Maintaining a deeply personal connection to the pinnacle of luxury Italian design, retailer and interior design house, Palazzo Collezioni continues to inspire Australian home design whilst developing a vibrant culture within itself.

Last year whilst many of us were only dreaming of Italy’s culture and majesty, Palazzo Collezioni’s Director and Principal Michael Chard, was working to immerse himself in the grandeur of modern and classic Italian style for his eager Australian audiences. This influential trip was essential in maintaining the exceptional calibre of Michael’s collections that has earnt Palazzo Collezioni a reputation of being at the upper echelon of Australian luxury home and lifestyle brands. We recently had the opportunity to meet with Michael as he reflected on his trip to Italy.

CH: Michael, you saw the best of Italian architecture andstyle at a time when the world was locked out of travel—surrounded by spectacular ancient structures and design; how have you translated that influence into your Australian showrooms?

MC: Italy is a juxtaposition of historical and timeless style versus the fast pace of their design world. My showroom is a reflection of this, showcasing our contemporary branded furniture that represents the tomorrow of Italian design and positioned in the room will be a stunning historical piece from our Italian art collection, such as a pair of life-size ancient bronze Roman soldiers standing guard in the room. Fusing the past and present when designing Italianate interiors is important for me as my design message is to always be authentic. It fuels my soul when our interiors connect our clients to Italian culture and design. The furniture and art pieces in my collections are carefully curated each season and are so much more than simple decorations. Our clients are genuinely invested in their investment purchases and interior spaces.

CH: Italy has two distinct sides: the soft contemporary sophistication of modern design and the gorgeous classical ancient Roman and Greek-inspired opulence that has translated into luxury lifestyles today. Were there any features or places that you were particularly inspired by?

MC: My 2021 Italian summer journey took me through the heart of humanity’s cultural evolution, from ancient Pompei studying the newly excavated mosaics and then discovering the iconic churches and of course…the pizza and mozzarella in Naples! Then on to a historic deep dive into Rome which is the culmination of modern and ancient life. However, it is Venetian architecture, art, sculpture and cuisine that’s infused at the forefront of my sensory journey. Visits to Venice always fuel my deep passion for the rich culture that makes up the city. Venice is an escape into a world lived by people of the Silk Road, where the greatest inventors, builders and artists of our world were founded.

Michael Chard with Olga Vignatelli at the Dolce & Gabbana Alta Moda formal dinner at Palazzo Ducale ni Venezia.

CH: You were able to see fashion powerhouses and personally interact with emerging trends and styles. What brands were you most moved by?

MC: The Dolce & Gabbana Alta Moda private event was a once in a lifetime experience. Domenico Dolce & Stefano Gabbana kindly invited me to their four day Venice Alta Moda event showcasing their entire fashion and furniture collections. I was presented with a brand experience like no other, in addition to receiving mentoring by Domenico on the lifestyle of Dolce & Gabbana. We attended private Venetian dining and clubs in the company of my Italian colleagues with the likes of Heidi Klum, Jennifer Hudson, Megan Thee Stallion, P Diddy, Vin Diesel, J Lo, and the Kardashians, to name a few.

CH: You must have gained insight into emerging trends. Are there any themes we should be looking out for?

MC: The luxury brands individually represented their own trend setting themes through their branding. However soft moss greens in plain form are dominating throughout all brands with accents of sky blues, aubergines and sunflower yellow. Geometric bold prints and tone on tone textured fabrics remain a strong choice with the Italian brand interior design teams. The furniture designers are signalling nature’s colours to breathe life back into people’s private homes. One exciting development is the new, patterned leathers introduced in Etro and Bentley collections for the season. Patterned leathers are giving our leather loving clients an enjoyable choice of stylish patterns usually only available in fabric. The patterned leathers offer something different whilst still having the benefit of being easy to clean and the sumptuous feeling of full grain leather. Personally, I am drawn to selecting historical pieces, decorated using ancient techniques, manufactured in natural stones or carved from wood. The past few years have given clients a chance to reconnect with the natural world, and many seek to bring those organic qualities into their homes.

Clockwise, from top left: Dolce & Gabbana Casa Carretto Dining Table Collection. Dolce & Gabbana Casa Leopard Sideboard and Lamp Collection. The red carpet at Dolce & Gabbana Alta Moda at Palazzo Ducale Casanova. Dolce & Gabbana Alta Moda Dinner Event at Palazzo Ducale Courtyard. Arriving at Dolce & Gabbana Alta Moda in San Marco’s Square via gondola.

CH: In your travels did you discover interesting Italian Art and Sculptures for your clientele?

MC: This trip was especially unique, as during these months from July to September we were able to dedicate time to explore small towns and meet fascinating sculptors and craftsman. We have over 100 pieces coming in September. Unearthing these stunning artworks was an incredible experience and learning their history with the story of the artwork was often heartfelt as some of these pieces were originally commissioned by important Italian families. The standouts for me were discovering the Laocoon sculptured in Carrara marble from outside Rome, and my partner discovered an amazing blacksmith in the outer part of Venice handcrafting metal chandeliers and lighting. He is fourth generation and his family is noted for chandeliers that you will see today in many of the important Palazzo’s throughout Venice. In fact his stunning chandeliers were furnished throughout Palazzo Segreta in Venice where we were engaged before we met him. These imported pieces each have a soul and our clients enjoy acquiring art or sculpture with strong historical ties.

CH: Fashion, art and design are powerful mirrors of societal values, and the dec

or of a home or lifestyle can change the mood and direction of an individual’s thoughts. Do you feel the emerging themes you saw reflect the last two years, and what do they represent for your clients?

MC: These are unprecedented times, and luxury characterises positive pleasures in many forms.

Our clients, therefore, invested themselves in our luxury brands in an unprecedented way over the last couple of years. Both the aspirational value and superior comfort that is offered by luxury brands elevates emotions and allows homeowners to immerse themselves in their own private Elysium.

CH: This year, Fendi Fashion House have announced their world first launch of furniture under the helm of Silvia Venturini Fendi. Can you tell us more?

MC: I departed Milan end of September and travelled to Rome where I attended a very confidential preview launch of the furniture collection at the Fendi Rome Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana. We confirmed this new pre collection while in Rome for our Australian clientele. Palazzo is very excited to receive our world first Fendi Rome furniture collection in Australia at our Fendi Casa Boutique arriving in July. This collection is very personal for Fendi as they have returned their furniture collection back to the hands of Fendi Creative Director Silvia Venturini Fendi. Her passion combined with the new manufacture partner FF Design is honouring the family’s artisanal and experimental heritage. It is a celebration of all that Italian design is known for – precious materials and craftsmanship – infused with the label’s modern elegance. The collection is a must see so spare some time and visit our Fendi Casa Boutique in your next visit to Sydney.


Boutique 1, 409 George Street Waterloo, Sydney NSW 2017
+61 2 9690 6522
Open Monday – Saturday 10am – 6pm

See more images below from Michael’s Italian trip.