Designer Spotlight

Edo Mapelli Mozzi’s Interiors Are a Refreshing Combination of Unexpected Elements

Banda interior design studio Tuscan-inspired London penthouse living area with long low ivory couches and black mantel

“Too many cooks spoil the broth” goes the old adage. That can certainly be true when it comes to creating a home, which may involve an architect, an interior designer, an art adviser, a builder and countless subcontractors. It’s a process in which poor communication, differences of opinion and inconsistency of approach among the many “cooks” can wreak more havoc than a burst pipe. 

Edo Mapelli Mozzi has solved this problem. A dozen years ago, he set up his London-based development and design business, Banda, to combine all these services under one roof. 

property developer and interior designer Edo Mapelli Mozzi portrait
Edo Mapelli Mozzi’s London-based development and design firm, Banda, recently opened a Manhattan office (portrait by Ben Anders). Top: An antique mirror hangs over a Black Marquina marble fireplace in the living area of a Tuscan-accented new-build penthouse the studio created atop a landmarked London building. The abstract artwork is by Hayden Alexander. All images courtesy of Banda unless otherwise noted

The entrepreneur — who married Queen Elizabeth II’s granddaughter Princess Beatrice in 2020 — saw, and continues to see, an opportunity in seamlessly blending disciplines, from the financial and logistical through to the artisanal and the creative. 

His studio does curatorial work, too. Mapelli Mozzi’s team assembles rich and eclectic mixes of furniture, lighting and art, most of it from the 1950s onward. “To create spaces that are distinctive, it’s important to find pieces that tell a story,” he says. 

The result is a refreshing aesthetic bursting with character and invention. 

Following his university studies in Edinburgh, Mapelli Mozzi started working in property development, soon realizing the benefits of bringing design in-house. Today, even as Banda takes on increasingly large-scale projects, the team has maintained the individualized, bespoke approach with which it was founded.

This one-stop shop doesn’t adhere to a single signature house style but rather to a variety of aesthetics borne out of a collaborative process. This ethos leads to the creation of appealing interiors marked by signature doses of playfulness and plenty of pleasant surprises. 

Banda interior design studio Tuscan-inspired London penthouse gray marble kitchen
A richly grained gray marble gives the penthouse kitchen character to spare, as does the collection of natural clay and olive-colored vintage ceramics.

One such surprise enlivens a 2,300-square-foot central London penthouse, where a lofty roof extension constructed using rustic beams transports you straight from the Bayswater neighborhood to the Tuscan hills. “Having recently spent time in Italy, I was inspired to create a ‘farmhouse’ look,” says Mapelli Mozzi. “More than ever, a feeling of escapism and a sense of calm are something we try to manifest within our spaces.” 

An emphasis on texture is evident throughout the apartment, where oak, linen and marble furnishings contrast beautifully with walls finished in a tactile, sustainable plaster made of unfired clays, sand and pigment. 

Banda interior design studio chelsea London townhouse living area with view to kitchen dining
In the living room of a 1930s townhouse in London’s Notting Hill, a custom Banda-designed walnut cocktail table nestles in the curve of an arcing Sedilia sofa atop a Christopher Farr rug. The plaster ceiling light is by Nicky Haslam, and the artwork by Simone Polk Dahl. This seating area opens to the kitchen, where a 19th-century French pine dresser occupies one corner.

“It’s rare to find such a rustic interior in a city penthouse, but the juxtaposition works so well,” Mapelli Mozzi notes. “We couldn’t have done it anywhere else in the building because it’s landmarked. But the penthouse is a new-build addition, so we had complete freedom. There’s a tangible sense of calm here. It was the perfect space to bring in something unexpected.” 

Furniture and artwork are similarly distinctive. At the center of the main living space sits a sculptural table by Tuomas Markunpoika finished with Moroccan tadelakt plaster. On the wall is an abstract painting by Hayden Alexander, while curvaceous sofas are paired with armchairs by the Brazilian designer Joaquim Tenreiro. In the adjacent dark-gray-marble kitchen are chairs by Pierre Jeanneret

Banda’s innate versatility means that no two projects are the same. An elegant, 1850s three-story stucco townhouse the studio recently designed in London’s Notting Hill, for instance, has a much richer feel. There, “bolder colors bring a sense of joy and a maximalist approach,” says Mapelli Mozzi. “That was something we were keen to experiment with.” 

