Go Fish

Fornasetti Wallpaper adds the fin-ishing touch.

Lisa Marie Hart Home & Design, Real Estate


“Fish in the desert are exotic,” says Lawrence Lazzaro of Nicholas Lawrence Design. “And who doesn’t like a stylized aquarium in the bath?” Lazzaro and partner Nicholas Hertneck designed this bathroom for clients at Andalusia at Coral Mountain in La Quinta who requested something playful and a bit boyish. (They have three sons.)

The piscatorial wallpaper from Cole & Son is the Acquario pattern by Piero Fornasetti, the Milanese painter, sculptor, engraver, and decorator whose images appear on more than 11,000 products are instantly recognizable.

Of the four Acquario colorways, the designers opted for the sepia tone to complement an overall restrained palette. The bath adjoins a modern guest room, where a white leather bed pairs with a grass-cloth-covered wall.
“Wallpapering all the walls of the two-room bath surrounds one with

Fornasetti’s imaginative world and creates an atmosphere of playfulness so important for the desert vacation home,” Lazzaro explains. “The rest of the bath we kept simple and clean. It’s easy to maintain and stocked with hospitable amenities.”

In the second guest bath, the walls are covered in a Fornasetti air-scape of flying machines and hot air balloons, Cole & Son’s Macchine Volanti pattern. The two guest suites, for those paying attention, play out in a sea-to-sky contrast.

“Many Fornasetti wallpapers are tricky to specify and to order,” warns Lazzaro. “Macchine Volanti, for example, is a double-wide panel and must be purchased in two-roll sets. Leave the ordering and the installation to a professional.”

The designer says it’s easy to fall for Fornasetti’s surrealistic wit and deadpan illustrations the deeper one digs into his body of work. “He is such an important figure in 20th-century design,” he notes. “Of course he’s a national treasure in Italy, but the world over loves Fornasetti.”