Phebe Wahl Phebe Wahl | November 16, 2020 | Home & Real Estate Lifestyle
Mistress of the mix, interior designer Alessandra Branca debuts her Casa Branca home collection—a celebration of texture, traditional techniques and stewardship of the fading art of crafts.
Interior designer Alessandra Branca, who recently released her Casa Branca collection.
Known for her multidimensional designs, which often feature bespoke embroidery and cacophonies of pattern and color, Alessandra Branca’s Casa Branca collection of tableware, pillows, lampshades, fabrics, wallpapers and linens will soon be at the top every tastemaker’s list. Sourcing inspiration from her travels, the embroidered linens in this debut line were stitched by women in Rwanda. We polled the interiors icon for the tales behind her many talents.
Pavilion fabric in Sky and navy.
What made you decide to launch the collection?
Having always done custom fabrics for my clients, it was a natural step in the evolution of my life in design. I wanted to design the things I wasn’t seeing out there, and I wanted to curate the collection in a way that enables newer designers to feel confident mixing and matching bold patterns and colors across the collection.
Describe the aesthetic.
Classic with nods to today and eyes on the future—but always based in comfort
Gathered lampshades in a variety of prints and colors.
What was your creative process when concepting Casa Branca?
I took the essence of patterns that are universal. Some are based on 18th century textiles (for example, Nantes) and others are based on different cultures (for example, Jaipur Paisley). I knew I wanted to make things in various places in the world. We are currently working with artisans in Italy, France, the United States, England, India and Rwanda. I look forward to continuing travels all over the world to find more wonderful patterns and inspiration. Artisans have always played a part in your work. Why is that so important to you? I was a granddaughter to an art historian, and artisans were fundamental to the history of Italy, which is where I am from. And I love the relationship with the person who makes something. There is a soul to making something a certain way and it is more obvious with people who are conscious of their craft, rather than the manufacturing.
Tulip candelabras made by Parisian ceramics studio Jean Roger.
Share a bit about your work with women in Rwanda.
It’s life-changing to know you can have an impact on something as harrowing as a genocide. Taught by Belgian nuns on how to embroider, the craftsmanship of these women is of the highest quality. They were able to turn this knowledge into a mission out of a dark time. They really put their hearts and souls into their work, and it’s so wonderful to hear them singing with their children around them while they embroider.
Cestino French and Rigato French tabletop sets.
You’ve always been about the “mix”—texture and color. Why do we need this “spice” in our homes now more than ever?
I think that being curious by nature and possibly attention deprived, I need constant stimulus. The most interesting spaces and people are the ones that are so diverse. I love diversity in everything (food, music, people, art). From Roman to contemporary art, it’s the pendulum that keeps you alive and moving forward. And everyone loves a little spice, no matter what!
A bedroom dressed by Casa Branca.
Photography by: Portrait: Nick Mele; all other photos: courtesy of brand