The Horn Museum in Florence

Herbert Percy Horne was an architect, scholar and art collector from London. When he founded the Horne Museum, his purpose was to make a prestigious exhibition site for his collections out of his residence, but also a vibrant cultural place to learn from history and art.
Besides the painting “Santo Stefano” by Giotto, standing out for its importance, the rooms of the Museum house the works of many other important artists, like Filippo Lippi, Bernardo Daddi, Simone Martini, Pietro Lorenzetti, Dosso Dossi, Antonio Rossellino, Jacopo Sansovino, Agnolo di Polo, Jacopo del Sellaio, Luca Signorelli, Pietro di Giovanni d’Ambrosio, Niccolò di Segna, Piero di Cosimo, Desiderio da Settignano, Bartolomeo Ammannati, Lorenzo di Credi, Carlo Dolci, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Domenico Beccafumi, Giambologna and a precious panel by Masaccio: more than six thousand pieces of art are displayed.
These extraordinary works of painting, sculpture, pottery, goldsmithing, furnishing, plating and weaving have been coexisting with elegance and harmony in the Corsi Palace since the end of the XIX century, in the area of Santa Croce in Florence.

Irresistible bouquets

Florence, the city of art and know-how. Florence, the city of perfume. A longstanding tradition that started in the Renaissance and is perpetuated today by the city’s time-honoured perfume houses and award-winning noses, creating innovative products that are appreciated all over the world.
The city’s dedication to artistic perfumery has brought about the establishment of a very successful specialised trade fair, “Fragranze”, managed by Pitti Immagine. Many things have changed since the days when the “Nuovo Ricettario Fiorentino” was developed by the Collegio dell’Arte dei Medici, in 1498, setting the rules for apothecaries when they created their compounds, and the development of botanical sciences, so dear to the Medici family.

Officina Profumo – Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella was established by the Dominican friars who originally settled down in Florence in the 13th century. The Officina Profumo’s entire history can be admired in its perfectly preserved furnishings, instruments and decorations. Famous historical creations include Alkermes (a red liqueur obtained from dried cochineal) and the Polvere per bianchire le carni (a “skinwhitening powder” developed in the 1920s). Eugenio Alphandery, the perfume house’s entrepreneurial owner, firmly believes in the value of an entirely “made in Florence” production. «Medicinal plants, lavender and roses are grown in our garden at Villa La Petraia,» he explains, «and all our candles are manufactured in our facility.» Officina Profumo – Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella creates fragrances to celebrate many special occasions: Acqua di Colonia Cinquanta marked the 50th anniversary of Florence and Kyoto becoming twin cities; Lana is a limited-edition eau de cologne that is soft and warm as wool. «The Cupid and Psyche exhibition held in 2012 at Palazzo Marino in Milan inspired a special room fragrance; and the Maledetto fragrance was created for the Caravaggio Experience project.»

Workers of the soul

Tarshito’s artistic journey represents the link between the cultures of art and craftsmanship of the Western and Eastern hemispheres. His designs are full of mystical and spiritual references, and find their most intense portrayal and formalisation in India’s artisan culture.

Your coherence and your love of Mediterranean materials and culture are well known; as a designer, what is your position on the cultures of design and applied arts?
I don’t regard them as conflicting. In my approach, in my artistic sensitivity, both elements come together. Indeed, I feel I am a “link” between both cultures. I was born in the Western world, but I have had the opportunity, in fact I still do, to visit many other parts of the planet, in particular India, a country with deep cultural roots. I am reading the Vedas, the sacred texts, which were given to India four thousand years ago. When I spend time in two parts of the world that are apparently so different, perhaps even divergent, I shift between the art and craftsmanship of both cultures. In India and in industrious Puglia, in the south of Italy, I learn what these opposites have in common. I am gradually experimenting the “Oneness” of East and West. The more I travel, the more I discover little rituals that the world is forgetting: among the people I meet in the south of Puglia (like the craftsmen that make gilded ceramics, a great Italian tradition) as much as among the tribal people I meet in India, those who propitiate the gods by painting their houses, their raw mud huts, for a good harvest, for a good marriage… I am rediscovering these practices particularly in this part of the world, the one from which I am talking to you: Italy, the founding rituals of which I am investigating. Being an architect, I come across these rites in my work. I often hear old masons talk about their small offerings, perhaps just a few coins, to Mother Earth. It is part of the “old knowledge” and know-how of the hands I am lucky enough to work with. Sometimes the hands are Italian, sometimes Indian and sometimes Albanian. What I’m saying is that, over the course of time, I have gradually started to see how, through the magical area of symbolism and ritualism that expands beyond the specific cultures of the East and West, these two parts actually come together, they become one. What I perceive now is no longer a Mediterranean culture or an Oriental culture: it is simply culture. Just now I was mentioning the roots, the rituals and symbols. The visualisation of the roots, giving them a physical shape, is something that I can create or that an Indian or Puglian artist or craftsman can create. If, through the shape, the symbol guides me to a concept, there is an equally powerful energy that drives me back towards Transcendence. What is really important is that the symbol creates a state of profundity, which gives me access to conceptuality. This action inevitably leads me to the essence of design, to this form of awareness. In the effort to approach the essence we are paying tribute to design, offering it to Transcendence. So, as a designer, my position toward creativity is that it is a process, a journey.