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Ocean Drive - June 2005

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Simona Ciancetta: For Art's Sake

Simona Ciancetta's discerning eye for edgy elements has earned Via Solferino—her home furnishings, art and accessories gallery—a reputation for having vision. The eight-year-old business began as a store called Dilmos in Coral Gables but was relocated to the Miami Design District in 1999. "We shared [area developer] Craig Robins' desire to bring furniture and design to a community accessible to everyone," she says. Ciancetta renamed the business and today stocks ultramodern, high-art pieces ranging from $200 aluminum light fixtures to $20,000 reclining leather sofas, as well as colorful, whimsical chairs and tables by recognizable Italian brands such as Edra.

Although she was born in Rome, 37-year-old Ciancetta grew up in Cairo, Milan and London, thanks to her father, who worked as a military diplomat. She developed a love of design while studying art and photography in Italy. She then was a buyer for and co-owner of three home-furnishings and accessories stores in Udine, Italy, east of Venice, before a happy holiday jaunt to South Beach inspired a move.

"We're seeing ourselves change into an international city. It's not only about business—it's about making a community more valuable and strong by establishing cultural roots," explains Ciancetta, who often hosts cocktail parties in her store to honor new art exhibitions. 'This entails diversifying what you bring here to sell or show. Once people have a choice, they can express themselves in ways they never realized. For instance, furniture is not just that—it's fabric, it's art, it's fashion, it's color and it's senses."

—Suzy Buckley

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