Michele Bönan talks personal taste: Part One

Architect Michele Bönan has designed interiors for the Ferragamo family and JK Places, Italy. His current project is for Ritz-Carlton Sunny Isles Beach, Florida

Michele Bönan at home in Florence 
Michele Bönan at home in Florence  | Image: Mattia Zoppellaro

My personal style signifier is a blazer that I have custom-made at Giovanni Masi in Florence; I wear one every day. I have this jacket in a variety of fabrics: in winter, I like English wool; for summer, I prefer lightweight linen. I wear them with a dress shirt and dark blue tie, or with a polo shirt that doesn’t have any logos – I find logos inelegant. I am also never without my sporty Audemars Piguet Quantième Perpétual Calendar watch. www.audemarspiguet.com. Sartoria Masi Sergio di Masi Giovanni, Via dei Fossi 3, 50100 Florence (+3905-554 0010; www.sartoriamasi.it).

Bönan’s 1963 Benetti Dolphin
Bönan’s 1963 Benetti Dolphin

The last thing I bought and loved was a grey showjumping horse from Belgium. His name is Naurenzo and I enjoy riding him out from our equestrian club, the Centro Ippico Toscano, set right in the middle of Florence’s Cascine park. It feels very special to ride on horseback in the heart of such a historic city. Via dei Vespucci 5, 50145 Florence (+3905-531 5621; www.centroippicotoscano.it).


And the thing I’m eyeing next is a flying car by Stefan Klein of the Slovak tech firm AeroMobil. My son introduced me to this new blue and white concept car, which transforms into a small plane in seconds; I think it is the ultimate luxury object. It only has room for two passengers and is just 6m long, but it’s an unbelievable creation. I think it’s the way of the future. www.aeromobil.com.

His 1950s Hermès compass
His 1950s Hermès compass | Image: Mattia Zoppellaro

An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is the island of Porquerolles (pictured), off the Côte d’Azur. I went by boat and this added to the magical experience – unspoilt beaches, arbours of trees and vivid sunsets. We had lunch overlooking the harbour at the Hôtel Le Manoir Port Cros – it felt more like the Caribbean than the south of France. Hôtel Le Manoir Ile de Port Cros, Port Cros National Park, Route du Barrage, 83400 Hyères (+334-9405 9052; www.hotel-lemanoirportcros.com).

Notre Dame beach on the Ile de Porquerolles, off the Côte d’Azur
Notre Dame beach on the Ile de Porquerolles, off the Côte d’Azur | Image: Camille Moirenc/ Getty Images

The best souvenir I’ve brought home is a little 1950s Hermès compass (pictured) I found at the Marché aux Puces in Paris. This sculptural piece is made of tan leather and has silver workings. It’s practical and beautiful. 142 Rue des Rosiers, 93400 Saint‑Ouen (+331-4012 3258; www.marcheauxpuces-saintouen.com).

 Bönan’s vintage Hermès case
Bönan’s vintage Hermès case | Image: Mattia Zoppellaro

The last hotel bar that blew me away was Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle in New York. There is an art deco atmosphere, with dark leather banquettes and gold, Madeline-inspired murals – not to mention a really good martini and great live entertainment. 35 East 76th St, New York, NY 10021 (+1212-744 1600; www.rosewoodhotels.com).


The best gift I’ve given recently was a boat to my family so that we can spend quality time together. It is a 1963 Benetti Dolphin (pictured) named BSK after my three children – Blu, 19, Sky, 16, and Kim, 13 – and we’ve visited the islands of Italy, as well as the area around St Tropez and Monte Carlo. The coast of Spain is next.

And the best one I’ve received recently was a heartfelt letter from my wife, Christine, this past Christmas. We’ve been married for 20 years and this letter was the most special thing I’ve ever been given – definitely more meaningful than something that can be bought. I’ll treasure it forever.

Next on my holiday wish list is Fez. I’ve never been to Morocco’s second city and have heard wonderful things about the souks. I’m planning this trip as a surprise for my family and I’m curious about riding camels – or horses – in the desert.

My carry-on essential is a vintage Hermès case (pictured) that holds all my newspapers, an iPad, my iPhone 6S and whatever book I happen to be reading at the time. www.hermes.com.

My favourite websites are Superyachts.com for browsing boats, and Barchedepocae classiche.it to see a mix of the classic models I love. For design, I like ElleDecor.com and ArchitecturalDigest.com, as well as WorldofInteriors.co.uk for beautiful images and unexpected places. Corriere.it and FT.com are my go-to sources for news.

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