In Conversation | Giulia Molteni

  • Revealing their new flagship, positioned in the centre of Church Street’s design precinct, Molteni&C Melbourne offers guests an immersive experience akin to stepping inside a sanctuary-like home.

    While the 90-year narrative that shapes the iconic Italian brand Molteni&C is one of evolution and growth, it’s just as recognised for its design ingenuity and creative collaborations. Molteni&C’s innovative spirit continues to blur the boundaries across creative disciplines – which has undoubtedly led them to a more permanent home in Australia.

    Renowned Belgian architect Vincent Van Duysen, who also holds the position of Molteni&C creative director, joined forces with Giulia Molteni, a third-generation family member and head of marketing and communications, to premiere their design concept for a ‘warm and fluid home’ at the Molteni&C stand during Milan’s Salone del Mobile in 2023. A guest at the stand, previous founder of Hub Furniture Jacqueline Foti-Lowe instantly resonated with the concept.

    When the opportunity arose for Foti-Lowe to support the brand’s expansion, Molteni and Van Duysen collaborated alongside Foti-Lowe on the new Melbourne flagship to form an extension of this design language. Drawing on a rich palette of luxurious materials, including travertine, volcanic rock, and rendered walls, the cosy space explores Molteni&C’s Home Collection of loose furniture, kitchens, wardrobes and shelving, and multimedia systems.

    est living partnerships editor Megan Rawson sat down with Giulia for an exclusive conversation to discuss the conceptual direction and global importance of the new space, the role of family heritage, and her most treasured Molteni&C item.

    In partnership with Molteni&C Melbourne

    We’re here to celebrate Molteni&C’s latest retail space as a part of Melbourne’s prestigious design precinct in Richmond. What was the creative direction behind this flagship?

    Giulia Molteni: Under the creative eye of Vincent Van Duysen, we have crafted a cosy and layered space that incorporates luxurious materials and finishes that feel less like a store, and more like a home. Vincent’s concept applies partition walls and columns to create distinctive and private zones – all the while retaining a fluid and open flow of light and air from one space into the next. From the kitchen to the bedroom, each room is connected, giving you the ability to appreciate the different compositions as you would in a modern, open-planned house.

    It’s also modelled loosely around the idea of a Roman courtyard, as the showroom features this ability to wander outdoors and has a lovely sense of flow. We feel so lucky to have worked closely with Jaci on bringing our Molteni&C Melbourne Flagship to life. Jaci not only knows and loves the product, she knows the Molteni family intimately, and she is part of the DNA of what we do.

    With a network spanning 90 countries and 84 flagship stores, what was the global importance of an Australian flagship?

    Giulia Molteni: It made so much sense for our first Australian flagship store to be located in Melbourne; a city that is bursting with creativity, architecture, and design. We see Melbourne as the design capital of Australia and feel that Australian people have a deep knowledge and culture of design, which aligns beautifully with our Italian culture and design ethos, too. At 500sqm it’s a huge showroom and will be the biggest store in Oceania – which is very exciting for our brand and for Australians!

    This customised kitchen showcases the Yabu Pushelberg Tivalì 2.0 at the rear. The kitchen island in the foreground is designed by Vincent Van Duysen and includes a timber breakfast bar, and V-ZUG appliances set within dark travertine highlighted by pewter and nebulised steel finishes.

    est living has closely followed Vincent Van Duysen’s creative journey. Can you talk about Vincent’s influence at Molteni&C and how his creative vision epitomises the brand’s unique design philosophy?

    Giulia Molteni: Vincent has been a good friend and long-time collaborator with Molteni&C since 2014 and has served as the brand’s creative director since 2016. When the brand changed direction, we asked Vincent to support us in creating consistency and connecting our international spaces. His work crosses so many disciplines that he can beautifully articulate our design language on a global platform. Vincent also leads an elite list of creative collaborations that includes Jean Nouvel, Foster + Partners, Ron Gilad, Patricia Urquiola, Yabu Pushelberg and Herzog & de Meuron, to name a few.

