Art and design has always been a large part of Florence’s heritage from its earliest part in the textile industry in the Middle Ages through to its prolific art outputs in the Renaissance. Today, Florence is still a city steeped in the traditions of the artisan, creating hand made products using quality textiles with studios like M.K. Textile Atelier leading the charge. Housed in a light filled greenhouse within the tranquil gardens on the grounds of Palazzo Pandolfini, a 15th century palace in central Florence, you will find Margherita Pandolfini with her design partner, Karl Jorns, at work hand painting or screen printing their original fabrics, which will soon become table runners, tote bags or material used to up-cycle vintage chairs with a bold, modern print. Margherita's work is constantly inspired by Florence, “there is always something new or unexpected to discover when walking around the city - a new fresco, a new courtyard, the city has always offers something new to discover”, with the design duo's work varied, from their homewares being sold at salubrious department stores in the past including Bergdorf Goodman or creating one-off installations like a Bedouin style campsite for a Saudi Prince for Burning Man festival in the U.S.A. So what inspires Margherita when not in her sun-filled studio? Here she shares her NINE when not at the design table…   
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    1. Galleries I Love 

    The Uffizzi Gallery for its beautiful selection of paintings and sculptures and it's special to me for the unique corridor that runs across the museum on the top floor and faces the river Arno with the intricate and gorgeous frescoed ceilings and sculptures. I also love the Bargello for its beautiful sculpture and its incredible courtyard with the amazing staircase and fountain where in summer they use the space for performances and contemporary art. Finally, Museo Stibbert with its wonderful collection of antique armoury and the art collection of Frederick Stibbert. It is special to me because it is part of my family; Frederick Stibbert was one of my ancestors and his quirky, interesting style in his collection is very inspiring to me and my work.

    2. For A Perfect Dinner 

    Il Santo Bevitore for its great choice of wine and sophisticated food. I really like the atmosphere and interior design.

    3. For A Sweet Treat

    Rivoire in piazza della Signoria for the best hot chocolate with whipped cream they serve during the cool winter months. 

    4. My Florence Style 

    My dress sense is more eclectic and international but I believe Italian fashion sense is about elegance, quality, with just the right touch of colour.

    5. Favourite Shopping Stores & Streets   

    Société Anonyme in Sant'Ambrogio. I love this shop for its eclectic, trendy yet original selection of designers with a great contemporary interior and a space which also hosts events. They have just opened a second store on via Maggio in Oltrarno, so now Florence has two great outlets. 

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    6. For Sunset Cocktails 

    For sunset cocktails with a great view onto the river Arno looking to Ponte Vecchio and across to the Uffizzi Gallery would be Golden View's Open Bar on via de' Bardi 58/R. The seats by the oversized glass windows at the back of the bar offer priceless views of the city's incredible buildings.

    7. For Art & Culture {beyond the obvious galleries}

    The Fondazione Fabbrica Europa held at Stazione Leopolda is a great institution for contemporary art exhibitions and dance performances where they showcase a selection of shows at this wonderful venue which is an old train station just west of the city centre, its urban features only adding to the atmosphere of the events. 

    8. Favourite Green Space In Florence

    My favourite green spot is the Boboli Gardens and also the Rose Garden on a summers day. Both are great places to walk around and simply relax, to soak in some nature in the heart of the city while reading a book and admiring the view of Florence. 

    9. Escape To The Countryside {best day trip from Florence}

    The best countryside escape is to my aunts villa in Chianti, Tizzano, near Grassina, just south of Florence. The villa has a wonderful view over the Chianti vineyards with a wonderful pool. I know not everyone can just simple pop by but it is the best way to spend a day away from Florence; anywhere in the Chianti region is a good recommendation when travelling in Tuscany. 

    M.K.Textile Atelier are part of the Airbnb, On The City Trips Program, The Green House Studio - find more details at www.airbnb.com/experiences

    They are also hosting a number of bespoke events including a Christmas themed soiree with Emiko Davies and pop-up dinner in London with Kino Vino

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    Photo credit: Olga Makarova