Saturday, April 17, 2021

When Minimalism Arrives in Ancient Rome

An understandable response is to spend more time at home, stockpile objects to give comfort. Possibly dedicated minimalists have also considered what, as of late, another throw or accent pillow can do for their location and mental state. But, while he is certainly not experiencing a pretty kind of spontaneity, Norbert Stumpf, executive design director of the Italian men’s label Briony, Has always put a great deal of time and care into their aesthetic choices, with results so accurate that feeling unavoidable. This is evident from their clothing collection, consisting of expertly tailored, handmade suits and isolated in luxurious wool and silks – and from a three-story, 3,200-square-foot townhouse in central Rome where the Austrian-born The 44-year-old designer lives with his wife, Daphne Currus, a ceramist, and his two daughters.

Before the family left Paris and began renting the house in 2019, its owners finished a multiyear renovation, updating the space with elements such as stainless steel beams, concrete and glass floors, and the upper On levels, floor-to-ceiling windows. This means that, while the bones of the house are quintessentially Roman – the foundations can be traced back as far as the 8th century BCE, and the remains of ancient walls, as well as a simple white tile mosaic near the entrance on the ground floor, Still visible – it receives astonishing light for this quiet side street, which also has a medieval monastery. And so the new tenants had a bright and pleasingly clean shiny canvas, but one steeped in history. “It’s a beautiful blend of ancient Rome and very modern minimalism,” Stumpf says. It is also a combination intrinsically fully complemented by his approach, which is defined by emphasizing respect and materiality for both age-old processes and fresh, fragmented forms. As they say, “I only buy pieces that I want to live forever, and what we have is soft and timeless and about technology.”

From the street, an ivy-covered wall hides the stone facade of the building, which is partly painted in a golden yellow color. Guests pass through an iron gate and climb over a deep and narrow travertine marble stairwell, where they head into a 2,300-square-foot courtyard filled with wisteria, camellia and orange, lemon and strawberry trees and lead through the front door Huh. Beyond That There is a large open-plan space – atypical for traditional Italian homes, which is likely to have several smaller rooms and possibly a grand and gilded ballroom – including a kitchen, including a dome-shaped wood-burning brick There is an oven and an exposed antique wall whose shelves are lined with Karra’s porcelain (earth-toned bowls and vases with high-gloss finishes) – and the dining area. There, an oval wooden table is surrounded by six leather and chrome vintage butterfly chairs by 20th-century Danish architect Arne Jacobsen that Stumpfel found in Brussels. (“I travel quite a bit to buy pieces I really love,” he says.) Beneath them are hidden and naturally dyed Moroccan carpeted glass floor panels that offer a bird’s eye View of the cellar. “Where my wife keeps her utensil studio, so you can just pick up the carpet and say hello,” says Stumpfle. The house’s wooden coffered ceiling beam, which was installed a century ago when the building belonged to a family of woodworkers, whose shop was on the ground floor, also offered a little easement.

There are two living rooms atop a flight of curved concrete stairs, one featuring a pair of modern white linen ghost sofas by the Italian design site GarvasoniA streamlined 1950s wooden sideboard by French designer Gérard Gormonporz, which opens and closes with a push of a discrete button, and a beehive-like white table lamp made in 1955 from a superimposed metal disc by Finnish designer Ilmari Tapiara. , Stumpf says, is “to sit in”, while others, with wooden shelves stacked with books of art and architecture and black office binders filled with magazine clippings, plus a pair of chairs and two blankets, “To be in”. “

However, both are adorned with art, including a silver-plated sculpture by Fritz Nagel that sits on top of one Marcel Breyer Wood-and-Steel Laccio Table, 1966 Limited-Mathograph of Magnolia by Ellsworth Kelly, A black ceramic statue by Antoine Taro and 2011 photos of Rinko KawachiLight“Series. The family spends a lot of time at the vintage metal and glass coffee table of the 70s.” Subsistence The living room, whether they are studying or playing with clay knickknacks made by Danae, 10, and Thea, 7, although the girls have a full run of the house. In the sitting room, there is a piece which, at first glance, resembles a delicate abstract sculpture; In fact, it is a tangle, an American children’s toy to bend and stretch into any shape imaginable. “This is a family home for the first time,” Stumpf says.

Other pronunciations exist in the form of plants, five From which to the rear of the seating room, which has a glass ceiling and a spiral steel-and-glass staircase leading to the three bedrooms at the top level. In the afternoon light, the ladder becomes a prism and the rainbow fills the space. “We consider it a type of greenhouse,” says Stumpf, who finds his Ficus Tree and night-blooming Ceres, which produces tiny white flowers that last for a day and one night before each fall , To calm down. There is also a paradise, or bird of paradise, with its black beak-like blossom, which sits atop a rectangular pedestal and is within a terra-cotta pot that resembles a pile of pebbles made by the artist. Francesco del Rey, Which is based outside Florence. “Instead of a red tone, he is using gray-colored earth, and while the handmade process is traditional, the shapes are modern,” Bumpfl says. “It is sophisticated but humane at the same time.”

He could easily talk about his work at Brioni, which was founded in 1945 and where, since assuming his current role in the fall of 2018, following signs from Berluti, Louis Vuitton and Lavigne, Stumpflem Timeless luxury balanced with contemporary flourishing. , Lightly woven and washed silk shirts, durable denim pieces, soft cashmere sweaters and wool suits and jackets, some of which are cut from fabric spun with electromagnetic wave technology, yet sewn down from the button holes. Are given. “Everything must be in construction, but it must be hidden away. I do not want the Brioni man to be overpowered by design, ”he says. Stumpfl’s daily uniform consists of a navy fleece Brioni trouser and a t-shirt or knitted top – no shoes, at least when he is working from home, whether from one of his many books in the living room, or Courtyard taking video call with fruit trees. (“This is the only place I can find a good relationship,” he says with a laugh.) He feels relaxed in space and in his adopted city. Despite the difficulties brought by the epidemic, he says, the people there remain open and warm. The food is fresh and simple, and the street style is fast but relaxed. “The Italians call it ‘Sprezetura,” he says, noting the way the shirt is tossed, rolled or discarded – with a studious contingency that he has embraced since his arrival. “To me, this is a reminder that imperfections are human; life is the most important.”

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