Discovering Gae Aulenti

On stumbling across a house I liked I’ve discovered Italian architect and interior/furniture/set designer Gae Aulenti. She designed the Musée d’Orsay as well as super cool showrooms for Fiat and Olivetti plus a bunch of private homes – I slept through all of that apparently. She died aged 84 at the end of 2012 and as the Guardian pointed out in her obit, she was one of the few women working in design in postwar Italy. In the 60s and 70s, she also created furniture for Knoll, Zanotta and Kartell, as well as lighting for Artemide among other brands.

This is her own home where my rabbit hole began…


9f18d8dc487c1cbc324a80b8694106b1 The second image takes me back to when I was an interior architecture student when, for one of our projects, we had to design a home-gallery space – mine had a cool bridge across a double height space between two mezzanine areas a bit like that room above. It was hailed the best layout by our tutors but because I wasn’t always the grade A student this sent a wave of rage across the nerdy top set in our year who got together and complained about it. Unbelievable. I sure showed them when I went off and became…er, a writer.

Anyway, I won’t bother sharing the Musée d’Orsay because you probably know what that looks like but back to interiors by Gae, starting with the Atlanta Palazzo Pucci in Florence – yes I think it was for that Pucci family.



I absolutely love all the built-in stainless steel seating that at points becomes a ledge-cum-coffee-table and is then softened up by the coral upholstery.  I think the house was Gothic, so the interior is very modern by comparison.

5681449200_da1a239bd7_z All of those images are from You Have Been Here Sometime. On Pinterest I also found some more interiors and discovered that she was a bit of a one for jazzy stairs.

52c4f6f1006ae5c869e724f258fe4b44 96bdb7cc0759cf2c7213cc87d15770ec


c427375528fd8884c9fa4bac58fa8a99 Now here’s the Olivetti shop in Paris  as featured in Domus mag in 1967.

Gae Aulenti | Olivetti Pais | Domus 1967 | My Friend's House

 And a chair I do know, along with a lamp I do want.




All of which is just a taster, but you can read more about Gae Aulenti here. One last thing.

Gae Aultenti | My Friend's House

Do you think Rossana Orlandi’s trademark oversize glasses are a nod to this late great Italian designer?

2 Responses to “Discovering Gae Aulenti”

  1. Fiona dike
    June 9, 2016 at 7:48 am #

    How very interesting this is.
    Been to musee d’orsay loads of times when I lived in Paris and I also own a classic fiat 500 so I feel I should have known about this Lady but yet I did not so thanks for the intro. She has a lot of style in these interiors – like very much 🙂

  2. Mirrored
    June 21, 2016 at 10:27 am #

    Surprising how diverse this is. I like the photos sure, and the purple couch with amoeba-like shapes definately made my, well maybe not day, but a few minutes (good enouogh, bad Tuesday).
    But how would you articulate the hallmark of her design style?
    Certainly it is fantastic decor with details – the couch, colourful plate and cup as well as playing with geometry….

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