Renzo Mongiardino

Renzo Mongiardino , a stage and screen set designer who also was called the world's greatest living interior decorator, once said ''I'm a creator of ambiance, a scenic designer, an architect but not a decorator,'' he definetly was that most rarefied of talents: a designer’s designer, a creator of dazzling special effects as the American designer Mark Hampton described once Renzo Mongiardino as "an alchemist, a transformer of common materials into noble ones, a brilliant manipulator of emotion through design". Atmosphere, not authenticity, was the secret of his success; after all, he was, first and foremost, a set designer. Whether executed for a French aristocrat like Baron Guy de Rothschild, a Manhattan financier like Peter Sharp or an international presence like Gianni Versace, a house by Renzo Mongiardino was a miracle of stage-set trickery. The same painters, carpenters, gilders and model makers who manufactured Mongiardino’s sets for stage and screen worked on the maestro’s interiors as well. His aesthetic suggested a more theatrical, highly emotional cousin of the “humble elegance” espoused by his English contemporary John Fowler. Steeped in history and romance, his interiors never failed to evoke what one admirer called “the corrosive breath of the breeze of melancholy.”

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