will discover a home that imparts a deep sense of serenity. Masses of glass – there are far more windows than walls – gaze out over trees and meadows. The lively interior is home to a very personal collection of beloved objects and nature-inspired decor – and you’ll find birds wherever you go.
The homeowner needs little introduction. She is the creative head of Italian fashion empire Missoni, founded in 1953 by her parents, Ottavio and Rosita, and known and admired the world over for its colourful textiles and knitwear. The company was handed down to Angela and her siblings Vittorio and Luca in 1997, but since the death of Vittorio, in 2013, Angela has taken the lead in running the business, while also continuing to indulge her love of designing.
In 2017, she celebrated 20 years as creative director with a big party, and this September toasted another significant milestone: the 65th anniversary of the company. Based in Varese, Italy, the fashion house was recently the focus of a retrospective exhibition at the Triennale museum in Milan. It was Angela’s hope that visitors would leave the show having “breathed the true atmosphere of Missoni” – the same one that permeates her uniquely individual home.
“I used to live three minutes from here and had long dreamed of a house with a garden and lots of space.”
Angela, it’s clear, loves her work. “There’s never a moment where I’m doing just one thing at a time,” she told The New York Times Magazine. Her house, with its diverse array of objects, reflects this outlook. The location, Sumirago, Varese, is special too, holding many childhood memories for the designer. This is where Angela’s parents chose to set up their company. “It is nice to be able to live in a place where people like to spend their weekends,” Angela says of her enviable lifestyle.
So how did she come upon the house? “It was a stroke of luck,” she says, smiling. “I used to live only three minutes from here, and had long dreamed of a house with a garden and lots of space. But I didn’t want to build one; I wanted to find one. Then about four years ago, my best friend came across the ad for this house while she was reading the newspaper at the dentist, and she called me immediately.
“When I entered the grounds through the gate and saw the modern architecture from a distance, I knew I had found my dream home.” Home to Angela means a place where family and friends can come together. Faithful to the principles of Italian hospitality, she loves inviting people over and making them feel welcomed. A shrine to loved ones is just one of the many hidden treasures in this unique abode. “In my bedroom, behind the sliding door to my library, I have a small gallery with pictures of people and things that are very important to me,” she explains.
“I especially enjoy sharing my home with others. And since becoming a grandmother, that’s even more important. The idea of one-day picking berries and collecting mushrooms in the garden with all my future grandchildren inspire me.”
The garden and surrounding land with its quiet lake are particularly treasured by Angela. “When I open my bedroom blinds in the morning and gaze out over the landscape into the distance and at the mountains, I have the feeling of being outside,” she says. “I’ve always been lucky enough to live in houses with a view. This means a lot to me.”
A love for nature can be seen in every corner of the light-filled villa. There are plants and flowers everywhere, from the winter garden and bird statuettes to the illustrations and bouquets that decorate the interior.
Angela has only recently taken up collecting bird-shaped objects, but there are clues to this interest in the wall artwork by Rob Wynne in the guest bedroom and on the lamp designed by Mathieu Challière, known for his copper birdcage art pieces. “They are part of my passion for collecting. I love going on hunting expeditions to the flea markets, and birds have particularly drawn my attention – they fit in perfectly in my conservatory.”
A childlike curiosity and untamed imagination are key to the designer’s success. “Life is what inspires me! I am basically a very, very curious person. And I am a visual person too. This is why I can be inspired by literally everything I see. My eyes are like a filter.”
Rather than following a specific trend, Angela took a more relaxed, spontaneous approach to the choice of furnishings in her home, mixing and matching personal passions and items that are linked to memories, “each one keeping a secret and a story”, she says.
“Although I am a dedicated architecture and design fan, oddly, I hardly own any new furniture. Apart from a very few things, my furnishings are all pieces that have lived a long life. The newer ones I can count on one hand.
They come from Patricia Urquiola, who is absolutely on the same wavelength as me, as well as from Marcel Wanders and Tom Dixon.”
Asked if she is happy with the house, her answer is characteristically emphatic: “Totally, yes!” The ideal place to welcome in her large family and many friends, this home is a slice of heaven. Shared family moments and meals are so integral to Missoni family life, there’s a book on the subject, The Missoni Family Cookbook, written by Angela’s son Francesco, who she says “loves to cook and is a fine gourmet”. The family’s strong creative streak, it’s clear, is alive and well.