„Every Great Design Begins With An Even Better Story“

Let me show you how one design inspired me to develop another 2 art pieces from it.

Holidays in Venice, Italy. As always, I tried to find ideas and inspiration like I do on every trip. Venice is of course a pool of design ideas. My husband wanted to surprise me by visiting an exhibition of a well-known designer, without knowing that I had this already on my agenda. But of course I appreciated the thought and so I was very happy about this loving gesture. The exhibition was to take place in the Pallazzo Fortuny of the designer and inventor Mariano Fortuny, who died in Venice in 1949.

Unfortunately, the name Fortuny no longer means anything to most people, although he was once the inventor of the famous Delphos robe, a dress sewn from a single piece of fabric, fixed folded and therefore not creaseable. Why is that so special? Fortuny did not designed this robe just recently, but in 1905. It was elegant and modern, perfect for the beginning age of travel. A real fashion design hit!

With this design, Fortuny can be found in every more detailed book about fashion and fashion history. He really made history with that. And that’s not all. Fortuny, born in Spain and later moved to Venice, preferred to call himself an inventor more than designer. He dealt with lamps and lighting and developed various machines for textile printing and fabric finishing.


Art and Design behind these bricks:

On the Internet I found Palazzo Fortuny, where the famous Delphos robe and other designs by Fortuny should be exhibited. When we arrived, we were confronted with the reality of the Italians, which was not always updated. Not Fortuny, but an exhibition on architecture and design. It was an interesting exhibition, but I still wanted to see the work of Fortuny. Then an employee told him that the Fortuny originals were temporarily housed in his factory.

So we took a water taxi to the island of Giudecca. The Delphos robe was kept here but not exhibited, but there was an insight into the showroom of Fortuny. Unfortunately, the workshop is not accessible to outsiders, but we were invited to visit the largest private garden in Venice, which was behind the workshop.

A real dream for all time travellers. A beautifully designed pool with changing rooms, as if we had gone straight back to the 1920s and 1930s. I almost saw my husband in a striped bathing suit à la „Great Gatsby“ headed into the pool.


Great Gatsby says „Hello“ in Venice’s largest private garden.

My „Dream-come-true“-Cushion said: „Buy me!“

Back in the studio we wanted to say goodbye with a souvenir, a piece of fabric, an upholstery cover, something like that.

And then I saw him – the cushion of my dreams. Well, maybe I exaggerate at this point, but he was really great. Printed on one of the original textile printing machines Fortuny designed over 80 years ago and which were still in operation. With the special technique, the superimposed alternating color planes. In an excitingly radiant red on elegant silver gray. The design of this pillow was awesome.

That should be it. A look at the price of € 390,- plus € 10,- for the cushion inlet slowed down my future decoration dreams. I have never spent € 400,- on a cushion in my whole life. Until my generous husband intervened with the magic words „this cushion is something special, we don’t get it at home and we wanted to take something special from Venice, remember?“. Ok, well, a cushion…….for € 400, – one does not indulge oneself otherwise anything.
At home on our grey couch it still shows off to it’s best advantage.

„I don’t wanna be alone here! Give me fellowship!“

Actually, the story could be over here if there wasn’t a silver-gray painted wall surface that could stand a little refreshment. What could be more obvious than to take the design of the famous upholstery (at this price it had to be used for several occasions) and put it on the wall. Not 1:1, of course, but as inspiration.

It took me 2 days for the design, which I transferred directly onto the wall with a brush. The idea was to combine the ornate design of the upholstery with a strictly geometric striped design. So that the two patterns do not stand to each other like two foreign objects, I gave the black and the white stripes some relatives in different shades of gray and applied them not straight but lying crosswise to devour them on one side with the curls of the red pattern.

„Not enough, I want more!“

Now one could almost think that the work was finished, but there was still a free spot that disturbed me for a long time.
Recently I remembered a fashion illustration I had made a long time ago and thought it could fill that gap perfectly with some editing.

I quickly redrawn the illustration and kept the color scheme red/black/white and gray. The illustration should be very simple, only black lines. I filled my lips with red. One half of the face was covered with white glitter. The background was a combination of stripes and dots in different shades of gray.

To get the perfect connection to upholstery design and wall painting I added a red pattern in the background. Now the wall was perfect. Each part could exist on its own, nothing was copied, but always inspired by each other, and yet all 3 parts correspond perfectly to each other.

I find the journey that an old design has made to create something new most exciting and I am now very happy with my wall at home. Do you have a particularly beautiful piece with an interesting pattern at home? Maybe an inspiration for a new art  piece? Go ahead, have courage and create something new out of it!

And after all designs had found their place, I looked for some nice products from my shop and created a new collection with my fashion illustration shown here. Take a look inside, maybe this lady can prepare a fire for you: