Vincenzo de Cotiis does not shy away from abstraction. The objects he designs are gestural—both brutal and elegant, organically raw and technically refined, futuristic yet informed by Italy’s rich history. Their austerity points to 1970s industrial design, when Carlo Scarpa and Gio Ponti revolutionized the field with their less-is-more approach. But de Cotiis doesn’t let functionality stand in the way of aesthetics. His pieces balance on the invisible beam between architecture and art.

Today de Cotiis, 62, lives and works in Milan, and his sculptural tables, cabinets, and chairs—which can sometimes suggest ancient torture devices—populate residences throughout Europe, from Ibiza to Paris, Saint-Moritz to Cyprus. Not a man of small measures, de Cotiis lives in a 17th-century Milanese palazzo—a 3,300-foot apartment just off Corso Magenta—where excavated walls and pink frescoes are juxtaposed with custom furniture in black, gray, and silver. The inherent tension between the archaic setting and the totemic décor is bracing, fresh, a de Cotiis signature.