An unofficial Italian design museum.
Recognized as the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, Florence has much to offer in terms of fine art. Gaze upon Botticelli’s Birth of Venus at the Uffizi Gallery; stand in awe of Michelangelo’s David at the Galleria dell’Accademia; and at Flair, take a seat among luxurious mid-century furniture. Each of these establishments is a home to masterpieces in their own right.
Situated along the Arno River, between the Ponte Santa Trinita and Ponte alla Carraia bridges, this 20th century gallery of sorts blends into the romantic street with a discreet exterior. Not to be missed however, is their flagship location, one of the interior design industry’s most popular Italian delights.
Walking in off the street, the grandeur of the restored 14th-century building is almost overwhelming as a light aroma of amber and vanilla envelops the space—a custom candle designed for the store. With stripped walls, vaulted ceilings, and intricate frescos, the bare structure alone lends enough reason to visit. Sauntering around, instead of Raphael and Caravaggio, each corner is decorated by finely selected furniture, much of which is from the seventies.
Founded by husband-and-wife duo Alessandra Tabacchi and Franco Mariotti in 1998 after leaving their careers in fashion, the pair focused their efforts on sourcing beautiful vintage pieces—a unique interior design model at that time. As longtime friend of the couple and flagship store manager, Dario Pagliaro explains, “Florence is a city based on antiques; it didn’t believe in vintage.” Today, with franchises in Milan, Rome, and New York, it should be safe for Firenze to concede to the successful concept.
Moving from one showcase to the next, there is a mix of fabrics on view to complement the capacious rooms. From a 1960s Italian armchair upholstered with silk velvet or a hanging centerpiece by French sculptor Elie Hirsch, the group expertly blends styles that span multiple eras into poised displays. Though Alessandra and Franco still work to source unique pieces for all of the sites, they also pursue new projects to elevate the brand. Moving forward, they’ve begun producing limited or one-of-a-kind pieces designed and created in collaboration with local artisans.
Since the Tuscan city Flair calls home is best known for its provenance, travel itineraries are rightfully packed with gallery hops. But for the furnishings enthusiast, this flagship of design should not be missed—nor, too, should it be left off the city’s museum registry.
Photos by Sheila Lam.