With Zanotta House, an Italian Design Dream Home Lands in New York City

Alessia Genova takes us on a tour of her design for the eminent furniture maker’s new shoppable townhouse in Greenwich Village.
Bedroom at Zanotta House
A bedroom space in Zanotta House overlooking New York’s famous Cornelia Street features such iconic Zanotta designs as the 1988 Calamobio chest of drawers by Alessandro Mendini and, on the balcony, a pair of red Sacco armchairs by Gatti, Paolini, Teodoro.

Ask Alessia Genova to describe herself, and the first word out of her mouth will be Italian. Genova, who’s a managing partner of Tihany Design in New York, was raised in Biella, a small town in the mountainous northern region of Piedmont, Italy. And even though she’s currently overseeing the design of major hospitality projects around the world, ranging from the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Istanbul to the celebrated Daniel restaurant in Manhattan, she has never lost sight of her roots.

Alessia Genova at her desk
Alessia Genova, managing partner of Tihany Design

That’s almost certainly why Zanotta, a leading furniture maker in Genova’s home country, tapped her last October to furnish its fully functional — and shoppable — residential space concept, Zanotta House New York.

Zanotta House, which opens September 5, occupies a five-story townhouse at 23 Cornelia Street in Greenwich Village — yes, the one immortalized in the Taylor Swift ballad “Cornelia Street.” Of course, given the collaboration involved, this is no ordinary townhouse nor a typical showroom. It is everything a city dweller would want . . . if, that is, she were Italian.

“I imagined this project with a real person for many reasons,” Genova says of her “metropolitan muse.” For one thing, it helped her envision using seminal pieces like Superstudio’s white plastic-laminate Quaderna console (1970s) in an everyday context. For another, it freed her up to layer the home with upscale Italian touches (both vintage and contemporary), from a handcrafted CC-Tapis rug that resembles a splash of paint to red Venini Opalino vases.

Living room space at Zanotta House
Guests at Zanotta House can relax on a Ludovica + Roberto Palomba Dove sofa or Carlo Mollino Gilda recliners and feel like they’re at home.

Even the refreshments served in Zanotta House — sparkling Ca’ del Bosco chardonnay, paired with Urbani Tartufi — reflect the country’s flair for the good life. “Not everything is a showroom with pieces in a vignette,” Genova says, proudly. “It feels like a home.”

Having free rein to pursue her vision was invigorating, as was finding fresh uses for Zanotta’s lesser-known pieces from the past century. In the living room, a pair of Ettore Sottsass’s pearwood and brass Mombasa chests look handsome next to a midnight-blue Dove sofa by Ludovica + Roberto Palomba. Matching purple velvet Gilda recliners, two of the many Carlo Mollino pieces deployed in the house, showcase Genova’s admiration for color and texture.

Bedroom at Zanotta House
Dining room at Zanotta House
Top: A bedroom with a CC-Tapis rug and Alessandro Mendini’s 1984 Cetonia chest of drawers. Bottom: The house’s 1946 Reale dining table provides a place to simultaneously enjoy a meal and the other quality furniture.

“When you have such a masterpiece, you don’t really need much,” she says, referring to Mollino’s nearly 10-foot-long Reale table (1946), which dominates the airy dining room. Paired with sinuous Nena chairs by Lanzavecchia + Wai and two hand-decorated consoles (1984) by Alessandro Mendini, the table provides the perfect setting for an aperitivo or lunch.

Of all the spaces, however, the double-height gallery perhaps best embodies Genova’s Italian muse. Here, timeless pieces like Bernard Marstaller’s tilting Moretta armchair, designed for cavalry officers in 1917, mingle with new classics like the Palombas’ Pianoalto sofa (2010) and Marco Zanuso’s eternally comfy Maggiolina lounge chair (1947).

Gallery space at Zanotta House
This gallery space includes an eye-catching mix of pieces, including a 1974 Servomuto table, a Sella seat, a Butterfly coffee table and a Niobe table.

“The room is complemented by side tables and objects that embody the DNA of Zanotta,” says Genova, noting the Servomuto table (1974) and Sella seat (1957) by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni, the Butterfly coffee table (2006) by Alexander Taylor and the Niobe table (2016) by Federica Capitani.

Like the house overall, this grand space, Genova says, “is a true voyage through the history of Italian design, ingenuity and craftsmanship.”

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