Italian design maestro Piero Lissoni must be one of the busiest men in the world, with many diverse projects spanning the globe. Well-known as a product designer, Lissoni was trained as an architect, and he describes what he does as “total design.” In his recent renovation of Venice’s Hotel Monaco and Grand Canal, he masterfully mixes his own bergères and pieces by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Eero Saarinen with 18th-century mosaics. In Istanbul, his interiors for the Bentley Hotel blends Italian minimalism with Turkish exoticism. While he’s not designing furniture, lighting fixtures or corporate identities, his residential projects take him to Moscow, Tel Aviv, Bangkok, Monte Carlo, and Tokyo. Not surprisingly, he is also building a high-rise in design-conscious Shanghai. He has also collaborated with the Japanese architect Tadao Ando on a villa in Treviso. As creative director of Boffi, Porro, and Living Divani, he has come up with an unusual retail concept that combines all three manufacturers. BY, as the project is called, seamlessly integrates the three design brands’ products into a spacious top-floor loft in the heart of New York. “We’re offering not a catalogue, but a feeling of a real home,” explains Lissoni of his “concept living space” in SoHo, with another planned for Los Angeles at a later date. While it can definitely be described as slick and modern, the loft Lissoni has designed is full of his personal touches. Asian antiques and accessories are scattered throughout, not unlike his own home in Milan, where he has an old Japanese Dansu chest, Chinese porcelain, a prototype of a Ettore Sotsass blue-lit mirror, and chairs by the Danish Poul Kjaerholm, whose work he greatly admires. “I put this together because it’s possible to show this Italian way of life,” says Lissoni. Perhaps so, but this Italian way of life would fit perfect anywhere around the globe, which brings us to his design principle: Never to design for a specific function or purpose – but to design for human beings.