London loves the Latin look - suave, mixing old crafts with the latest technology. The style includes super-sized sofas, luscious leather, smooth cabinets and lacquers to see your face in.
“Many family firms have furniture in their blood,” says Bob Lloyd-Davies, who runs a new Clerkenwell showroom for Poltrona Frau, which includes items from Cassina, Cappellini and Edra.
A dazzling white chesterfield has its pristine hide tightly buttoned into classic diamond-deep pleats. Apparently it’s fully cleanable. Poltrona Frau has a leather pedigree from 1912, and kits out luxury cars such as Maserati and Ferrari.
A short walk away is the Moroso showroom. This bells-and-whistles brand’s muse is the mercurial Patrizia Moroso herself. Moroso sells pieces from the latest Milan furniture fair.
Trading for the past few months is Molteni on Shaftesbury Avenue. Andrea Molteni’s family firm dates from the Thirties. Oversized seating nestles against an impeccable kitchen installation by sister brand Dada, with doors that slide open or ascend at the lightest touch.
Armani Casa is on New Bond Street. Armani’s high-luxe look is an opulent reworking of Art Deco in classy cream, chocolate and pewter.
On the other side of Oxford Street, Minotti opened in February. A small workshop that opened after the Second World War is now a Milan megabrand, offering large-scale furniture to order.
Brompton Cross boasts B&B Italia, showing Patricia Urquiola’s outre and outsized curlicued cane chairs; while Boffi, the celebrity kitchen king, is next door. A short walk away are Bisazza’s mosaics from Venice, and tiny squares of glass and metal, make-up murals by top contemporary designers.
And in Pimlico, a posh period town house is yet another Italian triumph. This is Promemoria, refurbished last year over four floors by designer Romeo Sozzi.
It is the last word in luxury, with marquetry tabletops, wood panelling, a working kitchen and bannisters upholstered in grey silk velvet. Even the door handles are hand-blown in Murano glass.
Armani Casa: 113 New Bond Street, W1 (020 7079 1930; www.armanicasa.com)
B&B Italia: 250 Brompton Road, SW3 (020 7591 8111; www.bebitalia.it)
Bisazza: 60 Sloane Avenue, SW3 (020 7584 8837)
Boffi: 254 Brompton Road, SW3 (020 7590 8910)
Molteni: 199 Shaftesbury Avenue, WC2 (020 7631 2345)
Minotti: 77 Margaret Street, W1 (020 7323 3233; www.minotti.com)
Moroso: 7-15 Roseberry Avenue, EC1 (020 3328 3560; www.moroso.it)
Poltrona Frau: 150 St John Street, EC1 (020 7600 0600; www.poltronafrau.it)
Promemoria: 99 Pimlico Road, SW1 (020 7730 2514; www.promemoria.com)