Midas Touch

 Michael Amini. Photos courtesy of AICO Michael Amini. Photos courtesy of AICO

In 1979, Michael Amini arrived in the US intending to study electrical engineering. Decades later, bedecking sleigh beds in Swarovski crystals and rubbing elbows with Hollywood’s elite may seem like quite the drastic career turn for the CEO and head designer of legendary furnishing house AICO — but then, Amini has never been one for predictability.

From studding leather with rose gold to wrapping dressers in buttery upholstery, the trendsetting designer has made his name by breaking with rules and tradition, to lead the industry to glamorous new dimensions. A modern-day Renaissance man who loves fashion, art, travel and architecture, he channels inspiration from every corner of the globe: Russian palaces, Old-World Tuscany, Hollywood glitz — these all find a place in his elaborate carvings and opulent textiles.

With 20 years of accolades behind him, Amini’s persona is as multifaceted as his ornate mirrors — one day, he’s working on a new collection alongside acting-world darling Jane Seymour; the next, he’s receiving an honourary doctorate for building a state-of-the-art medical centre for transfusion patients. And as a father of two, he knows the importance of staying grounded: for Amini, it’s about function as much as flights of furniture fancy.

Mr. Amini’s Favourite Things:

Quenching his thirst for travel and art, Amini frequents the cobblestone streets of Paris and Rome, where he finds true inspiration; “To me, they are living museums.” The Four Seasons Paris is one of his favourites, as is discovering Old Europe’s artistic gems: the 1794 self-portrait of French painter Jacques-Louis David. Sharing a French affinity for the finer things, Amini infuses his lifestyle with effortless decadence, throwing on an easily elegant Etro jacket, a timeless Louis Vuitton bag for work or Delsey suitcase for travel and adorning his wrist with a masculine Hublot timepiece. Classic Cartier is his fail-proof choice for eyewear, while a spritz of Terre d’Hermès eau de parfum adds a raw, earthy edge. At home, his own furniture collection, like his Monica Leather End Table is an undisputed choice. And when it comes to indulging the senses, the designer welcomes the opulent. From the heady scent of orchids and lilies, to the bright burst of caviar, or ice cream’s sweet chill, Amini’s bold tastes, like his work, are anything but subtle.

Text by Kate Missine  Translated by Tiantian  Produced by Many Ngom