New York, Italian Style

  • Jorge Arango

At May’s Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan, Mobilidea, the younger offshoot of the 105-year-old furniture company Medea, unveiled a line of beautifully crafted New York–themed furnishings, mostly made of light and dark palisander wood combined with leather and adorned with black nickel-plated or patinated-brass hardware. While the quality is familiar, the new pieces definitely have a more youthful vigor than the offerings of Medea, a furniture firm established in 1905 by the Tagliabue family in an area of Lombardy called Brianza, a center distinguished for its density of fine cabinetmakers.

The original firm specialized in handcrafted reproductions of various 19th-century styles. But 10 years ago, a succeeding generation of Tagliabues created Mobilidea, a division devoted to swankier, deco-inspired designs. These pieces showcase Brianza’s storied cabinetmaking talents (albeit with a newer, smaller generation of artisans) through the company’s signature “folding” wood process, where sheets of veneers are literally folded around oak forms, eliminating unsightly seams. Everything—shape, size, finish, fabric—is customizable. Prices vary but generally fall between $1,800 (for the Soho side chair in leather) to more than $10,000 (the four-door, six-drawer Grand Central sideboard). The 67-inch Tribeca table in palisander falls in the middle, at approximately $6,800. Everything is made to order and delivered between 60 and 90 days. (011.39.362.70585, info@mobilidea.com)

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