Paolo’s creamy cappuccinos, home-baked cakes by Graziella, Giovanni’s distilled brandy: when Irene Berni paints a picture of Valdirose, it’s not...
Before returning to work after the summer, The Socialite Family called to see their friend, Luciano Giorgi on the Sicilian coast. The Milanese head of lgb architetti welcomed us at his 18th century house, which features typically traditional Sicilian architecture, and which he has decorated and refurbished in his own style. A place where you live in two different eras at once. More outdoors than in. Where time stands still, in a personal, delicate decorative style with sweet Mediterranean scents. A place where you let yourself relax, looking out at the infinite horizon. The property is simply decorated, left in its natural state with designer Italian furniture seemingly scattered at random – but there is more to it than that. Because Luciano Giorgi loves contrasts and neat allusions. He prefers to retain a traditional and luxurious upstairs floor, in contrast to the contemporary and functional downstairs. The Italian architect enjoys telling the story of his country’s architecture in his own way, by highlighting its contrasts. Ancient devotional offerings, books as holy relics, 18th century tiles and waxed concrete are all reflected in the property. A delightful, poetic formula that makes us dream of lounging and reading for just a little longer before returning home.
Luciano, who are you, can you introduce yourself?
I am curious about the world around me, I am passionate about art, and interior architectural projects as well as public places. For several years I have collaborated for various luxury brands all over the world: from a pop-up store at Harrods in London, via Los Angeles, Tokyo, New-Delhi and of course via Montenapoleone in Milan and the Piti Uomo in Florence. It’s a long list. I love plunging into the new stories each time with my studio, lgb architetti.
How would you define your style?
I consider myself free in my concepts and ideas. Each creation is conceived as a unique piece that can be recognised in its context by also addressing the personality and lifestyle of the person who lives in the spaces. I’d feel restrained if I had too precise a style. I’m attracted to unexpected projects. I also enjoy the idea of working on a pastiche, an ephemeral project. Designing an interior by tracing the style of another, always linked to the past.
Who inspires you in your work, where has inspired you in the history of Italian – or foreign – architecture?
Over the years, I have accumulated endless knowledge about works by architects who have been able to construct buildings that are totally different from each other through a way of thinking that takes architecture off the beaten track. I refer a lot to the Italian post-war period. Especially that in the centre of Milan, closely linked to the Mitteleuropa culture embodied by architects such as Luigi Figini and Gino Pollini, Asnago Vender, Giulio Minoletti or Jan Andrea Battistoni. I think that knowing how to marry different styles and times more disparate from each other is the most contemporary form of architecture.
I think that knowing how to marry different styles and times more disparate from each other is the most contemporary form of architecture.
How did you design this house?
This house dates from the 18th century. To renovate it I decided to work on two levels. On the first floor, I have kept the typical characteristics of a noble house in southern Italy, with period ceilings, earthenware floors mixed with other more contemporary concrete and double doors. On the ground floor, on the other hand, everything has been completely rethought in a more modern style with a few inspirations taken from the upper floor. The heart of the house is represented by the external patio adjoining the kitchen: this is where we live most of the day. From there we can access a teak terrace overlooking the sea where we like to sunbathe. It is decorated with aromatic plants.
Is there an item or decorative object that follows you everywhere?
I avoid choosing the same design pieces for my different projects. But I always prefer Italian designers from other periods.
What era do you like most in the history of design?
I am passionate about the whole generation of architects with whom the great history of Italian design began! I’m thinking of Marco Zanuso, Gae Aulenti, Luigi Caccia Dominioni, Ettore Sottsass, Umberto Riva. We are roughly in the post-war period up to the 1970s.
Is there a designer who particularly inspires you?
I find architects who create their own furniture more interesting. I’m thinking of Azucena (which doesn’t exist any more) composed mainly of Luigi Caccia Dominioni, Ignazio Gardella and Corrado Corradi Dell’Acqua. This trio designed furniture and objects for their own residential projects.
Are you a collector?
I do not define myself as a collector but more as an art lover. Thanks to the precious advice of Diego Cassina, an extremely sensitive art dealer, I have acquired works of art in recent years, choosing works by artists that are out of fashion. I prefer to buy against the trend.
A kitsch piece that you whole-heartedly endorse?
Antonia Campi’s toilets, just installed in my home in Milan.
Which materials do you most like to work with?
Working with materials for a destination other than the one for which they were intended!
A favourite colour that would characterise your style?
Right now I love colour gradation.
What projects do you have for the future?
Thanks to the precious advice of Diego Cassina, an extremely sensitive art dealer, I have acquired works of art in recent years, choosing works by artists that are out of fashion.
Photography & Text: Constance Gennari – Translation: TextMaster @thesocialitefamily