Rocks illuminated by the sun, the colours of earth, the textures of wood and the play of shadows… These were the inspirations interior designer Hannes Peer looked to when creating this Milanese home.
It was an ideal starting point for owners Roberto Ortello, managing director of fashion brand No.21, his wife Natalia, a model and entrepreneur, and their two children, who all share a love of the mountains and the outdoors.
‘We wanted to evoke the spirit of a luxury chalet, where timber dominates,’ explains Hannes, who hoped to bring back memories of the forests in Latvia, where Natalia grew up. ‘Naturally, in a more urban way,’ he adds.
To balance the cosmopolitan and the rustic, he looked to architects Frank Lloyd Wright and Ray Kappe, whose work artfully bridges the natural and built worlds. Key to Hannes’ own distinctly modern take was a carefully considered palette of materials.
Vertical slats of stained poplar wood add tonal warmth and a cocooning feel to the walls, emphasised by the matt texture of terracotta bricks and raw cement resin. The combination lends the light in this space an inviting and enveloping glow.
Nowhere is that more apparent than in the kitchen. Clad in polished brass, it glints at the very centre of this sociable home. For Roberto, a proud Neapolitan, this space is ‘where the most meaningful moments are spent; where the family is formed and made stronger’.
He’s not the only one who is at home in the kitchen, though. Natalia is a trained sommelier and also recently set up a new business, Signor Lievito (or Mr Yeast), which she describes as a mini laboratory for sourdough. Both believe the kitchen is the heart of any home and, jokes Roberto, their apartment has a ‘heart of gold’.
This continual play between high-shine and muted texture is also a theme when it came to the choice of furniture. Many of the pieces, including the impressive ‘Paysage’ chandelier, a collaboration with 6:AM Glassworks, and the ‘Butterfly’ dining table created for SEM, with its glossy porcelain-effect finish, are by Hannes. They are mixed with classic contemporary and vintage designs.
Hannes is known for referencing the history of buildings in his interiors but, unlike his previous projects, this 200-square-metre home offered him no original features. It’s an art deco property, but all of those decorative elements had been erased during an extreme renovation in the 1980s. It’s a shame, but it also offered him an experience he describes as like ‘painting on a blank canvas’.
It’s a freedom he has grasped with both hands. This is a new kind of interior for the designer: more calm, more subtle, with an almost meditative quality. hannespeer.com