I remember seeing the photos of 'La Casa delle Scatole' -Box House- somewhere and contacting Alesandro Capellaro, one of the founders of 'b-arch' studio together with Sabrina Bignami. Curious about the person behind the house, now there I was, standing in front of the Duomo of Prato, waiting to meet Alessandro. I would have never guessed that he would be this welcoming and genuine.. After a coffee in Prato, dinner in his house in Florance and meeting for the shooting, I knew that he was a passionate man. He likes the colour orange, being with friends, enjoying few solitary moments doing nothing, cooking, travelling, listening to music, discovering new things and much more. As an architect his biggest sources are streets, "garbage" and the internet, which is becoming the best marketplace for him as the time goes by.. An ex carpentry workshop, now full of 300vintage voting boxes he bought in an auction, his house is truly original.
When I asked him what he likes to buy, especially from flea markets, he told me; memories, 60's design and orange objects. It was when I realized how much orange he used in the house. Even though I don't like the color, It didn't bother me at all.
After purchasing the space, he destroyed most of the walls and created a
space separated with wooden boxes. He wanted to have the possibility
to move any item and recreate the space anytime he wants. Also as an
architect one of his principles when he is designing a contemporary
space is to create a space which is moveable or convertible.
The night before the shooting, we were invited to a dinner cooked by him where all the food was brought from their local places. Spaghetti alla chitarra with 'bottarga' from Orbetello Lake, Prosciutto di Cormons del sig D' Osvaldo and many other things that made the dinner exceptional. Then we moved by the fireplace, where continued our conversation about food. He told us about their trip with Sabrina to Puglia, Valle d'Itria, Locorotondo e Martinafranca where they found the very best restaurant of the year, 'L'Antica Locanda di Noci'. I left with many other stories which made me wanna take a road trip and drive around the country discovering all the places I've never been to as soon as possible.
Palazzo Orlandi is a late-18th century home built by an Italian bourgeois family who were Tuscan textile entrepreneurs. When Sabrina Bignami purchased this home, after being unoccupied for twenty years, she started the restoration period which lasted about 3 years. She is an architect who has specialized in restoration and the founder of the b-arch studio.
Old mirror is a nice and simple idea to protect the walls from the fire.
Vintage Orange Juicer
These unusual Neapolitan coffee pots 'Caffettiera Napoletana' are not very common anymore in Italian households like it used to be in the fifties. Unlike the moka pot that I use in my home, this is slower and more complicated--if you don’t fit the four components together correctly, and turn upside down after the water starts boiling you won’t have any coffee. However as it always is in Italian lifestyle, the slower the better..
I personally love old architecture and with interior design I love mixing old and new furniture. Sabrina, while maintaining the old architecture and restoring--not remaking--it, also followed her desire of introducing contemporary elements. Any piece can be removed, placed again, rethought without distorting the ancient abode that holds the evidence of being lived in through the ages.
This dinnerware set for 49 people was found in the house, left from the family like other objects as well as fabric samples. The family had a wool mill in Prato.
The bath tub between two rooms
All the frescoes with pastoral landscapes, religious and mythological themes, were applied between 1790 to 1815 to this palazzo by Tuscan fresco painter Luigi Catani, a famous painter who also worked for the grand duke of Tuscany both at Palazzo Pitti in Florance and in various Medici villas. They were restorated and other components such as floor, windows, and doors were saved. Partially missing components were left as they were, and are accepted as the consequence of the aging process.
Through secret small doors you can access small bathrooms.
In this book called 'Take Care of Yourself' - Sabrina's favorite- French artist Sophie Calle presents 107 outside interpretations of a "breakup" e-mail she received from her lover the day he ended their affair. Published in 2007 for the Venice Biennale, all the women interpreters were asked to analyze this letter according to their professions. A psychoanalyst studies her ex boyfriend's psychology, a mediator tries to find a path towards reconciliation, a proofreader provides a literal edit of the text, etc.
Casa Orlandi has high ceilings and an unusual U-shaped layout, almost all the rooms opening to a central courtyard terrace. Now the terrace is an outdoor dining-room with a table from an old textile factory and Panton chairs.