‘I’m drawn to the beautiful combination of dusty and shiny,’ explains designer Gualtiero Sacchi, looking around his apartment in Reggio Emilia, Northern Italy. Part of the building it’s in dates back to 700 AD– the façade was added around 1800, while the flooring is a 20th-century addition. The result is a charming mix of period features and modern design.
‘I love the differences between all of these eras, and I wanted to emphasise that by placing the gleam of brass against ageing wood, the shine of a Piet Hein Eek galvanised “Zinc” table next to the patina of antique metal shelves,’ says Gualtiero.
Having designed showrooms for fashion brand Max Mara and products for companies such as Ligne Roset, lighting experts Viabizzuno and ceramics specialist Bosa Ceramiche, Gualtiero was used to working with a range of styles. ‘I liked the idea of celebrating original and historic elements, like coving and panels,’ he says of his thinking when decorating the three-bedroom apartment he shares with his wife and daughter.
The decor swings smoothly between patterns – a graphic 1920s stencil print in the living room and a study filled with damask – with the plain, white corridor maintaining a sense of calm. The neutral spaces, he finds, are ‘the best places to exhibit artworks and collectables,’ while the rooms with traditional features allow modern furniture to pop. ‘I didn’t want to give into the temptation to brighten these rooms with ceiling lights,’ says Gualtiero. ‘By leaving them dark, the furniture almost glows, and you get more of a feeling of what the building would have been like when it was first created.’
This home is a place of contrasts, but one held together by its focus on Italian designs – both old and new. It creates a blend that is more characterful than the plain shell of a modern apartment, less traditional than a classic restoration. As Gualtiero says, ‘it can feel like being in two worlds at once’. gualtierosacchi.it
For the full house tour see ELLE Decoration April 2018
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