The fabric house of Rubelli, founded in 1889, is one of those grand old Venetian institutions whose roots are evident in almost everything it does – and its luscious brocades, damasks, silks and velvets are steeped in the glorious aesthetic heritage of Italy.
In a diametrically opposite corner, one might imagine, is the very modern Italian brand of Moroso, whose furniture comes from the creative minds of some of the most avant-garde designers around – Patricia Urquiola, Ron Arad and Doshi Levien, to name just a few. And yet creative director Patrizia Moroso had the rather brilliant idea of partnering with Rubelli to reupholster a small selection of its most iconic pieces in Rubelli’s embroidered textiles. The idea was first explored in an exhibition at the Musée des Tissus et Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Lyon two years ago and was so successful with visitors that the duo decided to launch a capsule collection this autumn.
Covering these contemporary pieces in rather richer fabrics gives them fresh appeal. I have long loved Doshi Levien’s Indian charpoy-inspired My Beautiful Backside sofa, but I like it even more in Rubelli’s black and white Fedora silk lampas (£11,015, pictured). The fabric is inspired by the design of an original early-18th‑century document and comes in lots of colourways. Similarly, Patricia Urquiola’s Volant armchair seems more alive swathed in Rubelli’s Donnafugata print (£5,352) – a rich handwoven doupion silk with a grass green background and white embroidery tracing foliage and flowers over its surface. The 10-piece collection can be seen at Moroso’s London showroom until mid-October.