MFL 57 – Magic room, a modern wunderkammer in Brera

View to the dining room. The environment is separated from the living room by a custom-made shelf in solid wood (photo Filippo Bamberghi)

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A house from the end of the 19th century in Milan, located in the Brera district, reveals itself as a surprising Wunderkammer, a continuous game of surprises that meet after the thread of a story of travel, passions and careful attention to the details of each item or piece of furniture; a mise en scène never random, but always conceived and concretized in a way that is sometimes appropriate and sometimes only at first glance disharmonious, thanks to a gallery of paintings, very precious objects, or only seemingly precious, is the truth of Little importance. This sequence of details is suitable for faces of women who appear portrayed in many places in the house. The structure and distribution of the rooms have not been changed, the precious architectural elements have been wisely preserved. “It is a project that satisfies the needs of those who live there, a few established professionals, and that simplifies the rooms in a busy everyday life: bathroom and wardrobe are separate, but the dining room and living room are large and bright. Friends,” he explained Giovanna Giannattasiowho signed the project.

“The intervention was limited to redesigning an empty box where everything has to work as best as possible”. The hostess then took care of the details and decor. Thus the chamber of a wonder took shape, where everything finds its place, but where everything can change at the same time. “It’s a moving house full of dreams,” continued architect Giannattasio. “The homes are not static places, but in perennial motion like our existences. In an apartment, the designer works on a part of the house, a demarcated place, with a character and some limitations: he must act as a space craftsman who designs tailored to the particular and unique customer.The mastery lies in hiding the defects or improving them to make it a unique place, with personality, capturing as much light as possible, giving a rhythm and a musicality … In the case of this “magic house” continues its development today in the travels and experiences of those who live in it, see and participate in its transformations. A wonder chamber consisting of objects, works of art, moods, loves and dreams’.

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The inspirations come from the long business trips that make the owners discover works of art, furniture, figurines, mirrors, tables that change color; iridescent shapes that appear to change as if reflected in a faceted glass. Everything hides and then reveals itself. Theirs is an attentive look at harmony and form, but with a bit of disrespect, as often as cheeky are the combinations of objects, works, furniture, paintings and visions of an almost surreal world. You can not walk through the corridors and rooms without paying attention to unusual characters, rare animals or calm ceramic heads: everything seems to refrain from leaving the careless visitor. There are many brave women in this house, portraits of naked faces or bodies on paintings hang in the bathroom: a young woman dressed only in a red handkerchief on her head looks out over white oriental statues, another in evening dress is keen to wash an oven with rubber gloves. Elegant with its tousled curls. Beauty is a compositional act: Decorating well does not mean so much having beautiful objects, but rather stories to tell. The interventions in the apartment, even important ones, are hidden, as are all the latest technological systems or the completely renovated bathrooms, the service area and the kitchen invented from scratch, the invisible air conditioning, the TV screen lowered into the bookcase, designed as if it were born with the house, and a fireplace that works and does not smoke.

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And then the greenhouse, which makes a terrace located between the houses in the center of Brera cozy and romantic. Here it means making the hostess’ dreams come true and making her mark without being discovered, ”explained the architect. His invisible intervention consists of ideas, refined technology with extreme attention that should not be discovered. A rare example of how a designer can intervene without showing his work too much, without the need to leave a clear mark on his mindset. The plan of the house has maintained the peculiarity of an era in which no one was surprised by extreme and flashy interventions: the function of the long corridors, silent interstates, was the passage from one place to another in pursuit of fragile perceptions, a path sure, that it keeps the rooms sheltered, while at the same time keeping them in relation to each other. An open communication that allows for a discreet private dimension. The distribution of the spaces invites us to follow a path that is sometimes marked with precise light cones, as if to indicate an obligatory, clear path, sometimes only perceived, to be discovered. An example is a passage between one room and the next, hidden. A surprise to finally reach the terrace, another place for shared well-being.

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Like a private conservatory, full of carefully selected plants for a secluded shade garden. The wrought iron greenhouse, designed by architect Giannattasio, seems to have always belonged to this place. Furniture painted in chalk white, niches and showcases with a hundred scents, essences found around the world and brought home preserves the scent from distant places. A coherent vision that then contradicts itself. It all goes almost in the background: what wins is the taste for details, details where it is possible to get lost as in a Flemish painting. But after wandering between notes and colors coupled in a never banal way, between furniture, vases, small sculptures, valuable works and common objects, between fresh flowers and antique or contemporary objects, we can define this house as the setting for the narrative of a story, a novel consisting of characters and things. An inspiration without prejudice that communicates the taste of a personal taste and paints the personality of those who live there.

That’s what wunderkammers was used to: entering a fantastic world without rules, where everything mixes and disappears, or where you can find the thoughts of those who created them. This house you know will not always remain the same. The thought of those who live there will move furniture, objects, change colors and lights to continue to surprise with ideas brought from the world, with objects found in unpredictable places so as not to betray the joy of surprise. Nothing will ever be the same. (All rights reserved)

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