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La Dolce Vita – Interior Design World of Carlo Donati

Discover the Italian style of Carlo Donati’s interior and furniture designs – La Dolce Vita.

The Italian design studio’s work is mostly focused on different types of interior design projects that highlight the power of fine craftsmanship techniques. Surrounded by one of the world’s best craftsmanship cultures, La Dolce Vita – the furniture collection with Essential Home and DelightFULL was the great opportunity to combine two of Carlo Donati’s many passions: craftsmanship and a modern approach of the mid-century style.

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Italian Style

As you know, Italy is one of the most important design capitals in today’s industry, thanks to its rich history and beautiful architectural landmarks. Hosting some of the best interior design events, the beautiful city of Milan is also the hometown of some of the world’s top interior designers, such as the Italian legend, Carlo Donati. Most of his design projects have been published in the international press, such as the most influential interior design magazines and books of architecture in Italy and all over the world.

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Whether it is residential design, the creation of a villa, or even commercial projects, Carlo Donati Studio has become one of the most renowned experts in Italy and worldwide. Its founder, Carlo Donati was born in Zibello (Parma) in 1965 and studied architecture at the Politecnico of Milan, Italy, where he graduated in 1992. Passionate about the world of design and all of its creative possibilities, Carlo has featured a strong aesthetic and sense of beauty from a young age. “Memories of details in my friends’ houses or in hotels during family vacations have monopolized my imagination since early childhood. Since then, beauty to me represented a matter of proportions, colors, and details”, the designer explained.


From Milan to New York

During his twenties, the Italian designer started working for historic architectural firms in Milan, such as Studio BBPR and Gregotti. A few years later, in 1995, Carlo Donati moved to New York to be the consultant architect of one of the most famous luxury design groups in the world, also known as Versace. “Though his style was different from mine and rather decorative, I found his creativity and taste for colors very inspiring.” During that time, the Italian interior designer was challenged with the renovation of Gianni Versace’s townhouse and the historic Vanderbilt Mansion, the main flagship store on Fifth Avenue.

After working as a consultant for Gianni Versace, the Italian firm worked on the image of other distinguished brands, like Aldo Coppola, Liberty of London, Linea più- A2A, and Colefax & Fowler. Currently, Carlo Donati Studio is responsible for the artistic direction of the Slowear fashion brand and they are developing the new retail concept and design of several stores and showrooms across Italy and worldwide.


Carlo Donati Studio and Farnese Contract

In 1996, Donati decided to create his own company “Carlo Donati Studio” as well as the “Farnese Contract” with Adriano Donati and Massimo Avanzini, which operates as a general contractor, working with the most successful design studios. “In every project, I design custom made furniture, both for residential or retail projects, because I believe that each work requires special attention to furniture details”, explained the Italian designer.

With an authentic contemporary signature style that features deep roots in the past, Donati loves to search for inspiration in the architectural landmarks and Italian design references like Gio Ponti, Osvaldo Borsani, Franco Albini, as well as the abstract scenography by Bob Wilson, the interiors in Stanley Kubrick’s or Quentin Tarantino’s movies. 

In every design project, no matter the style (contemporary, mid-century or modern), Carlo Donati’s minimalist approach is always touched by chromatic and graphic suggestions inspired by the theme chosen in the planning process. “If I think about all the projects we did, the best results always came from synergy and a strong feeling with the client. This friction can be a source of creativity and can bring us to better solutions”, said the interior designer. A fan of perfection and attention to every detail, the Italian designer loves to use both artificial and natural light to emphasize the volumes and perspectives of his design project.

For Carlo Donati, every project is unique, so it’s important to include in the design of unique furniture ideas, specially tailored to each interior. With a career filled with some of the world’s most inspiring designs, Carlo shares special care for two of his projects. “I think the projects that are most representative of our work are the villa LA modern and Loft A.” The first one is a brand-new construction that perfectly reflects their sense of proportions, careful choices of the materials, use of light, a revisited modernist approach. As for the Loft A design, this was an 800 sqm renovation that is still very innovative both for the use of materials and for the interpretation of the layout.

