Monday, March 29, 2010

An extraordinary house for a movie

Some of you may remember this image from previous posts: Villa Necchi-Campiglio, one of the Historic Museum-Houses in Milan has become the set for a new movie "Io sono l'amore" ("I Am Love") a drama on love and decadence by the Italian director Luca Guadagnino.
Mirroring the lifestyle of the original wealthy owners, the house with its large garden, tennis court and pool, is an ideal scenario to describe the habits and customs of the upper middle class in industrial Lombardy.

A rigorous elegance characterizes the Villa, so Milanese in its soul and built in the Rational Architecture style by Architect Piero Portaluppi between 1932 and 1935 and restored a few years ago.

The main foyer with the sculpture L'amante morta by Arturo Martini, donated to Villa Necchi by Claudia Gian Ferrari (you can see the sculpture still in her house in my previous post The Art's Lady).
The movie depicts a marvelous, glorious Milan, the city every true Milanese remembers and still would love to see, but changes are part of our life and the life of our cities.
From the Central Station under the snowfall and passing by magnificent buildings the camera moves toward Villa Necchi and enters in this jewel of a house.
This perfect choice of location happened by lucky chance. "I was looking for a house that I had in mind for the movie according to a certain taste," says Luca Guadagnino. "I was interested in a very rigorous, neutral exterior and a rich interior, austere yet golden and warm. Villa Necchi Campiglio was an incredible coincidence. I bought many books on architecture and could not find anything, there was always something too much of something in these houses. And at some point I bought a book that shows some of the best Italian houses - the last on my list of books to buy after three years of research and there was Villa Necchi Campiglio, of which I did not know the existence".
Curious coincidence was that the screenplay had not just the description of a very similar house but also the main character is named Recchi, which is very close to the name of the original owners, Necchi.

The Recchi family in the movie lives through a tragic love story and the film follows the fall of this haute bourgeoisie family due to the forces of passion. Seduction, betrayal and power reign and in the story only the women will be saved by their unconditional love and deep strong feelings.

Another image of the magnificent balustrade of the stairway.

Two important private collections are now part of this Historic Museum-House: art of XX century donated by Claudia Gian Ferrari and art of XVIII century donated by the De Micheli family.

The interiors of Villa Necchi alternate the rigor of Rational architecture with a warm and rich atmosphere like in this dining room with a grand chandelier and Aubusson tapestry on the walls.

XVIII and XIX century furniture and a precious Oriental rug to anchor the room.

Modern art on the precious boiserie, a neoclassical bust on the demi-lune console, an elegance of the past in the study.

The library has instead Mid-Century furnishing and the use of velvet creates a touch of luxury in an otherwise quite simple and graphic decor.

Refined, rigorous elegance can also be found in the master bathroom with the use of luxurious onyx marble but keeping the decoration very simple. Two sinks at that time were quite avant-garde and still today not much common in Italy.

The Red Dress by Jil Sander (only 7 dressed were created as limited edition for sale after the movie was released) on Tilda Swinton is also a mirror of the sophisticated taste of the main character and at the same time tells us about her refined sex appeal, so is the beautiful evening gown below, of discreet elegance.


Tilda Swinton and Marisa Berenson in the streets of Milan. Berenson to me is one of the most elegant woman in the world, perhaps her style comes from her iconic grandmother, fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli?

Here I can recognize the marble of my very own Duomo (the superb Gothic cathedral in Milan) as background for another refined dress in a subtle shade of mauve.

The Recchi family in the library and a gorgeous off white evening dress for Swinton.

The elegant pure white top matches the beauty of the delicate white roses in the garden.

I will leave you with the image of the Villa's veranda facing the glorious vast garden, a rare jewel in the center of Milan. The beauty of the room is created by an harmonious blend of shiny metal, bronze sculpture, vibrant green silk and antiques.

Having visited Villa Necchi-Campiglio several times in the past, this is a movie, soon in theatres after seven years of production, I can't wait to see.

Photography by Giorgio Majno, from Mikado Film and from the Villa web sites.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Floor to Heaven at "I Saloni"

I have just received this invitation and I want to share it with you: Floor to Heaven is a magnificent collection of rugs from Köln, Germany, and they will be in Milan for the Design Week (I Saloni and Fuori Salone).






Superstudio Più will be hosting Floor to Heaven but is also going to be the venue of the most important events and design exhibitions of via Tortona and adjacent areas. "The space will become the Temporary Museum for New Design, an exhibition distinguished by a museum format featuring approximately 50 exhibitors and the most renowned designers coming from all over the world. For a whole week, the "Temporary Museum for New Design" turns Superstudio extensive spaces into a museum dedicated to the best international design according to the concept "less Fair and more Museum", a project designed by Gisella Borioli and supervised by Giulio Cappellini’s artistic direction".
If you have time and want to discover all the news about Fuori Salone at Superstudio click HERE to watch the video presenting the on-line conference (English version available).
"Some of the protagonists talk about the next Temporary Museum for New Design, the new project Innovation/Imagination and the exhibition Home and Spa Design: Gisella Borioli, Creative Director and Officer of the project, Giulio Cappellini, Art Director, Paola Navone, famous designer and author of the opening exhibition, Livia Peraldo Matton, Elle Decor Director and originator of the journey "Young Talents on Show".

Exciting weeks ahead ...

Monday, March 22, 2010

"I Saloni" 23 days to go

"AUX and Vescom Fabrics welcome architects, designers and lovers of live music in an innovative and colorful home concert theatre. Every day and all day several different styles of music."

