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Archive for 2015

Introducing - the Arte Collection

...It takes you somewhere, to someone. And there we were, as she twirled the fragment artifacts through her hands we were immediately at one with each other, and the collaboration began...

"My present work with Interi is a collection of studies in canvas, gesso, marble paste, plaster, oil, wax, ash, gems, and minerals on wood featuring a strata of pentimenti, or alterations in composition resulting in visible traces of previous work, prepared as settings for seventeenth and eighteenth century Italian architectural fragments originating primarily from the regions surrounding Florence, Italy.

The inspiration for Interi’s Arte Collection proceeds from my experiences as a young art student in Florence.  My flat was the third floor above the last in a row of restaurants in the famous Piazza della Signoria.  The Ponte Vecchio was around the corner on one side and on the other a thin alley separated my building from the Loggia Dei Lanzi (an open-air sculpture gallery designed in the 1300’s), and the acoustics in the space made the fluttering of pigeons rising in flight sound more like the drumming of the great wings of angels.  

Elena in Florence
The Uffizi Gallery was just beyond the sculpture gallery, and almost right outside my window, towering colossal at the center of the square stood the rusticated stone Palazzo Vecchio, a Medieval fortress built over the theatre of the Roman colony of Florentia.  This was my view.  This was my world.  And from the front bedroom (there were frescoes on its walls), I could almost put my fingers on the pulse of the city day and night, and from the threshold of my building I gained a straight shot to the green, rose, white and gold heart of the city of Florence, the Duomo.

But I think perhaps what I prized most about Florence was her openness, that in a single moment of undisparaging transparency she would display the utilitarian strata of glue, gesso, and bole underneath her gilding and then without hesitation let the same sun beams that let us look under her skin also catch and hang lavishly on every bit of her fiery, finished glamour.  This is why I spent as much time in the streets of Florence as I did in the museums. 

The whole city was my gallery, from dust to dome, and as I lived in it I began to believe that the most complete beauty dwells in the blank expanse of possibility which arises at the intersection of past and present, that resplendent crossroads where the future lifts its head like Michelangelo’s David and looks at us face to face with eyes full of renaissance.

It seems to me that this kind of beauty has put down roots in Florence, Italy, that the seed of the Fleur de Lis, carried on a gust of wind, has fallen on good earth and stayed there to bloom.  Our hope at Interi is to give the modern home access to this singular beauty.  After all, the home is the highest gallery.  It is where life happens, and life, to be sure, is beautiful.


Elena for Interi"

view the collection at

Florence Flood

I can remember sitting in my friend's home in Italy. It was the middle of the summer, and I was sifting a fragment through my hands. I thought it was so unusual that this particular lot of fragments were covered in dirt and silt. Mentioning this, my friend smiled, leaned back, and began to tell me the story of the Florence flood, and how a man and his servants salvaged the very fragment I had in my hands.

Fifty years prior, the farmers from northern Florence were afraid that the unusual amount of rain that had fallen would cause the Arno river to overflow and damage their crops. Totally unaware of the damage this would cause on the city of Florence, they opened the dams. And on the night of November 3rd, 1966, the Arno River flooded. When people began to wake up on the 4th, the city was inundated with dirty water full of car oil and gasoline. No one would have ever guessed that the Arno could be so vicious. 

5,000 families were left homeless by the storm, 6,000 stores were forced out of business, and over 100 lives were lost. Along with the millions of masterpieces of art and rare books, 600,000 tons of mud, rubble and sewage severely damaged or destroyed the artifacts in the very churches they adorned.

When all of these church artifacts were floating through the streets, a particularly wealthy man and his servants began to gather and buy up as many guilded antiques with culture they could. They had a monastery up the hill about four stories high that they filled with all of the fragments. The rooms were filled with 16th century sculptures and rooms filled with candlesticks piled like firewood, rooms with only sunrays, and others with old trunks and 16th century chests, all needing restoration. This monastery remained completely closed for about thirty years.

About ten years ago, they allowed only a few select dealers in, and within a matter of 5 or 6 years, this man's stock has been entirely depleted, and no one was able to buy any more. Years ago I began to take interest and buy these fragments out of my own fascination, now having these treasures but unable to purchase or find any more.

These very fragments have been used for decorators and designers alike to copy for distressed accessories, but here we have them, the originals. While many of our fragment artifacts are distressed due to age, these Florence fragments in particular stand apart. They symbolize a history that has been carried them through the streets of Italy, to the monastery, to the modern home.

To view the Florence Fragments collection now, visit