When Orlando Milite and his brothers, Frank and Joe, opened Le Belle Arti in 1976, their mission was to design and produce exclusive, custom furniture for discerning clients. The focus shifted in the decades since, and now the company works directly with architects and designers to source and supply high-end furniture and lighting from international brands. Despite the company’s evolution, staging was never a service Le Belle Arti considered oﬀering — despite Milite’s strong opinions on the industry.
“I always thought that, in Edmonton, people tend to use very cheap furniture or replica furniture in staging,” Milite says. “When I travelled internationally, I noticed the use of original furniture, not copies, in staging. I thought it would be nice for Edmonton to do the same thing.”
In 2021, Milite was contacted by Fabio Guarducci, the president of Katz Real Estate Group, to ask if Le Belle Arti would be interested in staging the model suites in the Sky Suites and Legends Suites in the Ice District. Le Belle Arti previously furnished Guaraducci’s home in Edmonton, and worked with designers Shugarman Architecture + Design group to furnish the sub-penthouse in the Legends tower.
“They apparently liked what we did,” Milite says.
The partnership was finally an opportunity for Milite to test his vision of staging, with a company very much in alignment.
“Sky Residences and Le Belle Arti both target upper-income people, and work with reputable architecture firms who promote high-quality design and products,” says Milite.
Located on floors 43 to 66 of Stantec Tower — the tallest building in Western Canada — the Sky Residence luxury condos boast incredible views and pedway access to ICE District amenities.
“The best feature is the panoramic view,” Milite says. “It’s absolutely breath-taking.”
Recently, Katz Real Estate Group asked Le Belle Arti to stage an additional large, luxurious suite in The Legends Private Residences at Ice District, located in the JW Marriott Edmonton Ice District & Residences (these suites include access to the hotel’s services and amenities). According to MLS listings, a southwest sub-penthouse at the Legends is on the market for close to $2.5 million. Many clients who purchase suites in either property (or both), also furnish and light their suites through Le Belle Arti. Milite visits the Ice District almost weekly to work on staging or furnishing a suite. “One suite [we are furnishing] is right at the top on the 66th floor, it’s very distinct from most of the other high-rise buildings in Edmonton,” Milite says.
When it comes to staging the suites, Le Belle Arti takes the same approach it does to furnishing homes in and out-side of Ice District. “We never want to be redundant about what we do, we want to be a little ahead of things,” Milite says, citing clean looks, exotic woods and mid-century modern accents as current approaches. “Our design approach is to not clutter a place and to use only essential, very unique pieces so that each piece becomes a focal point. The emphasis should be on the people that live in the place, so we neutralize most of the of the surroundings to put the emphasis on their personalities.”