One of the highlights of BlogTourNYC was a trip to one of my favorite showrooms, Donghia. The Atlanta showroom is lovely, but it pales in comparison to the size of its location in the Decoration and Design Building on 3rd Ave. In the design world, nothing sets my sail like a Flagship.
Flagship showrooms go balls to the walls with inspired design and then they paper the ceilings too.
Don’t forget to love your ceilings.
Prepare your self for Metallica 2014 and beyond.
A Brief History of Donghia:
Upon graduating from Parsons School of Design in 1959, Angelo Donghia joined the firm of Yale Burge Interiors where he quickly made a name for himself and within a few years became partner. By 1972 Donghia Associates was formed and focused in the areas of residential, contract and hospitality design. Mr. Donghia continued to grow his clientele, which included some of the most famous names of the era such as Barbara Walters, Ralph Lauren, Halston, and Diana Ross amongst others.
However, Angelo Donghia was not content with interior design work alone, by 1968 he had turned his attention to fabric and wallcoverings with the establishment of &Vice Versa, a to the trade collection and showroom of fabrics and wallcoverings later to become Donghia Textiles in 1980. This trend-setting company was quickly recognized as one of the most imaginative, energetic and contemporary textile and wallcovering collections in the market. The success of & Vice Versa led to the opening in 1976 of the first Donghia Showroom in Los Angeles. By 1978 Donghia Furniture was established to produce fine upholstery and casepieces and Mr. Donghia continued the growth of his companies, expanding his network of showrooms and products across the United States.
Since his passing in 1985 Donghia was owned and operated as a private company. In 2005, the company was purchased by the Rubelli Group, an established family business and leading designer and manufacturer of textiles from Venice, Italy – allowing the Donghia brand to continue to grow both in the United States and internationally. – via Donghia
After spending the day at the Flagship, I want to go to the Mothership, in Venice!
Who do I see about that?
Today, Donghia isn’t a singular brand, but a collection of individual standouts, including high-end Home and Hospitality brands:
Donghia, Armani/Casa Exclusive Textiles by Rubelli, Armani/Casa Exclusive Textiles by Rubelli, Baron Leather, Bart Halpern, Bergamo Fabrics, Boyd Lighting, The Bradley Collection, Calvin, Castel, Charles Paris Lighting, Clearly Classic, Dominique Kieffer, Elitis, Emporio Beraldin, Hinson, J&V Italian Design,Inox NY, John Boyd Textiles, The Kentfield Collection, Lulu Dk, Marimekko Wallcoverings, Mrs. MacDougall, New Wall, Petta Thompson, Porta Romana, Rubelli, Sahco, Seguso for Donghia, Studio Art Leather, Studio Printworks…a luxurious lot.
Faux pony paper on the walls calls for sequins at the windows, don’t you think?
Love this sequin embellished linen SACHO fabric by Ulf Moritz:
I love the backstory behind this modernized Trumeau mirror:
It turns out, mirrors used to be taxed according to their size. French manufacturers figured out a way to avoid paying a premium on large mirrors by splitting the mirror in two or adding a fresco in the upper quadrant of a frame. If it holds true that constraint breeds creativity, this is was a smart and stylish solution!
Faux black coral lamps, y’all:
Love…and need the deets.
It comes in Coral faux coral too.
As mentioned earlier, Italian fabric producer Rubelli purchased Donghia in 2005, bringing with it incredibly lush and storied history.
San Marco, for example, has a lustrous sheen and an incredibly soft hand.
With a firm grasp of the history of Donghia, VP Carolyn Reed filled our group in on the story behind Rubelli and it’s how it’s connection to the past led to a collaboration with Russia’s Bolshoi ballet.
The stage curtain at the Bolshoi was in serious need of replacement, but the producer of the original, intricate metallic fabric had long since gone out of business.
There is a sample of the curtain encased in glass at Donghia. It wasn’t my decision to unlock the case, but you know: I touched it.
Carolyn explained Rubelli’s role in recreating such a large scale piece of art:
Rubelli started work on the project as early as 2007, initially for the boxes, wall coverings and drapes, and later for the impressive stage curtains.
