When Queen Elena of Italy met Carlo Bugatti at the International Exhibition of Decorative Arts held in Turin in 1902, she praised him, declaring her appreciation for his “Moorish-style” furniture. The proud Bugatti did not hesitate to point out his sovereign’s mistake: “Your majesty, this style is not Moorish – it’s my own!”
As a matter of fact, the queen was not completely wrong: the brilliant artist’s production in those years had an undeniable exotic quality.
Carlo Bugatti (Milan, 1856 – Molsheim 1940) was a sculptor, but also had a great interest in architecture and science. He was a friend of Giovanni Segantini, who went with him to Brera’s Fine Art Academy and would become his brother-in-law, and focused on designing and building furniture in pursuit of complete originality – which he often achieved by choosing unusual materials.
Indeed, his style – with works connoted by Orient-inspired exoticisms, intense use of decoration, and odd shapes – set him apart from every trend en vogue in the early 1900s. His chairs, desks, armchairs, tables, and couches gained increasing popularity, one international event after the other, until their triumph at Turin’s 1902 expo.
Today, the name Bugatti is immediately associated with the French carmaker: Carlo’s firstborn, Ettore, founded it in Molsheim, in 1909. His other son, Rembrandt, became a famous sculptor.
A family with creativity and talent in its blood.