covering the floors in stone and wood. I designed the custom kitchen, and many of the furnishings». The details add exotic touches, like the oriental image of a curtain decorated with the motif of a Louis XVI chandelier by Stefania Mura, screening off the open kitchen. Or the birdcages, lanterns, and the mirror over the plaster fireplace, designed by Orsini.
The energy of stone
NEAR NOTO, A CONSERVATIVE RENOVATION OF AN OLD FARMHOUSE IN A CONTEXT OF NATURE AND ARCHITECTURE. words ELENA DALLORSO – photos MATTIA AQUILA The old stone architraves of the main building bear the date 1890, indicating the origin of the complex on the hill of Pantanello, near Noto. Other volumes had been added over time. The latest is very recent, the work of the architect Gianluca Rossi from Bologna. «This is a place of wild nature, with the sea very close by. It casts an ancestral spell». In 2008, when he purchased the property, it was in ruins. But there was something harmonious, a sort of pride and energy. Renovation began in 2010, with a philological approach: «The four separate structures are low, solid. We simply reinforced their foundations. The original stone walls are thick, to keep out the summer heat, and for warmth in the winter», the architect says. The space around the house is immense, with fine views of the sea and the Vendicari Nature Reserve, the Baroque cupolas of Noto, and a sort of canyon (actually a very old quarry). The interior design continues the theme of conservation and rigor. «When I first arrived, I was struck by the extreme simplicity of the furnishings. The kitchen had a brick counter, the table was a wooden board placed on a metal bedframe. I couldn’t possibly ruin the effect with anonymous modern cabinets. So I combined rusted iron sheets on which to place stovetops with the wood of an old Scandinavian cabinet and the steel of a vintage Smeg fridge». Such mixtures are everywhere: still in the kitchen, the custom counters are joined by the Leonardo table by Achille Castiglioni and chairs by Paola Navone; in the master bedroom a handcarved door with brass inserts from Rajasthan coexists with the Knotted Chair by Marcel Wanders and a lamp made from a fishing trap.
The poetics of balance
IN THE ARMANI/CASA STORE IN LONDON, EVERY SPACE NARRATES A TASTE FOR ESSENTIAL POISE AND REFINED MATERIALS. words GAIA PASSI – photos MASSIMO LISTRI Fashion and living, the two focal points of Giorgio Armani: worlds with deep affinities, sharing the same philosophy. In London, he has combined the two in a single location for the first time, on Sloane Street. The renovated space contains the two points of sale, side by side, connected by a long curved corridor. The new concept has been personally developed by Armani in collaboration with his team of architects: «The balance of refined materials, precious finishes and warm atmosphere is the key shared by the two spaces», Armani explains. In 2000 the experience of decorating his many homes prompted him to share his “dream habitat” with the rest of the world, opening the first Armani/Casa store at Via Manzoni 31 in Milan. Today the brand has 41 stores in 29 countries. Armani/Casa on Sloane Street has an overall area of 200 square meters, and is connected to the adjacent Giorgio Armani boutique by a space with curved walls for the display of fabrics, carpets and wallpapers. A special area is set aside for the projects of the Interior Design Studio, created in 2004 by Giorgio Armani to furnish private homes, but also yachts, airplanes and residential complexes around the world.
IN THE BAROQUE CAPITAL, A FORMER CARRIAGE HOUSE HAS BEEN TRANSFORMED INTO A PLACE FULL OF MAGIC. words RUBEN MODIGLIANI – photos MATTIA AQUILA Noto is made of palaces, churches, sloping streets, Baroque architecture and flourishing nature. «It is a city that seduces you and never lets you go», says Rachel Bartoli, owner of the space shown here. Rachel, from France but residing in Bologna for many years, discovered it 12 years ago. She came here with a friend who wanted to invest in real estate, and in the process she made an investment herself. That first house was followed by others, and in 2010 she opened a gallery trading in antiques. The space in question is a “basso”, namely an old carriage house with stables, of Palazzo Astuto, just behind the cathedral. One morning from her terrace Rachel saw a moving van nearby, as she was watering her plants. She made inquiries and bought the space that had been a restaurant. Together with the architect Corrado Papa, she began work, eliminating layers, searching for origins: stoneware tile was removed and replaced by Caltagirone ceramics or antique pietra pece; the masonry vaults, painted orange, returned to their natural hue. And the magic was revealed. The result is a space of great visual impact with a practical function as an annex for Rachel’s antique store. The furnishings are constantly changing, since practically everything is on sale. The style is eclectic, a genteel Wunderkammer for antique paintings and furniture, but also for evocative salvaged objects. In the entrance, with stone barrel vaults, a sofa and a bench face each other, covered in gold damask, with an antique Sicilian wall-mounted umbrella stand. This zone is divided from the next space by a cherry tree rising from the ground, where each blossom is made with transparent crystals containing LEDs.
Voyage in Provence
THE MAÎTRE PARFUMEUR OF LOUIS VUITTON CREATES THE BRAND’S SCENTS IN AN OLD BASTIDE IN GRASSE. words ELENA DALLORSO – photos MASSIMO LISTRI Jacques Cavallier Belletrud passed by here every morning on the way to school, unaware that behind those iron gates he would one day have an office and atelier. The estate known as Les Fontaines Parfumées, inside Villa Vauthier, was simply a dilapidated old bastide. It had lost its function in the world of perfume that dated back to the 1920s, when a fountain was built, sparkling with the fragrances created by the local maîtres: mimosa in January, violet in February, spring blossoms in April, roses in May, jasmine until the fall. In 2013 Louis Vuitton purchased the site, and after a year of restoration it has become the creative perfume center of the Maison and the LVMH group (besides the atelier of the Maître Parfumeur of Louis Vuitton, it contains that of François Demachy, creator of fragrances for Christian Dior). The first collection of men’s fragrances is about to be unveiled: L’Immensité, Nouveau Monde, Orage, Sur la Route, Au Hasard. The essential bottles designed by Marc Newson can be refilled in Louis Vuitton boutiques, all with fountains like that of the bastide in Grasse, where during the last century clients could take their perfumes directly from the source. The creative focal point is on the second floor, in Cavallier’s atelier, where refrigerated facilities conserve the various ingredients. The ground floor of the 17th century bastide is open to the public (with a hall, a dining room, a winter garden, a library and a kitchen), and connected to the other levels by a majestic staircase. All around, visitors can enjoy a marvelous olfactory garden designed by the landscape architect Jean Mus, another Grasse native. THE END
ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST ¥ ITALIA