Alessandra Branca brings a one-of-a-kind perspective to the world of interiors. Born and raised in Rome, she moved to Chicago over 30 years ago and has become a creative force on the city’s design scene. She brings a sense of elegance to everything she does, and she’s particularly well known for her ingenious use of antique and vintage pieces—certainly a favorite element of ours. We spoke with Alessandra about her international approach, her passion for adding a sense of whimsy to her projects, and her unmistakable use of vibrant colors. See what she had to say below, and be sure to shop her curation of Chairish favorites.

Shop Alessandra Branca’s Chairish Faves >>>

Alessandra Branca. Photo: Nick Mele.

How do you think your upbringing in Rome influences your approach to design? In what ways does an Italian sensibility improve or augment American design? 

Classicism is in my bones and serves as the foundation for so much of my work. It is amazing to grow up in Rome, amidst the vibrations of a modern city with ancient ruins as the backdrop. It has led to my appreciation of the mix of old and new, high and low, which gives interiors a necessary spice! America has produced wonderful designers that I admire enormously, like Billy Baldwin. I think my love of history is what continues to inspire me to study designers of the past and to ultimately move the conversation forward.  

You’re known for using color creatively in your spaces, while still maintaining a sense of elegance and sophistication. What are some ways to go bold and expressive without overdoing it? 

I give traditional elements a fresh spirit and vice versa with new things presented in old ways through color, pattern, texture, and application. It gives interiors exuberance while feeling timeless.

You’ve talked about the importance of incorporating a touch of whimsy into design projects. Why do you think having a spirit of fun is key to good work? 

A sense of whimsy and humor fosters conversation and enjoyment, which is what design is all about. We need to live fully in our living spaces!

Alessandra Branca
Photo: Carmel Brantley

Over the years, you’ve participated in many showhouses and given us some incredible, memorable spaces. What’s the best thing about working on showhouses? And what’s something your fellow designers should keep in mind before diving in? 

Showhouses are so much fun, as you are your own client! It is an opportunity to experiment and try new things. When I design a room, I not only consider how it should look but also how it should feel, and I love that so many people can experience the showhouse rooms. A word of caution, as others will tell you: It is a sprint from start to finish due to the limited timeline, but well worth it!

Are there any trends in the design world you’re loving right now? And any that you might like to see disappear? 

I don’t believe in design trends or pay them much attention, but we are seeing that people are finding renewed meaning and importance in their homes, eager for interiors that reflect who they are and support the life they seek to lead.

Photo: Carmel Brantley

On Chairish & Vintage Shopping

How does sustainability factor into your design choices and love of vintage? 

I have always loved and been inspired by nature. It is important to preserve our world and reuse materials when possible. Vintage pieces also have great character that give a room narrative and personality.

What do you find most compelling about Chairish? 

The accessibility it provides to dealers near and far

What are some of your favorite pieces on Chairish now?

These are just a few of my favorites right now:

Alessandra Branca
Photo: Jay Simon

Some Design Favorites…

Favorite way to create a statement-making moment in a room: 

Unexpected scale

Favorite decorating “cheap thrill:” 


Favorite iconic piece of vintage design: 

An original Saarinen executive armchair, my most recent passion 

Favorite paint color: 


Alessandra Branca
Photo: Nick Sargent

Favorite piece of decor in your home: 

My children’s childhood drawings 

Favorite designer or artist from the past you most often turn to for inspiration: 

Billy Baldwin

Favorite style icon: 

Marella Agnelli

Design destination every creative should visit at least once: 


Best piece of career advice you’ve ever received: 

Work hard and don’t give up!

Alessandra Branca
Photo: Simon Upton

Some Lifestyle Favorites…

Favorite vacation destination: 

Italy, as there’s no place like home

Favorite hotel that’s inspired your work while traveling: 

Il Pellicano

Favorite restaurant: 

My kitchen!

Favorite small museum: 

Palazzo Altemps in Rome

Favorite podcast: 

The Grand Tourist

Favorite Instagram account to follow: 


Alessandra Branca
Photo: Thomas Loof

Favorite hostess (or thank you) gift: 

Anything Casa Branca!

Favorite flower: 


Favorite adult beverage: 

Negroni Sbagliato

Favorite way to unwind at home: 

A good book

Favorite entertaining essential: 

Good conversation

Lead image by Carmel Brantley

April 10, 2023

Dennis Sarlo is the executive editor of Chairish and a lover of all things design-related. Prior to joining the team, he served as the executive editor of Dering Hall and was the first site director of Architectural Digest. He was also part of the founding team of travel startup Jetsetter. He lives in New York.