“As Italians, we are never fully content with what we create – the beauty surrounding us is a constant reminder that we need to keep going forward and push the limit!” exclaims Francesca Muzio, designer, architect, and co-founder of FM Architettura d’Interni.
With clients like Shangri-La, Feadship, and Mandarin Oriental, Muzio’s signature is etched into some of the most exclusive hotels, private residences, and superyachts around the world. You can immediately tell she’s an artist by the way she speaks; there’s a bohemian sense of fluidity and passion that comes through as she describes her childhood by the sea and explains how she always thought boats were an expression of freedom and balance.
Muzio has received numerous awards for her work in the industry, most notably a couple from the World Superyacht Awards. “In terms of design, boats are probably some of the most difficult projects to create and develop, which presents an exciting challenge,” she shares.
Muzio’s team works with over 200 artisans in Ancona, in the Marche region of Italy. She tells me about the way she is inspired by the artisans who spend a lifetime honing their craft and specific techniques, all of which is reflected in the impeccable quality of her firm’s work. “Working with local artisans is of utmost importance as it allows us to create refined, high quality detailing throughout our projects. The artisans’ inherent knowledge of each technique and material, and its limitations, allows us to re-interpret details and make them not just beautiful but also functional.”
Muzio talks about her studio’s motto: I am my home. She explains how this simple sentence perfectly encapsulates the extra steps her team takes to cater for the exact desires of their clients. “We do not wish to impose a style; our peculiarity is in fully interpreting the taste and needs of our clients.”
I speak with Muzio about her thriving business, how she’s leveraged her marketing background to tell her client’s stories, and where her dream sailing location would be.
How has growing up in Italy influenced your design aesthetic?
Italy is a country with great history, that has always been an epicentre of art, architecture, poetry – a cradle of culture. We feel deeply lucky to have been born in this country where just walking along the street is enriching, be it in large cities or small villages. Italy’s beauty and history has given us an understanding of balance and proportion, and it also challenges us not to settle for simply ‘good’ design, rather to find a deeper meaning to it all.
As someone with a strong background in marketing, how do you think this has helped you become a better entrepreneur?
In the global world of today, with the coexistence of different cultures, marketing is becoming a common language that assists us in sharing the message and meaning of our work, the real vision and mission of the design and product that we create. We base our design on the elevation of Italian artisanship and the detail studied, developed and so beautifully executed by very talented Italian artisans. [It is all about] handcrafted work fuelled with passion and obsession. We wish to help and support our history and we strive to share this outside Italian borders. This is our passion and everyday drive.
With travel hopefully opening up again this year, is there anything particular you made sure to include when designing for your hospitality clients to make guests’ much-awaited holidays even more special?
After all the limitations over the last year, everyone is keen to get back to travelling, and particularly eager to learn about the places and cultures that we have been dreaming about for so long. At FM, we study local cultures and materials to enhance the sense of place, giving clients a greater view into the art and culture of their location. We strive to use natural, local material, supporting and championing locality and demonstrating pride in cultural roots. We use nature as a fundamental element in our design with the aim to inspire not only through sight, but also the other senses like smell and touch. We wish to create a design that will envelop the user and stimulate all their senses giving them a deeper view into the cultural background of their location.
Can you share an out-of-this-world request you got from one of your clients?
We do not consider any request as crazy, as deep down they are the desires of our clients! We take each one very seriously and actually feel that they add a little spice to our job. The more ‘crazy and challenging’, the more we love to create it. As one client taught me at the beginning of my career, the word ‘no’ is not an acceptable answer. The word ‘yes’ is the real beginning of a beautiful journey.
When heading out to sea, what are the must-have items in your luggage?
The sea is pure freedom, so the luggage, in my view, has to be as empty as possible to really enjoy the experience. No time constrains, no attire constraints – just you, your beloved, and the sea.
Where would your dream sailing location be?
Asia is our passion – going around the coast of Indonesia, crossing the Celebes Sea, and then arriving in our beloved Philippines, particularly the island of Palawan. Or perhaps on the Atlantic side of the planet, to the island of San Blas visiting all the fisherman islands before Panama.
Address: FM MILANO HOME, Via Brera, 20, 20123 Milan, Italy
Headquarters address: Via della Sbrozzola, 16, 60021 Camerano (AN), Italy
Phone: +39 (0)71 73 04 061
Photography courtesy of FM Architettura.