INTERNI. The Magazine of Interiors and Contemporary Design

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Donna Carmela Resort
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Donna Carmela Resort

A patrician villa from 1870 and eight brand new natural lodges, entirely eco & design, coexist inside the very large Piante Faro nursery
Data Pubblicazione: 14 July 2017

The debut – in 2009 – was as a boutique hotel, created in a 19th-century building with an annex. But in 2015 Donna Carmela (www.donnacarmela.com) at Carruba di Riposto (Catania), in the shadow of Etna and surrounded by 10,000 square meters of Mediterranean and subtropical vegetation of Piante Faro (palms, agave, blossoming orange, ficus, cistus, opuntia, ornamental citrus, age-old olive trees, and much more), has launched eight new natural lodges.

Designed by the studio Balla|Calvagna (with certified XLAM wood panels, raw clay ceilings with inserts of hemp, leaves and volcanic sand, cement and plaster), the lodges – secluded with respect to the main building – are immersed in a Mediterranean ‘jungle,’ and are ecocompatible thanks to the use of solar panels, natural insulation and ventilated flat roofs.

The contemporary furnishings coexist with the lush natural setting, eliminating indoor-outdoor boundaries and putting the inhabitants in tune with the landscape.

In practice, these are bungalow blocks of 45 m2, independent units with private gardens of 25 m2 and terraces of 15, including four with salt-water mini-pools, two with a view of Mt. Etna (sleeping four persons), while six offer sea views (for three persons each).

Sicilian gourmet foods are offered at the restaurant La Cucina di Donna Carmela, accompanied by wines from the Pietradolce winery (Etna), still owned by the Faro family.

(Text by Olivia Cremascoli – Ph- Alfio Garozzo)

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In ‘cantina’: the island
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In ‘cantina’: the island

Manna is the restaurant designed by Gordon Guillaumier that brings the cellars of Palazzo Nicolaci in Noto (SR) a new life and a strong bond with the territory, in a successful mix of modern design and vintage pieces, iconic chandeliers, Caltagirone ceramics and volcanic stone
Data Pubblicazione: 13 July 2017

In these spartan spaces – a sequence of four rooms facing the street, marked by the rhythm of the vaults, thick walls and high ceilings in local limestone – Corrado Nicolaci, Prince of Villadorata, left the Belludia wines of his estate to ripen.

That was once upon a time, when he lived in the city on the upper floors, in the artistic splendor of Palazzo Nicolaci, a noble Baroque building designed by Rosario Gagliardi with his student Vincenzo Sinatra, from 1720 to 1765.

Times have changed, and in a private wing of this venerable estate Cristina Summa has created the renowned boutique hotel Seven Rooms, while for the cellars she called on Gordon Guillaumier, a designer based in Milan but born on the island of Malta, with a house in Noto as well.

The genesis of Manna is written: as the name implies, from biblical skies or the Madonie area where grapes are still grown and harvested, this is an agreeable restaurant, full of grace, elegance and culture.

“Three years have passed since the opening,” Guillaumier says. “The fluid approach has led to the composition of a soft, harmonious narrative. The place is flexible, dynamic, open to new episodes, like the recent outdoor dining area.

What the eyes see on the walls and in the surroundings corresponds to that cultural melting pot of north and south that is also found in the dishes prepared by the chef Gioacchino Brambilla from Bergamo, in charge of the restaurant together with Roberta Assolari and Manuela Alberti, created with seasonal local ingredients. And there’s more. At Manna,” he continues, “you can also find Lombard regional specialties alongside Sicilian recipes.”

Where the design is concerned, Guillaumier has tried to keep the intervention as light as possible, complying with the volumes and materials of the spaces, as well as the demands of the heritage authorities (no simple task).

Each of the four rooms has been personalized through the layout of the furnishings, tables and chairs, as well as the lights, all featuring iconic design objects. These elements determine the atmosphere in the various zones, also through colors and facing materials that play with contrast with the pale, natural tones of the enclosure.

