An Artist’s Milan Home Finds the Beauty in Raw, Unfinished Materials

An Artist’s Milan Home Finds the Beauty in Raw, Unfinished Materials

From the outside, it looks like a typical Milan home, but inside, a one-of-a-kind home dreamt up and realized by its homeowner artist awaits. We are in the Città Studi neighborhood, in the small villa of Giovanna La Falce, a multifaceted creative whose works range from paintings to sculptures, from photography to happy forays into the world of tableware.

Made of Ceppo di Gré, a stone that’s typical of Milan’s historic architecture, the building is part of a series of terraced houses designed in the 1990s by award-winning local architect Raul Barbieri. Once La Falce purchased the house, she enlisted her friend, architect Daniele Rotondo, to translate her creative vision and create a house tailored to her lifestyle. A dialogue was created between the formal layout set out by Barbieri and the aesthetic and functional desires of the La Falce.

Spread across four floors, the house was renovated to accommodate a family of five—a couple and three children—and La Falce’s studio. Windows were added to the façade, pre-existing openings were enlarged, and an all-glass, first-floor terrace that fills the living room with light was constructed. Every architectural and design element that was added or tailored corresponds to the precise life of its inhabitants. Raw and unfinished materials such as concrete or rust-effect porcelain stoneware, aged iron elements, copper, plaster, Cadore white parquet, unfinished wood panels, and masonry elements finished by hand confer an organic yet refined look.

On the basement level, which overlooks a small garden, livable rooms were created, including an area for guests, the studio, and the garage. On the ground floor, you’ll find the living room and the kitchen, illuminated by large bow windows and fully clad in sheet iron and back-painted glass brushwork to match the walls. The island top is composed of plastic stucco with transparent resin protection. The living room is outfitted with vintage leather upholstery and artworks, from an octagonal dining table by sculptor Urano Palma to an oil painting by La Falce and sculptures by her and by Maja Thommen.

On the second floor, the main bedroom area has a bed made of ad hoc masonry with niches and finished with edges painted by hand. La Falce designed the cabinets with irregular wooden handles finished in stucco and decorated herself. Even the bathroom sinks are their own works of art, built on site with oxide-colored and water-repellent-treated cement, with a base cabinet of iron and wood. The staircase that stitches together all four levels is clad in treated rusted sheet iron, beveled to create a contrast with the angularity of the structure. An area dedicated to the three children was carved out of the attic, where pop accents define the space.

Every detail here connects to the life and passions of La Falce who, once her children grew up, reclaimed some spaces for herself to set up her creative workshop. It’s a sculpture-like house made to measure; a house that manifests a temporal, disciplinary, and vital interconnection between different names and worlds of design. And it’s also, simply, full of magical inspiration.

This Milan home tour was first published by AD Italy. The article was translated by Kate Appleton.