With major U.S. projects in the works, the high-output, low-profile designer talks Shaker chairs, Porsches and the best food in Milan

AT 55, Piero Lissoni has spent nearly three decades heading Lissoni Associati—his 70-member architecture and industrial design practice—while art directing the luxury brands Boffi, Porro and Living Divani. Based in Milan, Mr. Lissoni may be less known than fellow European design-minds like Philippe Starck or Marcel Wanders, but his projects, steeped in quiet elegance, bring order and beauty to the everyday. Black lacquer and gray oak elevate his Duemilaotto bath into a spare-yet-serene sanctuary. His modular Aprile kitchen for Boffi gracefully marries wood, steel and stone. Mr. Lissoni’s reach extends far beyond la casa, however. There are Paris, London and Istanbul flagship boutiques for Benetton, luxury suites for Taj hotels and showrooms for Piazza Sempione and Elie Tahari. The six-month-old Conservatorium Hotel, with vibrant modern interiors by Mr. Lissoni, has quickly become Amsterdam’s most stylish hideaway.


Mr. Lissoni’s Zooom table for Kartell

Now Mr. Lissoni is shifting his attention to America. This fall, he and business partner Nicoletta Canesi debut their first New York project, a Sky Lounge atop Times Square’s AKA Hotel. Next up: a residential building and waterfront hotel in Miami. While he was characteristically discreet about the details, the results will likely exhibit a sensitivity to site and surroundings. Mr. Lissoni’s work—whether a renovation of Milan’s 90-year-old Teatro Nazionale or the interiors for Jerusalem’s Mamilla Hotel—always attains a sense of place. “I only create buildings that are human in scale,” said the designer, an avid chef and dog-lover who travels 200 days each year. “Because there is a price to pay for every great piece of architecture.”

Italian design needs to be made in Italy. There’s something about Italian factories, manufacturers, entrepreneurs that cannot be replicated abroad.