By John Linden
Interior design, furniture design, lover of all things chic in home decor.
Italian modernism is the notable mid 20th century style that can be seen today in lamps, furniture, lighting, and of course mirrors.
The style itself is most noted for its versatility but can be identified by its bold colors, idiosyncratic shapes, and spare design.
Below I’ll discuss the best ways of identifying and finding these Italian style mirrors.
Like more the furniture we talk about on The Most Chic, you can either go for vintage or reproduction pieces.
One word of advice, vintage glass and mirror is almost always very expensive.
Since glass is so hard to maintain over time (think about it…) the only pieces that tend to survive for more than 20 years were originally coveted for their beauty and charm.
As with most things, this means their value has appreciated over time, making them mostly expensive furniture pieces.
What is Italian Modernism?
Italian modernism is perhaps most easily identified in mirror design.
For many years, Italy was the main producer of decorative glass and mirror throughout Europe and as such was on the forefront of design in the world of wall mirrors.
Likewise, design thinkers like Gio Ponti (mentioned above) and design forward companies like Fontana Arte were in the wall mirror business.
With the means in both material and talent concentrated in Italy, after 1930 there creative, beautiful and iconic wall mirrors poured out of Italy.
Where to Find Vintage Italian Modern Mirrors (from the 1950s)?
👍 John’s Rule of Thumb Vintage wall mirrors are expensive but often very beautiful and worth the investment for their color and uniqueness.
Finding vintage wall mirrors is not restricted to the antique dealers of New York City, Paris, and Milan like it once was.
As we’ve talked about quite a bit on the Most Chic, the internet offers tons of great resources for finding all types of vintage furniture, and mirrors are no exception.
1st dibs is the original an din my opinion best resource if you are looking for a high-end, certified Italian style wall mirror.
Many of the best antique dealers work on 1st Dibs, so the collections leave little to be desired.
Again, the big drawback here is the expensive.
Pamono is endlessly well curated and a website I’ve been meaning to mention more.
Their mirror collection is good — with pieces from Gio Ponti, Fontana Arte, and other notable Italian designers.
What’s more, you will get to browse through a ton of interesting furniture, both new and old, and with price points all over the map.
Decoso is new to me but has the same vibe as Charish.com (one of my favorites) with a higher-brow collection.
They feature tons of collectors items, including Italian style wall mirrors.
A word of warning, most of their collection is in the traditional gilt and baroque style not the modern pieces of the mid 20th century.
Where to Find Reproduction Italian Style Mirrors?
👍 John’s Rule of Thumb Reproduction pieces are a mixed bag, as most are massed produced faux modern mass produced abroad.
Unlike reproduction mid century case goods, mirrors tend to be made cheaply — especially reproduction pieces.
Below, I’ve tried to steer you away from those and toward high quality pieces with some fidelity to the Italian design.
One of the few classic Italian brands that still makes wall mirrors, Cassoni captures that vintage Italian style in their contemporary line of mirrors.
Nellave Trina is actually a collection of mirrors currently made by Italian designers.
I have not personally ordered anything form them but by browsing their collection I can say it looks like there is at least variety.
As some of you know I moonlight as a mirror designer.
We’ve been working on a collection of Italian inspired pieces, focusing on the colors and shapes that defined the modern Italian look.
Space and light and order.
Those are the things that men need just as much as they need bread or a place to sleep.
Material and Style of Italian Mirrors
Modern Italian mirrors were defined by their gorgeous use of color.
More over, many pieces also featured asymmetrical shapes and colorful metal frames.
The image above captures the asymmetry and rich color choice of the era perfectly.
The oblong shape of the mirror was a classic motif, while the light green a cool relief found in many furniture pieces (not just wall mirrors).
The brass framed mirror above shows the creative design choices, use of color, and embrace of brass that defined wall mirrors of the era.
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