In the manner of Gio Ponti. A home in Miami as a tribute by the designer-client to the master of Milanese modernity (1897-1979), first of all, and to Italian design in the 1950s and 1960s.
“Those are my great passions,” says Luca Andrisani, born in 1973 in Italy (Matera), who took an architecture degree in Rome and then gained experience in the studio of Herzog & de Meuron in Basel, after which he moved to New York eleven years ago, to work with Peter Marino, and opened his own practice. His third passion is Miami, its blue sky and year-round sunshine: a buen retiro, which thanks to low-cost flights can be visited at least once a month.
“It has become a culturally stimulating place, especially in recent years, no longer just South Beach but also Art Basel, the contemporary art fair, together with Design Miami, the international design forum, where you meet collectors, curators, designers and critics from all over the world,” he explains.
Without constraints, in the apartment of 100 sq meters, with a 20-meter terrace for a view of the ocean, in white with blue majolica tiles, Andrisani has drawn on all his sources of inspiration, putting great care into the details, to create a truly Mediterranean home, incorporating colors and the tones of the landscape. And, above all, a decor spirit in tune with the pure, essential lines of MiMo (Miami Modern), thriving on the tension between modernity and classicism, the matrices of his Italian background.
“I had to come to terms,” he says, “with a rigid layout: two bedrooms closed on all sides, and a small living area at the center; obligatory volumes, though they are inside Oceanside Plaza, a building from 1967 (on Millionaire’s Row), designed by Morris Lapidus in his well-known theatrical style with curved lines and rounded forms, epitomized by the Fontainebleau Hotel and, here, by the spaces of the lobby.”
After the renovation, the place had completely changed: maximum openness, walls that border spaces without enclosing them, in pursuit of constant dialogue with the facade of large windows facing the sea.
An apartment for fluid, flexible use, thanks to two large sliding doors that replace the existing partitions, creating a sort of white boiserie that unifies and adds rhythm to the compositional layout: on one side, the bedroom and a studio zone; at the center the hinge of the living-dining area, in direct communication with the entrance, with a kitchen zone to the side; and then the master suite, with its own bathroom.
The materic-chromatic choices convey the narrative efficacy of the two-tone spaces that remind us of Ponti (and specifically the Hotel Parco dei Principi in Sorrento, built in 1964), reinterpreted with a pattern in white, light blue and dark blue, in the textile covers of the furniture, the drapes, the objects; and above all in the floor, the leitmotif that visually connects all the spaces and the terrace, in a unified residential dimension aimed at achieving indoor-outdoor fusion.
Andrisani has selected hand-painted ceramic bricks, with a decorative design by Gio Ponti, produced by the Italian company La Riggiola, which in the master bath also become a backdrop for the consoles of the washstands: graphic-abstract geometries that give rise to op-effect ‘carpets’ and vibrant, mutable surfaces, in relation to phenomena of light and shadow.
Ponti commented on his work on the Amalfi coast as follows: “I always think about the infinite possibilities of art: give someone a square, 20 x 20, and though people have tried everything over the centuries, with infinite designs, there is always room for a new design, your design. The last design will never happen…”
The ‘design’ of Andrisani grasps this programmatic synthesis of art, design and architecture. In his own way, of course. His very personal repertoire of classic and modern figures includes vintage furnishings and objects from the 1950s and 1960s, purchased at auctions; a few, light furnishings, armchairs and sofas, “lacking certification, but as an amateur antiquarian I would say they are by Gio Ponti.
In any case, they are definitely from that period, not remade today,” a cabinet by Osvaldo Borsani, accessories by Piero Fornasetti, glasses by Carlo Moretti, mirrors with frames from Murano, appliques and lamps by Barovier&Toso, Venini, Arteluce, ceramics from Caltagirone… all presences that speak of a love of materials, craftsmanship, but also industry.
Near the lithograph by Cleon Peterson, standing out on one wall of the dining area, which documents the temporal dimension of the street art of Miami 2.0, these furnishings narrate epochs, historical moments and places, which under the same roof can breathe in the same playful, relaxing atmosphere.
photos by Emilio Collavino – text by Antonella Boisi