As she debuts a chic new porcelain collection, designer Alessandra Branca shares her favorite places for living a well-styled life.
The Peninsula Spa pool.
A Chicagoan by way of Rome, Alessandra Branca has made a name for herself by infusing charm and color (like her signature red) into clients’ homes. This summer she is also basking in the praise for her new line of pink and blue porcelain tabletop pieces, like her Fiamma china, a modern take on an 18th-century Meissen plate. “I wanted dishes that could go from kitchen to dining room and that you can dress up or down, just like we do an outfit,” says Branca. When not at work in her Gold Coast studio (5 E. Goethe St., 312-787-6123), she finds inspiration in these, her favorite city spots.
“A day at the spa is really important for your body and your head. The service at The Peninsula Spa (108 E. Superior St., 312-573-6860) is fantastic. Their people are top, top-drawer, and it’s a pleasure to be in a beautifully organized space. I usually get facials and massages. I like the idea that you can detox.
“As a European, I look for quality of service and quality of goods. The Bottega Veneta store here (800 N. Michigan Ave., 312-664-3220) is incredible. I go to their stores all over the world, and the one in Chicago is fantastically run and beautifully done.
Nero Rosa sandals, Bottega Veneta ($830).
“I love going to Terzo Piano (159 E. Monroe St., 312-443-8650) because I love any excuse to visit the Art Institute of Chicago (111 S. Michigan Ave., 312-443-3600). I adore all the 18th-century porcelains, and of course the American furniture is to die for— Marshall Field’s 19th-century American classics are incredible.
“Nico Osteria (1015 N. Rush St., 312-994-7100) is a well-done restaurant. I like the carbonara, which is great brunch food on a Sunday. I also love going to Longman & Eagle (2657 N. Kedzie Ave., 773-276-7110). I enjoy the informality of it. They change their menus often, although they always have things like sausages, and their salads are great.
“There’s a place for makeup called Arch Apothecary (1359 N. Wells St., 312-291-9750) that is wonderful. I buy lots of my facial products there. They carry all sorts of small companies— they’re not names that you’re used to seeing. I am not particularly label-driven; if the quality is up to snuff and they deliver service, it’s perfect.”
Sunday Riley’s Good Genes Treatment from Arch Apothecary.