A sense of harmony and light floods the warm, brightly colored home of Rosita Missoni, the founder of eponymous Italian label Missoni. With heavy design emphasis on the entertainment areas of her home, this family-oriented matriarch is ready for guests at a moment’s notice. In this feature, she takes us on a verbal tour of her home, her design aesthetic, and the history of the space, and also lets us catch a more personal glimpse through photographs.
Do you entertain guests at your home often?
Yes, very often. I host my friends in my living and in my dining room. The house has huge windows and the garden comes through in every room.
What is your favorite room in your house?
My preferred room is the sitting room where we watch television. It has a cozy corner with a fireplace where we like to gather for drinks before lunch or dinner and where we follow all kinds of sports and watch movies and news.
How would you describe your home?
It’s a two-floor country house surrounded by a wild botanical garden and large lawns on the hills near Varese, facing the Italian Alps and the marvelous Monte Rosa.
Do you personally oversee the decoration of your home?
Yes of course, everything is very personal and messy; it’s a colorful put-together. My concept is that the house is my nest. I like to accumulate all the things I like: comfortable furniture and old and modern objects from art, craft, nature, and design.
What design ethic do you follow when it comes to your home?
I think my homes are friendly, messy, colorful, and, of course, open to family and friends. Furnishing my way means creating a habitat that’s organized but also informal, versatile, welcoming, and, in particular, free. The home needs to be free for movement and meetings, the comings and goings of the family, when friends and acquaintances unexpectedly drop in. It’s important to encourage emotions and curiosity, to transform the space into an oasis of colors and moods, a comfortable shell with pleasant and unusual elements put together with a free flow of ideas.
How did you come to live here?
In 1968 we moved our factory to Sumirago on top of a hill surrounded by natural woods and lawns facing the crown of the Alps with the superb view of Monte Rosa. This was a place chosen with special attention following Tai’s suggestion that we should work where we would like to spend our weekends; a beautiful, inspiring place would be a fundamental source of inspiration for our creativity. Our choice was so right that shortly afterwards we started thinking of also building our house here.
What is your most prized possession?
Our TV room coffee table. It is a mockup playwood coffee table, a reproduction of a 1920s design piece. My two granddaughters, Jennifer and Margherita, aged 9 and 11 at the time, started decorating it with all kinds of funny patterns using colored felt pens often under the amused eye of their Grandpa Tai. I was very impressed by their work, and my son Luca, Jennifer’s father, decided it was worth protecting with a resin coating and personally took care of making it the family’s most appreciated naïf-art piece.
What type of art decorates your wall?
Paintings collected over a lifetime are hung all over our walls. Among them I love the 1950 Savinio “Birth of Venus” that Tai bought nearly 30 years ago as my Christmas gift to him. There is a large Tancredi 1953 abstract painting that was a gift from our children and I for Tai’s 80th birthday. In my bedroom, there is a collection of ten Sonia Delaunay fashion gouaches, and, hanging over the headboard, a huge floral painting by Jacques Henri Lartigue.
If money was no object and you could design a fantasy wing of your house, what would you design and why?
I love my conservatory room and I like to use it for cocktails and aperitifs on special occasions, such as Christmas lunches, anniversaries, and birthdays. I would like a bigger one and to spend more time personally caring for my plants.