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.


qerat said...

This is elegance at it's best. From the set to the wardrobe.

Anonymous said...

A great post. How strange though. Such a stunning Deco house and yet there you have the dinning room and sitting room! They seem to belong to yet another house with a whole different sensibility.
Yes, Marisa Berenson has wonderful background also with Bernard and Mary Berenson at the I Tatti leaving her such rich cultural heritage. Can not wait to see the movie. Thank you so much, what a treat.

Brillante Home Decor said...

Hi Anonymous, you are absolutely right, but the family had heirlooms and they were also collectors that is why I guess? the interior decoration is different from the architecture. On another side how boring would be to live in a "perfect" house where everything is one style.
Berenson definetely came from a high culture and very interesting family, glad you mentioned Bernard.

Anonymous said...

You are right Albarosa, apparently two different collections were donated to this house, now a museum. I wonder how the house looked inside when it was originally designed and decorated. No matter, it is fantastic, and yes, a perfect house would be hard to live in because it would be devoid of spirit.

Dumbwit Tellher said...

I truly enjoyed this post. From the amazing architecture (that staircase), to the history, to the fashions. I know this will be a film I would love to see. I never knew that Ms. Berenson was related to Elsa S. Thank you for the education.

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...


this makes we want to jump on a plane and head to Milan to see this house.

Can you be sure to let us know when the film comes out...what is the name in English? Do you see any hint of when it might open here?

Cheer, DIANE


Each room is so unique and elegant. I love the fact that each room has been done in a different era.

And if we talk about elegant woman, you are definitely one of the most elegant woman I have ever meet :)

ArchitectDesign™ said...

the wardrobe is as beautiful as the house itself! I love the juxtoposition of collections in the house -this is how people LIVE, mixing the things they love!

Brillante Home Decor said...

Thank you all for your enthusiastic comments.
Diane...The movie title will be "I am love" and I believe it will be in North America around September (in April in Milan, lucky me)

dovecote Decor said...

Thank you for the post about the house. We had "I am Love" for our local film festival in Winston Salem NC. I didn't have a name for the architectural style, and will now toss it around. The movie was great!

Movie Reel said...

Niec blog
Hollywood theme parties are becoming extremely popular these days as more and more people are deciding on putting a twist to their normal run of the mill house party.

Little Augury said...

I think this main foyer is what captivates so in the movie and the images I have seen of the house. in the movie-it is the place that events seem to overtake the characters- What I found so perfect about it is the color palette and that Martini sculpture. thanks for letting me know about this post. pgt

laughingsalmon said...

My perfect wife...Tilda Swindon...Is living in our perfect house...But who are all those other people? a gorgeous article...Must find the film...Maybe on Netflix...Molto Thankies...

laughingsalmon said...

I ordered this film from Netflix...It was marvelous...An amazing tale...Perfectly acted...Set in a beautiful house and area...The snowy scenes are magical...Calm and serene...Order it if you can...

Clicky Web Analytics