December 15, 2015
The Finest in Italian Design and Craftsmanship
At Nella Vetrina in the D&D Building, Steven Brister celebrates the best of Italian design and craftsmanship, from leather to lighting and everything in between
by Judith Nasatir
Interior designers have their own version of passeggiata, that Italian ritual of dressed-to-the-nines, late-in-the-day stroll. In the D&D Building hallways, where window shopping means business, it's a 9-to-5 thing—and it's work. What really matters, though, is nella vetrina—or those items inside the window. Steven Brister, the Australian-born Italophile whose showroom, Nella Vetrina, showcases Italian design and artisanship, makes sure that for anyone who crosses his threshold, the trip behind the glass is worth it.
Brister takes an alta moda approach to assembling his exclusive collections—what he terms a fashion house for living spaces—combining classic and modern styles in furnishings, lighting, and bath designs. All are created by the world-renowned Italian designers, local craftsmen, and virtuoso glassmakers that he has sussed out in his extensive travels—and everything is exclusive.
Brister's latest venture explores that ancient luxury material that most of us covet, and that the Italians do so undeniably brilliantly: leather. In his recently launched Nella Vetrina leather showroom, he offers a wide selection of textures in more than 120 colors, including suede nubuk, shagreen, metallic fashion leathers, and stain resistant outdoor leather; there is also a custom leather division that will match hides to any Benjamin Moore color. Called the Touch collection, and organized into seven groups, the leathers dress all aspects of the showroom, from a feature wall that displays the full panoply of hides to upholstered pieces and leather-covered furniture, including desks and tables. Brister has tapped Cheryl Mendenhall, a highly regarded expert formerly with Edelman Leather, to manage the showroom.
At Nella Vetrina, Brister shows that it's all about what's inside the window. See for yourself.
Leather is everywhere in view, from a feature wall highlighting textures and colors, to upholstered wall panels, to superb leather-finished furnishings that seem to say "touch me." All show the luxury of that particular beauty that only a trained and experienced hand can create, and which so many Nella Vetrina clients still prize today.
Brister considers Nella Vetrina a "fashion house for living." And he practices what he preaches. He's turned his leather showroom into boutique-quality territory, with leather in many textures, used in countless ways, from table bases finished in quilted leather—and lampshades, too.
One of Brister's goals with Nella Vetrina is to help keep disappearing artisan skills, craft traditions, and local expertise alive and thriving by creating products that require their use in production. His furnishings, lighting, and bath designs feature a range of classic and modern styles, all superbly made and finely finished.