    As an authentic representation of ‘Made in Italy ’, what role does Italian design and your family heritage play in the identity of Molteni&C, and how do you balance tradition with contemporary design?

    Giulia Molteni: This is a big question! Initially founded by my passionate Grandfather and Grandmother in 1934, Molteni&C has since become an iconic Italian design brand with a heritage built around innovative and timeless furniture design. We have collaborated with some of the most influential designers of the 20th and 21st centuries to embody a legacy of quality, style, and sophistication. The heirloom and tradition of our product development over the past 90 years have been pivotal to expanding the group, and by sharing our knowledge, we’ve been able to grow Molteni&C from one generation of family members to another. I’m proud to represent the third Molteni generation working in the company today.

    Molteni&C D.154.2

    Molteni&C Ratio

    Molteni&C Arc

    A blush pink upholstered D.154.2 ‘love seat’ designed by Gio Ponti punctuates the dark Vincent Van Duysen designed Ratio Kitchen with a Volcanic Basalt stone benchtop and hidden Hi-Line 6 butlers’ pantry kitchen, designed by Ferruccio Lavian.

    A Dada-engineered Intersection kitchen, clad in marble with an Oak breakfast bar creates a dialogue between structural form and considered function. This composition is paired with eggshell-toned kitchen columns to create a beautiful backdrop, all designed by Vincent Van Duysen.

    Molteni&C Alisee

    Molteni&C Octave Sofa

    The Octave sofa is upholstered in a textural cream and sits in good company alongside a pair of smoked glass-topped Alisee coffee tables. A luxurious wool and silk Stripe rug forms the foundation for this space whilst Bobby Clark crafts a contemporary feel.

    “Vincent’s concept incorporates luxurious materials and finishes, creating a space that feels more like a home than a showroom, truly embodying the Molteni&C style. From the kitchen to the bedroom each room is connected and you can appreciate the different compositions as you would in a modern, open-planned house.”


    – Giulia Molteni

    What is your favourite Molteni&C collection or product?

    Giulia Molteni: I have a strong connection with the timber Carteggio Writing desk designed by Aldo Rossi for Molteni&C in 1987. It’s been a special piece in my life since the late 80s when it was a firm fixture in our family home. It even came with me when I studied in Milano and then again when I went to live in New York for four years. Now, it sits at the entrance of my house. It’s a classic and practical piece that has maintained its relevancy and remained modern all this time. It is a wonderful organiser and keeps your prized possessions, car keys, and children’s artwork safe.

    Molteni&C Gliss Master

    From 1934 to today, how do you see the future of furniture design evolving, and how is Molteni&C positioning itself in this changing landscape?

    Giulia Molteni: Our brand has adapted and innovated according to the changes in the world around us. Our team are constantly researching and inviting new technology and materials to fine-tune our collections while still preserving our rich heritage.

    For example, the global pandemic taught us that a home is many things for the family that lives there, and there was a certain flexibility required with furnishings and furniture as consumers made the move to socialising and working from home. We’ve also seen a strong return to natural materials and ‘healthy’ palettes, introducing a calm and grounding feel within the home. To this point, as we see people wanting to create lifestyle spaces outside of the home and within nature, we are very excited to be launching our inaugural outdoor collection. The new pieces designed by Vincent Van Duysen form a union between past and present and seamlessly blend architecture and nature.

    “It made so much sense for our first Australian flagship store to be located in Melbourne, a city that is bursting with creativity, architecture, and design.


    – Giulia Molteni

    L-R Molteni&C Melbourne creative director Jacqueline Foti-Lowe; est living managing director Miffy Coady; Molteni Group head of marketing and communications Giulia Molteni; est living partnerships editor Megan Rawson | Photography by Emmy Ford

    The rear of the store backs onto a quiet, European-inspired courtyard.

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