Cultured Collections

Cultured Collections with Charles Zana

Charles Zana's Paris living room features a Dune table and Djo armchair from his first furniture and lighting collection, launching October 20 and a 1965 Ettore Sottsass totem. Photography by Matthieu Salvaing, courtesy of Charles Zana.
Charles Zana's Paris living room features a Dune table and Djo armchair from his first furniture and lighting collection, launching October 20 and a 1965 Ettore Sottsass totem. Photography by Matthieu Salvaing, courtesy of Charles Zana.

Elizabeth Fazzare: How did you begin to build your own collection?

Charles Zana: As a child, I would often walk in the neighborhood of Hôtel Drouot with my father. We would visit galleries and museums. This is when I started buying little things, boxes, books...

EF: What was the first piece you purchased?

CZ: A blue Venini glass vase from the 1950s, bought from François Laffanour who had just opened his gallery.

EF: Do you have a defining theme to your collection?

CZ: A collection of statement objects, though not in the sense of ostentatious art. I like pieces that tell a story, convey a mood, capture the spirit of an era and break away from the past!

A 1957 Carlo Mollino armchair with ottoman, 1962 Ettore console, 1965 Sottsass totem and Cabestan lamp by Charles Zana decorate a seating area. Photography by Matthieu Salvaing, courtesy of Charles Zana.

EF: What designers/artists are inspiring you right now?

CZ: Currently, I am looking at Carlo Scarpa's architecture a lot; I so love his attention to detail! I really like the work of FormaFantasma, a very inspiring Italian architect duo. I love contemporary architecture, which feeds on local crafts, raw materials and classic proportions but is of a resolutely modern feel!

EF: As a longtime collector of Ettore Sottsass works, how do you feel about the rest of the design world catching onto newfound appreciation for them?

CZ: Sottsass is considered as an artist, a painter, a colorist and a writer. But he is also and above all an architect, that is the lesson Sottsass gives us today. The fabulous exhibition, which has just opened at Centre Pompidou, reveals this aspect of him! Beyond Sottsass begins the magical.

EF: In terms of discovering new artists/designers, what are your trusted methods?

CZ: I think it's a mix of culture, intuition and spontaneous encounters; you have to know how to keep a fresh eye to feel the new currents. It is often by stepping aside, walking off the beaten tracks, leaving consecrated art behind that one allows oneself to feel, understand and discover the creations of tomorrow.

charles zana
Charles Zana at home. Portrait by François Halard.

EF: What is the next piece on your radar?

CZ: I don't have a radar, what I like is getting lost along the way. This morning, when I reached my studio on foot, I had the chance to see a large sculpture of Georg Baselitz being assembled. Baselitz is a really great artist.

EF: What is the last piece you purchased?

CZ: A sculpture by Fausto Melotti, made in brass and metallic fabrics. I love the artistic poetry of Melotti; he is a pioneer of Italian art. Returning to the principles of the Italian Renaissance, he incorporated emotional experiences of modern human existence.

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