Laura Folgoni is Studio Como’s talented design director and resident Italian. With a keen eye and impeccable taste, Laura styles the Studio Como flagship showroom and represents the company’s 30-plus brands. In this interview, stylist Anna Bugge sits down with her to learn more about Laura’s Italian roots and passion for design.
Today, Laura resides in the Colorado mountains with her family and a menagerie of chickens in a beautiful modern home that she helped design. (Yes, her creativity extends to chicken naming as well; some of my favorites include Waffles, Slash, and Martha.) However, her origins begin across the pond in Italy where her love of design was cultivated at a very young age.
Where are you from? Tell me more about your background?
I was born in Brescia, Italy, a large industrial town in northern Italy. My dad was an artisan metal fabricator who helped conceptualize and produce small articles for industrial designers, such as Gio Ponti and Tobia Scarpa. From the time I was a little girl, I helped in my dad’s shop with small chores, so I know the effort and creative process behind the production of the pieces in our showroom.
My mother was a teacher with a great sense of style; she was always very tuned into industrial design and fashion. I grew up with an orange B&B Italia Camaleonda sofa and a red kitchen! The influence of my dad’s technical artistry and my mother’s design sense eventually led me down the path of attending architecture school in Milano.
As design director of Studio Como, I aspire to tell a universal story of design with our furniture as the protagonist.
Your personal mountain modern home contains many beautiful Studio Como pieces. Do any stick out to you as favorites?
All the pieces feel like my children; it’s hard to pick just one. And it’s not just about what I love, it is about what fits with my lifestyle. The function of the piece is so important. For example, I have the B&B Italia Bend sofa by Patricia Urquiola in black. It’s so comfortable and easy to maintain—I just love it. I’ve sold three of them just from people seeing it and experiencing it in my home. Living with a piece and understanding its every aspect is very important, much like driving a car.
I know there are many new items coming to the showroom. What are you most excited about?
We have some De La Espada pieces coming that I can’t wait to see in person. We’re also expecting the Flexform Monreale dining table which has been on my radar for years. It is a very organic and unusual look for Flexform, and yet it’s perfect for many of our clients and designers, especially those who are outfitting mountain homes. Also, the Minotti Connery sofa will be here soon. It will be great to have that on the floor; Connery is a Minotti favorite for comfort, class, and tailoring.
Tell me more about the new Studio Como space in Vail.
In the new Studio Como outpost at Arrigoni Woods, we have a small collection of our favorite pieces along with a library of design resources. This gives designers and home builders in Eagle County a place to discover the best in modern European design. Even though there is not a full furniture collection, clients and designers are able to get a nice idea of our aesthetic and our offering. The wood flooring on display in the Arrigoni showroom coordinates so well with our furniture and lighting designs—it’s a gorgeous space.
How has the Covid pandemic changed design?
COVID-19 has not changed design, rather, it has opened people’s minds to design. It has changed how people perceive their homes. It is now more similar to a European model/vision. For example, Italians invest a lot in their furniture and homes, even as young adults. They buy furniture pieces that last a lifetime and enhance their lifestyle and social customs which are very important. Sustainability and durability go hand in hand in Italian design. When we were quarantined at home last year, I think many people looked around and realized their spaces could be improved upon—that their homes could be more functional, more comfortable, and more inviting as well.
How do you see your role as design director? And how do you stay inspired?
I’m inspired by the collaboration with our team of design consultants and how passionate they are about the beauty of our pieces. The design consultants always want to learn more and that keeps us all engaged in the latest news from our manufacturers, as well as the history of Italian furniture. Working with people that are eager to learn about the industry always motivates me.
As design director of Studio Como, I aspire to tell a universal story of design with our furniture as the protagonist. These are not just beautiful pieces, they are pieces that improve the lives of our clients and have a fascinating history.
As far as how I personally stay inspired, I’m very lucky to live in the hills outside of Denver. Looking out my window alone sparks so much joy for me. A mountain neutral palette with hints of blue and green is my daily dose of inspiration.