(Also known as… How Many Images Can She Fit In One Post? There’s your warning, fair reader.)
I know I recently featured a ‘Shop in the Spotlight’ review but I’ve got an extra special one for you today. Because while Arighi Bianchi does indeed have an online shop, it’s got an extra large, extra special dollop of fabulousness in the form of a Grade II listed building in Macclesfield.
And that is where I found myself last week with the gorgeous Meera of First Sense to check out the shop, speak to some of the Bianchi family, swoon over some gorgeous furniture and accessories and EAT CAKE. Oh yes, there was cake.
|My partner in crime for the day, Meera.
I know you are all jealous.
She’s just as gorgeous in person as well, so THERE.
Also? You should visit her blog.
Now Arighi Bianchi has been around for a very long time. 157 years long. It was founded by a crazy Italian guy called Antonio Arighi, a clock maker who escaped civil unrest in his country by coming over the Alps on a Toboggan. Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up. His niece’s husband, Anotino Bianchi (they were obviously short on names in Italy at that time) was a cabinet maker and later joined Antonio A and they filled the town with beautiful clocks and barometers before venturing into furniture making.
|An original metal sign found in their warehouse. Love the telephone number is 14.|
Fun History Fact! Antonio A revolutionised the rather modern concept of ‘Try Before You Buy’. I mean, I can’t imagine that selling to Northern Farmers was ever going to be an easy task so clever clog that he was, used to ask the Farmer (after receiving the inevitable brush off) if he would mind watching the barometer until the next time he returned to town because they didn’t have Land Rovers in those days and lugging this stuff around was hard work. Now, Mr. Northern Farmer, taking pity on him no doubt and because Northerners are actually quite friendly as it goes, would agree to watch the barometer until he returned. By the time Antonio A returned a few weeks’ later, SHAZZAM! Mr. Farmer was so enamoured by his new toy, he’d agree to buy it. (I’m not entirely convinced that Anotonio wasn’t actually Antonia because that’s ‘female tactics’ that is.)
The best thing, aside from the gorgeous furniture and the really lovely and welcoming Bianchi family who were gracious enough to show us around, is that everywhere it is evident the family are proud of their store’s heritage and history. I love that historic artifacts from old signs to original clocks to framed invoices dated back to the 1920’s are all artfully displayed throughout the store.
|This was found in CANADA people.
Rob Bianchi said his family have no idea how it got there
but it’s nice to see that it’s been restored to its rightful home.
|An original Arighi clock stands proud in it’s modern surroundings.|
The building itself is rambling with 4 floors linked by a large central staircase.
But the furniture… oh there’s so much loveliness. I’m sure you just want to see it don’t you? Well I won’t hold you in suspense any longer.
Their sofas are so much nicer than anything the big box stores like the monstrosities DFS are selling (click that link at your peril but seriously, that ugly shit is EVERYWHERE in this country).
|So much velvet. Come here you big scrumptious lovely thing, you.|
|Gorgeously modern, I love the shape.|
|Hard to tell in the picture but the colour of this classic chesterfield
was the most PERFECT greige.
|I do love me a bit of yellow!|
|What better way to show your national pride than this Union Jack velvet beauty?|
But there’s more to Arighi Bianchi than a few nice sofas. Oh yes, indeed.
Like interesting mirrors…
|Check out the reflection – how gorgeous is that chest of drawers?|
|I’m digging the texture in a very big way here.|
Here’s a closeup of the one above…
|I love the shape and finish of this one too!|
There were some great wallpapers as well. Here are two of my favourites.
|All roads lead to London!|
|First class fabulousness.
(I refuse to apologise for cheesy remarks when I’m this enamoured.)
These were pretty sexy as well.
There was also an entire section dedicated to the beautiful bedroom furniture of And So To Bed. It was lovely seeing some of the items I had admired on the website in person.
It certainly didn’t disappoint.
|Detail on the head board above. How fabulous is that bird?!|
The accessories dotted around the shop just added to character.
|I didn’t even know what this stuff was but I wanted to take it all home anyway.|
|Old books wrapped in twine were everywhere. I love touches like this.|
|Hard to tell from the picture but this was enormous.
Not as big as the massive wall clock above mind you. But big nonetheless.
Both Meera and I were lusting over these lights. A chandelier within a metal cage? Oh yes, please. I didn’t know I needed one of these in my life but apparently I VERY MUCH DO.
|Available as a floor lamp…|
|… and a table lamp.|
Speaking of industrial gorgeousness, there was plenty of that to go around too, most of which was introduced as part of their autumn line.
|I need one of these shelving units in my life.|
|Sourced from the same company that supplies them to Restoration Hardware in the States.
If you weren’t entirely sure where to begin after seeing all that sexiness, there are interior designers and stylists on site to assist in making the right choices. Not too bad for a full customer experience, eh?
The cafe on site was buzzing on a Tuesday afternoon when we were there which is pretty strange in a furniture store, don’t you think? But you can understand why when you see the gorgeous food they create.
Oh yes, I did mention cake, didn’t I? Well, Meera and I ate through ours way too quickly to take pictures but here’s a quick peek at how lovely they are. If they had taste-a-vision, you’d know how yummy they were as well. Alas, the Internet isn’t quite that advanced so you’ll have to take my word for it.
Ya know, after my visit, I realised that it’s good to have your faith in the UK interiors industry restored. I fear large stores in the UK are so cookie-cutter these days and so afraid to take a chance on more interesting offerings that they all end up looking the same. And the shame is, every one’s home ends up looking like a duplicate of the next one.
Arighi Bianchi are offering the kinds of items I swoon over on US websites and blogs. The kinds of things I’d like in my own home. They are not the cheapest around, mind you (although they do have a few rather nice ‘budget’ ranges) but it’s obvious that this store and it’s history have been built upon a tradition of quality workmanship and good customer service.
I’ll definitely be back to Arighi Bianchi because, rather enticingly, their stock is changing all the time. While we were there, there were a number of sections that were still ‘under construction’ as they prepared for new stock and a change up of their old. My only regret of the day was not getting a pic of Meera and I together! Alas, this blogger admits to distraction brought on by sparkly, shiny, pretty objects at every turn.
If you’d like to pay Arighi Bianchi a visit, they are just off the Silk Road in Macclesfield – be sure to let them know I sent you. Or you can shop to your heart’s content on their online shop.
Hope you enjoyed our virtual whizz around the store today. Any favourites? Have you ever visited before yourself? Are you as enamoured as Meera and I with the ‘chandelier-in-a-cage’? Are you totally jealous that I was able to
stalk hang out with Meera in person rather than just virtually? Maybe you just ate some really good cake? Go on, share in the comments, it’ll burn off 5 calories. Fact.
While I was invited to Arighi Bianchi, I have not been compensated for my review (unless you want to count the cake!) and all of my views are entirely my own.