“I liked the idea of combining the artisan aspect with the study of the decor,” Gordon emphasizes, “through choices connected with the territory. So I have used majolica tiles, earthenware glazed by hand in Caltagirone, monochrome for the bar counter, the wall behind it, the facings in the restrooms.

The tables have tops in glazed volcanic stone. The chairs are all different, with the shared trait of the black color that goes nicely with the blue of the collections of plates on the walls, found in flea markets, while the custom bookcases in iron by Antonino Sciortino, art works by Sergio Fiorentino and two large silkscreens on sheet metal for the doors of the restrooms, alias Adam and Eve, by Lucas Cranach, add a touch of humor to the project.”

There are pieces of retro taste, to bring a range of nuances to the interiors while avoiding the clichés of local crafts and decoration. “The luminous Saiga Soda sign in the entrance is a vintage object I found in Milan,” he concludes, “which might not fit in with the rest, but brings an amusing accent to the space.”

(Text by Antonella Boisi – Ph. Alberto Ferrero)

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I banchi: pane al pane
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I banchi: pane al pane

In the heart of Ragusa Ibla, Ciccio Sultano, a Sicilian celebrity with two stars, with Giuseppe Cannistrà, offers a place for social interaction where the first thing one notices is the aroma of bread and its accompaniments: scacce, tomasini and sfincioni, but also tempting baccalà with veal tripe...
Data Pubblicazione: 11 July 2017

Ciccio Sultano, who has two Michelin stars for his Duomo restaurant at Ragusa Ibla, opened I Banchi – Pane al Pane in 2015, together with sous-chef and partner Giuseppe Cannistrà, in the 18th-century Palazzo Di Quattro.

Restored by Fabrizio Foti, who has conserved the old stone feeding troughs and enlivened the spaces with works by local artists – first of all, Giovanni Robustelli – as well as a large slate bearing a musical staff with tiny objects, thoughts and snapshots in place of the notes of the score.

The place seats 70 guests, mingling with the others who drift from other tables (including that of the chef). Open from 8.30 to midnight, I Banchi, the counters divided into theme areas, are a cross between a putia (store) for bread, a pastry shop, cafe and grocer’s (with products of the Ciccio Sultano brand: from Ragusa pecorino to Piacentinu cheese from Enna, handmade pasta to traditional bread and tomato sauce), a trattoria (tasting menu or a la carte, also with takeaway treats) and wine cellar, a place for breakfast, lunch, snacks, aperitifs and dinners.

In short, for years Ciccio wanted to do “something casual and smart” with respect to the prize-winning Duomo, offering cuisine that would be “erudite, happy, proud, but not gourmet, not in vogue” (from maialino in porchetta to spaghetti with butter and anchovies), something that gravitates around “olive oil, salt and wheat,” just like life.

An amiable gathering place where artisans, artists and professionals can meet to eat and drink, think and invent.

(Olivia Cremascoli – ph. By Alberto Ferrero)

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Pondered Comfort
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Pondered Comfort

Mario Milana proposes a seat for physical and mental wellbeing during the FuoriSalone
Data Pubblicazione: 10 July 2017

To design the spirit. In the pragmatic sense of adapting the design of an object to a particular function, connected with a religious or meditative practice, like that of the ancient discipline of yoga.

An object whose meaning and function allude to the possibility not only of relaxing using ancient techniques, but also of getting connected, or reconnected, with a higher plane.

Ideal for exercises that ease tensions in the mind and the body, the chair designed and produced by Mario Milana, a versatile architect with offices in Milan and New York, concentrates on a particular asana, with a seat that can be shaped to ground the user, offering perfect physical and mental balance.

Of course the materials are the best ones nature can supply: khadi cotton, natural tulipwood, copper with its curative properties.

Milana, a student of Karim Rashid, after working in the latter’s New York studio for many years, focuses in his activity as a designer and architect on Osvaldo Borsani’s idea of application of mechanical technology to furnishings, tempered by a fundamentally artisanal approach that relies on the high quality and manual skill of the great Italian tradition, balancing rigorous basic geometry with the more organic and sensitive aspects of materials.

(Patrizia Catalano)

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