Featuring soothing backdrops of earthy terracotta, bronze, mustard and green hues, the beautiful spaces — some large, some cozier, all perfect for family living — eloquently demonstrate the art of “zoning.” Banda used design to clearly delineate areas dedicated to dining, cooking and working within an open-plan arrangement. 

“Now more than ever, our homes are a sanctuary from the outside world,” says Mapelli Mozzi. “But they’re also somewhere we share with family, where we work, exercise and eat. Never has a home had to be so multifunctional.” 

Banda interior design studio chelsea London dark wood-paneled study with built-in desk and shelves
A Ward Bennett Landmark cane chair from Pagoda Red pulls up to a built-in burr-walnut veneer desk in the library. The artwork above is by Alexi Tsioris, and the desk lamp is a 1930s piece by Helo Leuchten.

Like the Bayswater apartment, this townhouse impresses with an array of  aesthetic surprises, not least a Meltingpot dining table made from reclaimed plastic by Dirk van der Kooij The monumental, dramatically cantilevered Calacatta Oro kitchen island is overseen by a tubular bronze pendant by Allied Maker, while in the ground-floor library, fluted walnut paneling and bookcases serve as a foil to a beautifully crafted bentwood and cane armchair by Ward Bennett

In another project, this one a sprawling one-story apartment in a landmarked West London building, Banda’s laid-back and serene scheme tells a different story. 

Banda interior design studio West London apartment living room with large deep red sectional sofa
In a West London apartment, a custom velvet sofa adorned with cushions made of vintage African kuba cloth embraces a travertine coffee table from Studio Oliver Gustav. The triangular pendant above is from Allied Maker.

“The home has a feminine and delicate intent, with layers of creams and pinks to give a soft feel,” says Mapelli Mozzi. “We sourced a variety of contemporary pieces and vintage finds that sit alongside custom furniture designed for this space.” 

The chairs in the refined dining room are dressed in an inviting Rose Uniacke peach wool, and a textural Dedar bouclé covers a bench. A triangular pendant light from Allied Maker, meanwhile, hangs over a round travertine coffee table by Oliver Gustav in the middle of the living room. The peaceful main bedroom is home to a clean-lined French iron four-poster, draped with ivory-hued hangings, and a magnificent elm-wood desk by Danielle Siggerud. 

Going forward, Banda’s focus for the rest of 2022 is mainly on private clients, with around 40 projects in the pipeline around the world, including commissions in New York, San Francisco, Doha, Lake Como, Paris and London. 

A recently opened Manhattan studio is helping the firm look after its global docket. “It’s an exciting time for Banda, as we’re building momentum in the U.S.,” says Mapelli Mozzi. “We’ve always had so much support there, and that’s grown exponentially over the last two years. We want to be able to embrace the demand for the Banda style and ethos.

“We have done London projects for a lot of American clients who now want to collaborate stateside,” he continues. “And we love working with that history.”

Edo Mapelli Mozzi’s Quick Picks

Diego Mardegan Spider ceiling light, new, offered by The FM Gallery
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Diego Mardegan Spider ceiling light, new, offered by The FM Gallery

“I adore the shape and texture of this pendant.”

Joaquim Tenreiro lounge chairs, ca. 1950, offered by Almond & Co.
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Joaquim Tenreiro lounge chairs, ca. 1950, offered by Almond & Co.

“Joaquim Tenreiro is a real favorite of mine. The craftsmanship of these is exquisite.”

Theo Ruth for Artiford daybed, 1950s, offered by H. Gallery
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Theo Ruth for Artiford daybed, 1950s, offered by H. Gallery

“The shape of this daybed and the way the alpaca wool draws the eye make it a standout design.”

Folk art tripod stool, 19th century, offered by Bloomberry
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Folk art tripod stool, 19th century, offered by Bloomberry

“Antiques and the story they tell never fail to play an integral part in our designs. This Danish stool is practical as well as eye-catching.”

Walnut mirror, 1950s, offered by Ponce Berga
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Walnut mirror, 1950s, offered by Ponce Berga

“Walnut is such an impactful wood. This Italian mirror, with its cut glass, would work brilliantly in a statement bathroom or a cloakroom.”

Audoux & Minet for Vibo Vesoul chairs, ca. 1950, offered by Fundamente
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Audoux & Minet for Vibo Vesoul chairs, ca. 1950, offered by Fundamente

“The sense of strength and movement in these chairs really speaks to me.”

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