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Masters in Profile: Emilio Nanni

Italian design is full of master craftsmen and artisans, and when it comes to contemporary furniture, it’s impossible to ignore the master of Emilio Nanni.

  • The Doll family of chairs

  • The Drum collection

  • My Chair

  • Left: My Chair / Right: Croissant

  • Emilio Nanni

Born in Bazzano Bologna in 1955, Emilio Nanni obtained his architecture degree as an adult in the architectural hotspot of Florence. Since then, he has gone onto to be an acclaimed and world-renowned architect and designer – as an architect, he has realised numerous interventions in various Italian cities in a range of scales: from smaller residential structures to large-scale urban redefinition, both in the public and private sphere. 

As a designer, he has earned international acclaim for a nuanced yet broadly appealing style, particularly for his furniture work with famed design house Billiani. For Billiani, Emilio Nanni has been a central force for the brand’s evolution and growing product range of contemporary furniture. Some Indesign favourites from the range include…

My Chair

My Chair: A charming modern chair set apart by its characteristic sprouting “ears” by the backrest. My Chair winks with a bold irreverence while the softly turned legs supporting the rounded base help to transmit a feeling of delicateness. The aesthetic detail of a visible pin helps ground the design in the practical – despite its softness, you are reassured of its strength.

Croissant: A refined sense of belonging unites the entire Croissant collection of chairs and tables. The recurring design across the range is a crosspiece that distinguishes the seating and tables from their contemporaries. From the dining table to lounge areas, from restaurant bars and lobbies to private dining: Croissant is a complete collection.

Doll: Billiani’s Doll range is iconic. Originally designed in 2010 by Emilio Nanni, over the years it has continued to grow and develop, much in the same way as a beloved toy, or doll collection. As part of this ever-evolving brood, a new addition was released at the 2018 Salone del Mobile Milan – the Doll Steel Barstool.


Drum: The Drum collection is a family of stools and chairs that are faithful to their wooden origin. Characterised by the unique flaring of their seats, the thick but tapered base is backed by a curved plywood backrest. Available with upholstered seat or without, and in various finishes, Drum is a family collection for a family home.

Emilio Nanni is clearly a master of his craft, and has participated in numerous exhibitions and conferences dedicated to this.

His collections for Billiani, along with the rest of the Billiani range, is available in Australia through the keen-eyed design lovers at Cafe Culture + Insitu.

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