The Italian design studio is currently working on a new residential building with luxury apartments and utilities in Milan downtown. “I believe it’s important to be very updated on the actual trends of the industry but at the same time to be able to work on different tracks out of the mainstream in order to anticipate new trends, be original”, enlightened Carlo Donati. His constant research for new material solutions and the attention to the chromatic palette is what makes his design projects so exclusive. 


Unique Interior Design Projects and Furniture Design Production

Besides creating unique interior design projects, the Carlo Donati Studio entered the world of furniture design production with the presentations of two creative collections: the “Reloaded” collection and another one that was the result of the exclusive partnership with the renowned Italian artist Petrus. Both of these designs were introduced at Fuorisalone Milan 2018 and 2019, respectively. Currently, they are working with a collection for the famous European mid-century modern design brands, Essential Home and DelightFULL.

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Passionate about the lines of the mid-century design lines, Carlo Donati believes that this era was the period of a time period where elegance and lightness were reference points, so the inspiration for his new furniture collection wasn’t hard to find. “I absolutely believe that it will be a fundamental reference in the luxury design since we’re talking about timeless elegance.” For the Italian designer, Essential Home is a brand that combines the Portuguese craftsmanship culture with a contemporary style.

Namely, Portuguese craftsmanship has a well-known old tradition especially in relation to cork which is a light and resistant material and moreover an example of recyclable and sustainable energy. The hand-painted ceramic tiles and textile manufacturing are also a huge part of the country’s artistic culture.

The Italian designer has grown up surrounded by one of the world’s best craftsmanship culture, so with La Dolce Vita furniture collection, Carlo Donati could combine two of his many passions: craftsmanship and a modern approach of the mid-century style. “Designing for Essential Home is a challenge I took up with enthusiasm because it gives me the opportunity to work on one of my favorite styles and moods which is the mid-century modern reloaded with new cues and materials”, he explained.

According to Donati, this partnership was the perfect opportunity to combine the great tradition of the master artisans, through the finest Portuguese craftsmanship culture, with a more Mediterranean mood. His main goal with this mid-century collection was to introduce “lightness, sixties patterns, some kind of ‘joie de vivre’ – very Italian. Like the atmosphere in ‘La Dolce Vita’ – Federico Fellini’s masterpiece.”


La Dolce Vita – Mid-Century Furniture Collection

Prepare yourself to travel back in time with Carlo Donati Studio and Essential Home’s mid-century collection and enjoy La Dolce Vita right from the comfort of your home. Inspired by the iconic modernist movement in architecture and design of the great 50s and 60s masters, these unique pieces are a fantastic way to add a touch of style and history to your decor.


Alberto Table

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Named after one of the best Italian cinema personalities (Alberto Sordi), the smooth curvilinear lines of the wooden legs of this unique table design take inspiration from the architectural shapes of Oscar Niemeyer’s the Alvorada Palace in Brasília, Brazil.

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Federico Chair

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These unique fifties patterns are also found in the luxurious upholstery of the Federico chair design. This beautiful piece is a tribute to the great Federico Fellini, one of the best Italian film director and screenwriter, who was known for his distinctive style.


Mina Chandelier

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Inspired by Turin’s beautiful Palazzo del Lavoro by Pier Luigi Nervi and Gio Ponti, this unique chandelier embodies a look of a stylized plant with a round-shaped heart with the arms that rise like gilded branches.

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Giulietta Screen

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The precious crossing curved brass frame of this beautiful screen, named after Giulietta Masina, creates an elegant dialogue with the upholstery- deep yellow or peacock velvet combined with a fifties’ taste fabric.


Vittorio Sideboard

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These same curvilinear lines are found in the sophisticated design of the Vittorio sideboard, named after the great Vittorio Gassman. The combination of the wooden black lacquered H shaped legs with a walnut wood body and recessed golden handles, recall the lines of a blooming flower.


Claudia Rug

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Embracing a fluid line design, this high-end rug design was handcrafted by the best Portuguese master artisans. Named after the iconic Claudia Cardinale, this luxury piece embodies an unexpected selection of wool colors, connected with rust, light blue, and sand powder palette.




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By Danica Maričić

Interior Designer and Integrated Marketing Communications Pro, Loving Writing and Photography, Passionate about Life & Style, “True Blue” Mediterranean Girl, Curious Traveller & Designer