Silvia Gallotti greets me at the Gallotti&Radice flagship store on Jalan Maarof, Bangsar, looking glamorous in a champagne silk blouse and a custom-tailored silk obi belt bearing the brand’s current seasonal print. She is the picture of elegance, settling down to talk to me about all manner of things—not least of which the company that bears her name.
“My father, Pierangelo Gallotti, helped establish Gallotti&Radice back in the ’50s together with Luigi Radice. They had a common passion, design, with a shared interest in glass. They started as glass engravers and, over the years, decided to produce their own handmade glass-and-metal collection,” Gallotti explains of the brand’s history. “We are passionate about design and are constantly collaborating with international and Italian designers. Our aim is to bring beauty into our customers’ homes.
“Glass will always be part of our DNA and we are constantly reinventing the material, incorporating it with other materials or creating something totally new altogether,” she continues. “Our coffee table, Re-verre, for example, is made from an amalgamation of recycled glass and resin, resulting in a new material. We like the idea of repurposing. The name of the coffee table alludes to this—verre is glass in French and Re-verre indicates a new kind of glass. The shape is organic and it is completely handmade. It encapsulates the values of our brand.”
What would you say is the biggest impact your father had on you?
Relationships were important to my father. It was important for him to establish teams both in and out of the company, and he was always in touch with distributors. He was also keen on establishing collaborations with other designers, both Italian and international. His foresight saw our collections being exported outside Italy.
My father was passionate about glass and creating a piece of art from it. He was focused on the safety and value of every product too, even if the material was fragile. He helped to promote it in the ’70s when glass was not yet popular in furniture. This passion was passed on to me and I’m honoured to be a part of the business and continue the legacy. I had studied economics but was always interested in fashion, design and art so it was a natural transition into the business.
What is the most important thing you and the brand focus on with each new collection?
We have some values we consider important whenever we create a new collection. One of these is that our furniture and designs must be timeless. We have pieces that were created in the ’70s that are still bestsellers. Our items are not trendy, rather they are investments that last over time. We place a lot of importance on the identity of the piece and, though we adopt a holistic view of interiors, every item of ours must have a strong personality. Making things by hand, fatto a mano, the uniqueness of a handmade piece and its sustainability are also values we embrace.
The belt you’re wearing is quite spectacular too.
Every year, we introduce a new fabric collection that is designed especially for, and distributed, by us. The print you see on my obi belt is the same as the cushions and it’s derived from our archives. The idea behind the print, Utopia, was of an ideal city, an environment of wonderful architecture and greenery. Our textiles come from an area near Como that is famous for its fabrics.
What’s your top tip for first-time visitors to Milan?
I live in an area between Como and Milan, Brianza, which is well known for artisanal, handmade designs. As it is, Milan is already a centre for fashion and design. It’s great to be in an area that is so dynamic. We want to carry on this artisanal tradition and are constantly finding new ways to incorporate them into our designs.
As a Milanese insider, I would recommend Fondazione Prada for art. I like Langosteria, the seafood restaurant on Via Savona. My home, Casa Mia a Milano, is an exclusive apartment in the historical part of Milan, Via Macheroni. I chose this place because the building is housed in a 1920s mansion. We kept a lot of the architecture, from the flooring to the mouldings. I use this space for friends and clients but it is welcome to those who want to host an event in the city too. It’s not a showroom—it is a private space where people can feel comfortable.
What inspires you and your colleagues to continue designing and creating pieces?
The best inspirations come from one’s own experiences. I like to travel a lot and that’s where I derive most of my inspirations—East or West. London was my first source of inspiration when I was young but there have been many other places since. Nature is also where I derive ideas—I do like the outdoors and hiking. Art also inspires me and I go to art exhibitions a lot.
What do you do in your off time?
My day-to-day can be hectic but when I’m not working, I like going for Pilates and spending time with my two sons and my dog. Our Bernese Mountain Dog was adopted and came from Russia during the outbreak of the war. His name is Myr, which is Russian for peace.
More photos of Silvia Gallotti
Photography: Zung Ninja