The first contact with the theatre’s management dates back to when Rubelli was asked to produce, on the basis of some original samples in silk from the theatre, a damask (for the boxes, the rooms behind the boxes and pelmets) and a brocatelle (for the drapes and walls), both in red, as well as two types of flame retardant velvet (one lightweight, again for the drapes, and a very strong version for the balustrades), all in line with current regulations.
Obtaining the same colour result, a strong red, when transforming the silk into a flame retardant fabric, was not a simple matter. Many tests – all in Trevira CS – were carried out at the Rubelli mill before approval of the sample and later production and delivery of the entire order. Around 1,200 metres of the damask, a faithful reproduction of the tsarist-inspired pattern, and over 6,000 metres of the brocatelle, featuring a design with very high repeat and a slightly different shade of red compared to the damask, were produced. Over 2,000 metres of the velvet, in a medium red, were also manufactured.
At the end of 2009 a total of 9,200 metres were delivered to the theatre for immediate hanging. In actual fact opening of the theatre was postponed and the fabrics were placed in store in Moscow with the due precautions on Rubelli’s instructions.
In 2010 and 2011 the lampas and velvet for the stage curtains, side columns and balustrades of the boxes, as well as over 1,700 metres of technical fabric, were delivered in various instalments.
The stage curtain was definitely the most important, complex and precious part of the entire project.
The various phases of the stage curtain operation (initial research, design, production of samples and subsequent approval) were performed within a timescale of approximately a year and a half.
At the various stages of the work numerous meetings were held, both in Italy and Russia, between the theatre’s representatives and the various members of Rubelli staff involved in the project: draughtsmen, designers and commercial staff. In addition to the Venice offices a delegation from the theatre also visited the Rubelli mill near Como, at both the opening and closing stages of the work.”
Goodness. It was a massive undertaking. This a little fella will give you a sense of the scale of the project:
Good. Lawd. That’s a lot of expensive fabric.
The fabric of the original stage curtain, in silk and pure gold yarn, featured a very high pattern repeat (1.5 metres horizontally and over 3 metres vertically) which remained identical also in the Rubelli reproduction.
This pattern contains typical elements of Soviet iconography: ears of wheat, hammer and sickle, five-point star and CCCP in Cyrillic, the equivalent of the USSR, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. On the basis of the new artistic design supplied by the theatre management these elements were replaced with the double-headed tsarist imperial eagle, Saint George and the dragon and the word RUSSIA, naturally in Cyrillic.
To maintain the precious quality of the original stage curtain the Rubelli mill used 500 kilos of pure gold yarn, developed by a highly specialised spinning factory, unique of its kind in the world.
The result is a precious, shiny lampas used to make two stage curtains: the first is the “classic” one made up of two lengths of cloth which, running on tracks, are gathered at the sides; the second is that which, descending from above, is used taut as a backdrop, in particular, as is customary, during speeches given by the President.
A total of over 1,100 metres of lampas were supplied for the two stage curtains and for covering the side columns. There is then a third stage curtain, again in red, which required 930 metres of velvet, also used to make the valance.
Check out this custom dress on the model below.
It is made of Rubelli’s La Traviata, the fabric that adorns the walls of the Venice Opera House:
I feel Venice and Russia calling. Let’s go!
You’ll find me wearing upholstery fabric along the canals and at the ballet, too. With jeans and flats, of course.
Metallurgy, Design Alert: Donghia is all about contemporary metallics this year.
Take a peek behind the scenes at the Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan:
Hire a designer to help you navigate their extensive offerings, because these goodies are to the trade. Now that I typed that, I’m thinking: Why not hire me?
Personally, after perusing Donghia’s fabrics and watching a spectacularly golden summer sunrise, I’m going to drink coffee out of the fancy cups this morning.
What about you? Do you eat off your wedding registry china; drink Champers out of vintage gold rimmed glasses; throw on a sequin headband with your ripped jeans? It’s all good. Great conversations start in the most comfortable rooms…I put a sofa in the comment section…so head there and let me know how you make the everyday special.
Never let anyone dull your shimmer and sparkle,
*Donghia is a sponsor of #BlogTourNYC, but opinions are like * (read a book!). This is 100% mine.