Nelcya Chamszadeh and Fabrizio Cantoni met when they were studying hospitality management at the Ecole Hôtelière in Lausanne, Switzerland. Careers in the hotel industry followed, but then the couple decided it was time for a change.
It was while living in Strasbourg, where Nelcya’s father owned a traditional Persian carpet shop, that the idea for CC-Tapis began to take shape. Established in 2001, the company, now based in Milan, is renowned for its contemporary and colourful take on rugs.
Perhaps the signature flair of their designs is a result of their diverse backgrounds: Fabrizio is English on his mother’s side and Italian on his father’s, while Nelcya has an Iranian father and French mother.
Or maybe it’s their wide-ranging passions, which run the gamut from architecture to fashion, taking in classical elements and rock ’n’ roll exuberance. Either way, that same freedom of expression is on display in their home.
The apartment, just a short walk from the CC-Tapis head office on Milan’s Piazza Santo Stefano, is situated in a newly renovated historic building. ‘It was originally the site manager’s office and the last one to be sold,’ recalls Nelcya. ‘In our opinion, it had taken time to sell because of its long and narrow shape.’
What other buyers had seen as a negative, Nelcya and Fabrizio turned to their advantage. The slender corridor that welcomes guests into this home has been turned into a concentrated representation of Fabrizio’s imagination. Posters, photos and objects collected over time are displayed in a psychedelic mélange, and feature everyone from David Bowie and Jeff Koons to Queen Elizabeth II and The Muppets.
‘Colours represent us and we love them in all their combinations,’ says Fabrizio, but, away from the artworks, this apartment is an unexpectedly blank canvas. Architecture and interior design company Studio MILO, tasked with making the most of the property’s unique dimensions, decided on a gallery-like look: white walls, floors and ceilings.
The minimalistic backdrop is only broken, rather dramatically, in the kitchen, where pink onyx – a tribute to Nelcya’s favourite colour – makes a big impression. Throughout the living areas, which run one into the other in this open-plan space, the decision to keep things simple ensures the attention remains firmly on the art and, of course, the rugs.
The piece that represents the heart of this home, though, is the hand-knotted, late-19th-century Persian tapestry that hangs in the living room. A gift from Nelcya’s grandfather to her parents, it has now been passed on to her. ‘He was a very unique person,’ she says, ‘and this tapestry is a beautiful memory that never ceases to move me.’
Fabrizio would like to enhance its beauty, perhaps by adding some lighting, but he is yet to convince her. After all, for this couple, important decisions are always made together. ‘Normally,’ Nelcya explains, ‘Fabrizio makes extensive selections, from which extreme proposals can sometimes emerge. Afterwards, we come together to reduce that down to a shortlist and find a common conclusion.’ It’s a collaborative process that has served them well, at work and at home. cc-tapis.com; studio-milo.com
This article first appeared in ELLE Decoration December 2020
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