“Imagination and strong modern style, which blends very well with any other environment” defines the Italian style of the years 1965-1980 which Willy Rizzo claims. As the designer puts it so well, it all starts in a hair salon, located in Piazza di Spagna in Rome, at the end of 1966. While his wife Elsa is getting her hair done, they both discuss their installation in Italy, where their respective careers take them so often. Willy likes this area, he asks the hairdresser if there is a real estate agency nearby. “Sure, just around the corner but you will need a miracle to find an apartment.” And the miracle happened in the form of a second floor occupied by a shirt manufacturer overlooking the Piazza di Spagna. It was a very abandoned one-room commercial space, with no water supply and practically uninhabitable. He immediately signs a rental contract for six months and returns triumphantly to the hairdressing salon, all in 45 minutes.
With a group of local artisans, Willy turns this room into an apartment. He wants brown and gold walls, a silver-colored kitchen, black floors and ceilings. Then he designs furniture: sofas, coffee tables, consoles, hi-fi furniture and everything in between. The result is very chic. Willy Rizzo never intended to become a furniture designer, just his friends saw what he had done in his apartment and fell in love with his furniture. And since he had many friends in fashion, film, orders poured in. One of his first clients was Ghighi Cassini, a social columnist for the American Hearst newspaper who invented the “Jet Set” formula to describe the universe and lifestyle that Fellini immortalized in Dolce Vita. Cassini wanted a modern apartment in a classic Palazzo. Willy Rizzo has always loved beautiful things, beautiful antiques, he knew how to create contemporary furniture that integrated perfectly with the old. This order has appealed to others from across the Jet Set and high net worthy Italian society.