Art meets commerce: Molteni & C Salone del Mobile pavilion features murals by Roberto Ruspoli

At Salone del Mobile 2023, Molteni & C presents a contemporary interpretation of the Roman Domus, featuring murals by Roberto Ruspoli: watch the video

Molteni & C Salone del Mobile Pavilion with murals by Roberto Ruspoli
(Image credit: Courtesy Molteni & C)

Molteni & C's Salone del Mobile 2023 fair pavilion featured a hand-drawn intervention by Italian artist Roberto Ruspoli. Adding a new dimension to the classically sleek fair stand, the design combined the soft versatility of the company's new collections with the gentle trait of the artist's signature work.

The murals were part of artistic director Vincent Van Duysen's vision for the 2023 presentation, bringing to life his approach to the art of living and merging indoor and outdoor spaces within the fairground booth. 

Molteni & C Salone del Mobile Pavilion with murals by Roberto Ruspoli

Mateo table by Vincent Van Duysen, Porta Volta Chair by Herzog & de Meuron

(Image credit: Courtesy Molteni & C)

The space is based on an ancient Roman Domus, whose living environments are developed around a central courtyard (featuring Molteni & C's outdoor collection, which made its debut earlier this year). Van Duysen was also inspired by the 1933 house by Pier Giulio Magistretti in Milan, whose architecture integrates modern and classic elements throughout.

The collection includes new designs by Van Duysen, such as the Mateo table and Augusto sofa, as well as pieces by Naoto Fukasawa including the Tuscany chaise longue, and Herzog & de Meuron's Porta Volta chair, originally conceived for the reading room of the Israel National Library in Jerusalem.

Watch: the making of Molteni & C's Roman Domus by Roberto Ruspoli

'I like being able to interact with contemporary design, creating something that somehow trascends time' says Ruspoli, whose work forms the backdrop for Molteni & C's sophisticated living sets.

Titled 'Virgilio's Dream', Ruspoli's intervention adds a poetic aura to the fairground pavilion. The space is created as the imaginary room of the young poet Virgil, a place where poetic visions are formed: hand-drawn in black chalk, the drawings feature classical stylised elements, including plants and stylized humans.

Molteni & C Salone del Mobile Pavilion with murals by Roberto Ruspoli

Porta Volta chair by Herzog & de Meuron

(Image credit: Courtesy Molteni & C)

'Contours, lines, and anthropomorphic figures stand out in a monochromatic space, contaminated by ancient forms revisited with a modern twist,' adds Van Duysen. 'The classical gives way to the contemporary, in a stylistic ecstasy that breaks the patterns of space and time, to find itself in the here and now.'

'My work is like jazz, it usually comes into existence the moment I create it,' adds Ruspoli. 'The crucial part is a contemplation of the space: each space will tell me what it needs.'

Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.