Photos Francesco Bolis
Text Antonella Boisi
After having traveled extensively for work, from England to Brazil, the United States to Asia and Argentina, spending many years abroad, Stefano Core, from Abruzzo, after a career as a leading manager for important international corporations, presently an entrepreneur with ItalianCreationGroup (the industrial holding company founded with Giovanni Perissinotto), has found his own island, in a loft of 400 m2 on two levels in Milan.
In a zone with a noble industrial past, recently renovated and converted for a mixture of different functions. His refuge for about one year now, together with his wife Lucia (previously a product manager, now working with DriadeKosmo) and a growing family “We found it like this, when we entered, a recently completed restructuring, just four years old. Perfect. Reflecting almost maniacal attention to detail, with the dramatic impact of a loft, but also the livability of a luxurious home in terms of privacy and spatial layout, the right balance between situations of hospitality that can be reconfigured, letting us make full use of the whole house.” Above, four bedroom-suites with their own bathrooms, a salle de bain-spa with Turkish bath and sauna, featuring natural materials, a studio and fitness area, and an unexpected roof garden. Below, a very large living area with flexible layout, combining more formal, image areas with more convivial and intimate zones, in a fluid spatial construction underscored by the uniform wenge flooring with rounded boards. Very advanced heating and air conditioning systems keep the air constantly fresh. The architecture is also appealing in its pure state – seven-meter ceilings, a recessed slab with a steel structural beam – with precise design strong points – the central staircase in Cor-ten, the fireplace, the typical Milanese balcony promenade on the glass walkway. Above all, one perceives a strong, effective spatial integration between the kitchen-dining-living-home theater zones, with dynamic 360° views. “We haven’t changed a thing,” Core continues. “We have just inserted, in a metropolitan loft, a grand piano, which I played as a child and then forgot how to play due to my nomadic existence, a painting from the 1700s, and a screen in four parts, a work by Parisi from 1928 brought from Argentina, along with furnishings by Driade, Bohemian vases and crystal, a chaise longue by Herman Miller, a Hästens bed, fitness machines. And we have emphasized the importance of a kitchen that is also ‘industrial’ in its materials, where we can enjoy the hobby of making thematic meals,” the man who has been the CEO of Driade for one year now explains, with the pragmatic spirit of a business plan and a sense of aesthetics inherited from his mother. “Of course, this is a house with an eclectic spirit, which can absorb stimuli and references from different cultures, places and passions. It has the DNA of the brand I fell in love with back when I had not yet decided to acquire control of excellent Italian small-medium companies in the field of design, lifestyle and high-range manufacturing, with the mission of combining our managerial skills with a typically Italian way of understanding product and bringing out its potential on a global market. Year ago I often went with Lucia to Miami, at the Delano, and we had breakfast seated on the Lord Yo, amidst the Neoz white divans, in a rather colonial atmosphere designed by Starck, wreathed in the salty sea breeze. It was in this phase of my life that I developed my philosophy: to bring exclusive value and beauty back into everyday gestures, not linking myself to a single style, but to a project. I believe beauty is a viewpoint, while creating beauty is an art. For me, beauty is everything that embodies uniqueness, creativity, innovation. Products that are well made, of quality, timeless. That have a story behind them, the energy of an entrepreneur, tradition and vision. This is why when I chose a pianoforte, it could only be the best in the world, a Fazioli; they only make about 200 every year, with the same wood from Val di Fiemme that went into the violins of Stradivari. So when the opportunity arose to meet Enrico and Elisa Astori, I didn’t hesitate. I told them my story and my hopes, and we immediately felt in tune. What is the essence of Italian creativity that is worth defending? It is the capacity to combine with craftsmanship and manufacturing, at very high levels of quality. Driade, through the figure of Enrico Astori, has developed experimental research of great cultural depth on the theme of habitation. It has made timeless projects, products that differ in terms of style and geography, joyful but always with a great sense of elegance. Driade’s idea of the house as an aesthetic laboratory came form a passion for travel and talent scouting, in the sense of the encounter between sensibilities, cultures, abilities. ItalianCreation- Group wants to keep these founding values of the brand from being scattered. Driade is a presence in 82 countries. But we have to come to grips with a globalized world, in terms of information and culture, facing up to one big mistake of Italian businessmen: excessive decentralization of production, first into the Eastern European countries, then in Asia, transferring know-how that took a long time to develop. They are now paying the price of this competitive advantage, also due to the fact that the international market has too long been viewed as incidental by small-medium businesses. The formula to maintain leadership and make a concrete rebound? It can be summed up in a slogan: less delocalization, more internationalization. In other words, to relocate production in Italy and, with the indispensable support of government policies, which are lacking today, to favor incentives for investment and research. But we also need to focus on global markets, internationalizing brands and reinforcing their impact. We can look to the French, who are very good at combining savoir faire and communication, and at forming alliances and systems. We need to make the value and pride of excellence understood, and that the premium price of Made in Italy is more important than the brand. Milan still plays a leading role in international design culture. It is an unrivaled gravitational pole with the Salone and the Fuorisalone, though the latter should be guided with greater rigor, avoiding misleading mixtures that impact the overall perception of quality. At the same time, it is necessary to create products that are increasingly appealing, also in terms of aspirations, for cosmopolitan consumers. In this sense, we are sharing all the power ItalianCreation- Group has in the area of international distribution. With a network and platforms that can then be used by the individual companies to promote their products and to guarantee capillary penetration of the brand on the worldwide market.” A project in real time, but also for the long term. Like a quality home.