Zona romana2
Zona Romana (the area around corso di Porta Romana) will host events with the theme "Love at first sight"...on how to attract, engage and build customer loyalty.

Design library
The Design Library is the first library entirely dedicated to design, located in Milan, Shanghai and Istanbul.   It is a meeting place, the sponsor of cultural exchanges and a stylish location for international design events.

April 14, 2010 the Design Week in Milan (I Saloni) will open and I can't wait to see the latest trends and to walk around my city to participate to a myriad of exciting events.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Clever simplicity

An attic of 90 square meters in downtown Milan, surrounded by a terrace of 120 square meters, has been fully restored creating a veranda of 30 square meters in which are fitted the kitchen and the dining room, both open to the terrace.
This solution has radically transformed the apartment, which now is flooded by light and more functional. A studied mix of elements, vintage and modern, a great attention to details, the choice of a subtle palette of colors and the materials - fine wood floors and reclaimed stones and tiles plus the Provencal style of furniture create an understated elegance and welcoming atmosphere.
I particularly like the use of antique and contemporary pieces near each other, a house should represent life with its changes and layers of experiences, nothing worse for me than a house created in a few weeks with matching furniture bought in bulk.

Two steps connect the porch to the living room, in which are large libraries, two sofas of classic style and simple cotton upholstery, vintage tables and objects, a rug made of natural fibers over the oak parquet.

A smart choice: Hexagonal reclaimed tiles in the veranda. I wish we can use more reclaimed floors and fixtures, it makes sense for their timeless beauty and it contributes to the health of our planet.

In the dining area, vintage furniture and objects that have been collected by the owners over the years. On the white sideboard is on display a small collection of glass between the two lamps.

White wood cabinet beside the entrance to the veranda, used as a pantry. Two comfortable armchairs upholstered in white cotton form a relaxing area next to the table.

For the master bedroom few furnishings well chosen as the quilt sewn by hand and the small painted armoire, Provencal style. I would certainly add some art on the wall if it was my project but I guess monastic simplicity was the goal, well achieved by the designer.

In the lower part of the bedroom a walking closet. In the bathroom, again the choice of reclaimed hexagonal tiles and classical forms for the free standing sink.

To ensure the thermal insulation double glazing windows were installed and a ceiling of wood and fiberglass. Two large heaters to heat and air conditioning to create a cool environment in summer, when Milan becomes extremely hot and humidity reaches 90%. I always lived there without the need for cold air and actually embracing the heat after long cold winters. I am convinced that more we use air conditioning less we are conditioned to stand the heat, besides the fact that air conditioning ironically creates more heat outside the buildings where it is used.

The steel kitchen, consisting of two blocks, is by Boffi. What a dream would be cooking here admiring the change of season in the heart of a big city.

The stone paving of the terrace was reclaimed from an old house and the space is now divided into two zones: the first, adjacent to the kitchen while the other is accessible from the dining room.
In summer having breakfast under the shade of the grapes pergola...what a perfect start of the day.

Images by Adriano Busaferri

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Spring rainy days

The Milanese fashion and fabric house Etro is famous not only for gorgeous clothes and textiles but also for their philosophy of life characterized by quality, refinement and excellence of materials and workmanship. Their refined sense of color and the timeless decorative motif contributes to the elegance of this umbrella holder, by Etro Home Accessory, made of precious Florentine ceramic.
On a purple background we can admire the elaborate decorative motif called Paisley.
The name indicates a particular textile design of Eastern origin, which became popular in Europe in XIX century, and has become characteristic of the Etro brand due to their passion for history and for travel around the world, to the point that on their clever web site they even have a fun memory game based on Paisley.
Applied here to the classical form of the big jar, Paisley pattern becomes bright and sumptuous, perfect for creating an elegant atmosphere in the foyer of any house, the vase can be also used to hold delicate branches or just by itself as a focal point on a console.

A timeless piece.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Alice in Bloggerland

Alice mania: March 5th, 2010 Tim Burton's movie, from the masterpiece of Lewis Carroll "Alice in Wonderland" will be in theatres around the world. Extraordinary characters and worlds where logic is reversed, a dream or reality?
On the same theme just recently a new Hotel was inaugurated in Milan by Moschino Maison (to see my previous post on Moschino click here) and what better timing to open a whimsical and fun Hotel than for the Milanese Fashion Week.

Here is Alice trying to have a preview of the Hotel peeking through the rabbit hole...let's follow her...

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The 1840 building, the first train station in Milan, was restored maintaining intact the original architecture.

Clouds on the ceiling create light in the foyer so immediately Alice (and the visitors) are taken into a fantasy world.

I believe she would be perfectly happy to sleep here in between adventures, don't you agree?

Alice would probably also feel comfortable here, where the furniture are out of scale and a gigantic tea cup becomes a table.

She would awake in the morning looking at the chandelier, made of real (dream on) cookies and candies.

And the Queen of Hearts?

Would she relax here? Hopefully she will be more mellow...who would not like to sleep every night on a bed made of roses?

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Or hearts will make her happier? Who knows, she is such a character!

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The White Queen

Would she like this amazing bedroom? It is my favorite one.

The Mad Hatter?

Would he have a sound zzzzleep in this room?

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The Cheshire cat

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I am sure the Cat will continue to smile in this bedroom.

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The White Rabbit?

He perhaps will stop running around and find the perfect sleep in this Blue Room? Of course someone will have to wake him up on time!


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And finally...who should sleep in this enchanted forest but at the same time very functional room?

Moschino Maison Hotel, a project by Rossella Jardini in cooperation with Jo Ann Tan.
What a dream! Or is it reality?
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