Design vision: Francesca Muzio of FM Architettura
In our latest TOPHOTELDESIGN exclusive, FM Architettura CEO Francesca Muzio discusses everything from starting out and working with Shangri-La Group to revamping aircraft carriers.
Co-founded by Francesca Muzio in 2010, interior design studio FM Architettura strives to ensure every project reflects the beauty of Italian craftsmanship and the functionality of well-designed spaces, all while delivering on the clients’ brief.
What does your role at the company involve?
I have two main roles, one creative and one management.
As CEO, I am responsible for the day-to-day management of the company as well as developing business, maintaining constant contact with our clients and ensuring that we are servicing them to the best of our capabilities. Our driving force is to exceed their expectations and most of all to deliver a project fully tailored around their taste and needs, and hopefully surprise them with some new points of view in terms of style, design and features.
The other role – I would say the most satisfactory and enjoyable for me – is the creative one. I develop the interior architecture story, vision, guidelines and details together with my entire team, bringing to life the dream of our clients with the main aim to create a design that’s truly distinctive and never the same. We love to search, study and deliver something beautiful, functional, cosy and nevertheless on time and on budget.
Could you tell us about your career to date?
I’ve always found it difficult to speak about my career! Every day, I enter the office and feel I am living my dreams. Since I can remember, I have wanted to create, build, develop. I love architecture and I always found so much beauty in it.
I started my company with a friend and the support of my husband. It was a very small operation, just a few of us. Before that, I had the privilege to work for great studios, like Renzo Piano, and then for one of the largest yacht builders, Ferretti Group (CRN & Custom Line), as creative director, developing the large yachts of the group.
What key hotel projects have you worked on down the years?
Our journey with hotel projects includes the making of the Presidential and Signature suites for Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, London.
The Shard is well-known from the outside, it has changed the London skyline. Renzo Piano created a panorama of the city. The challenge was to convey what it feels like from the inside, without compromising the functionality of the spaces. I think we have succeeded as when you are up there, with London below you, you feel you are flying.
Our long-lasting cooperation with Shangri-La includes not only The Shard, but also Jing-An Shangri La, West Shanghai; Shangri-La Hotel, Nanjing; and the Horizon Homes at Shangri-La at the Fort, Manila. To this fruitful collaboration, we have now added a number of really interesting projects with other operators for hotels and resorts all over the world – such as the Holy Deer lodge in the pope’s historical residence in Rome.
What achievement are you most proud of in your career?
If I have to describe our strongest achievement in the designs we have delivered, I would say a homely feeling, cosiness, intertwined with an understated, long-lasting luxury.
What’s been the biggest challenge in your career?
As an architect, you live to create a project, and build it as you have dreamt, conceptualised, planned and developed it. The biggest challenge is not to lose the overall intent, the details, and ultimately the final look and feel during the process.
This is on the conceptual side; on the practical side, the biggest challenge was probably represented by the design of the stately rooms of an aircraft carrier, a space destined for the meetings of heads of state and other dignitaries. A different level of hospitality!
How would you sum up your design philosophy?
I love the English word ‘uncompromised’. A design has to be functional, comfortable, beautiful and surprising. Our clients choose us to achieve this and much more.
Our mantra is to create design and style that fit the taste and needs of our client. We are proud of our design flexibility and creativity, we never wish to impose a pre-set style, but we love to understand the real taste, function and needs of our clients, and find an all-new key of interpretation. We love to study and search, reinvent new approaches, new ideas…we love challenges!
What would your dream hotel look like?
It should have a strong personality in the design with a refined sense of place and, last but not least, a homely feeling. My dream would be a guest finding our design so intimate and welcoming that they feel comfortable enough to live in it, as if it were their own home.
What’s your advice to up-and-coming talent looking to make a name for themselves?
Love the art of architecture and never stop studying and evolving. Nothing is impossible, it just requires a lot of hard work and passion.
What are your main hobbies outside work?
My work is definitely my hobby, and anything that could help me evolve it, like the arts, travel and books.
For more info about the firm, and to view an extensive gallery of hi-res images, check out the FM Architettura page on the TOPHOTELDESIGN website.
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ABOUT THE DESIGNER
FM Architettura is an interior design company, established in 2010, that provides the highest level turnkey interior design solutions in several areas.