AD Germany ha notato il bellissimo articolo di Domus su Villa San Valerio e ha contattato l’architetto Gianluca Gelmini che ha portato Larissa Beham a vedere la villa.. Ecco, di seguito, la traduzione del testo tedesco.
AD Germany has read the beautiful article about Villa San Valerio of Domus , Mrs. Larissa Beham has called Mr. Gianluca Gelmini and has visited the villa at spring time… Here you can find the English version of the article that was written in German :
What do you mean modern?
With a few masterful moves the Milanese architect Luigi Caccia Domioni made a baroque summer-residence fit to be lived in – and thus continued writing its history in a particularly subtle way.
Luigi Caccia Domioni, who redesigned the baroque villa San Valerio with the eye of a modernist in 1957, is 102 years old today. But you can still meet the great italian architect in his office – at work of course. Like with many of his previous designs he succeeded at reconciling the whispers of the past with the present and his own ‘geometrophile’ visual language in this countryside-house at the northern edge of the town of Albiate in Lombardy. Also here he subordinated his measures to the demands of the people: the windy house was simply supposed to become more ‘liveable’. “He is a great pragmatist – something he got especially from his workers”, says Gianluca Gelmini, who has researched Dominionis interventions intensively – because the architect is overseeing the current renovation of the estate. >From a tower with a 360°-view one can see the yard where Wisteria-blossoms are dripping down the facade and emerald-green pines are stretching their tree tops into the air of an early summer. Up north you can see the alps, the top of Monte Rosa. And right here at the ridge a variety of chimneys are going for a walk. “They always remind me of miniature-Art-Nouveau-houses” says Giuseppe Caprotti , heir and owner of the house, with a smile. The official history of the building goes back to 1640: at that point the counts of the Airoldi family bought the old mansion, which was there at that time, including neighboring buildings and the land surrounding it. Until 1720 they transformed it into a gem of Lombard Baroque: in multiple phases a complex of more than 2000 m² with a wedge-shaped footprint developed, which fits the course of the historical streets. Then, 1893 – the northern italian line of the Airoldi family did not have any heirs – the Caprotti family bought the magnificent building and uses it until this day as a summer-residence. In the main hall, which penetrates the main house in its entire depth, one does not notice a lot of Dominioni yet. Two window-fronts allow one to look from the yard to the garden’s ground floor on the other side. A pompous chandelier hangs from the pan ceiling like a fully round peony-blossom. Here and in the representational rooms next door one hardly notices that Dominionis floors are not even from Baroque-times: The lithic plants, which creep through the ‘Terrazzo alla Veneziana’, rather suggest the opposite. On the ‘Piano nobile’ the interventions of the master become more evident and also more “pragmatic”. In order to elicit more quality of life from the giant rooms, he divided some of them into sequences of tri- to octagonal chambers. Objects, which could bother the lords and ladies, were hidden in walls hollowed out for that exact purpose. Also fifties-reinterpretations of the secret door were used – which would end up being copied by commercial producers soon after. He also included an entresol in the hallways. “The Mezzanin connects the rooms with each other and is also a passage to the servant’s quarters”, explains Gelmini. Up there you feel like moving through a medieval castle; in a time when people were smaller. All that although it is the youngest part of the building – it is clearly from the 1950s. The narrow and ‘edgy’ superstructure is in strong contrast to the spaciousness of the ‘Bel Etage’ – and yet it mirrors the typically Baroque enfilades on a smaller scale. But also Dominionis ceiling lamps are citing the serial: everywhere you see the ‘LS1’-model. Also the inventory of the bathrooms was designed by the co-founder of the legendarily elegant furniture company Azucena, which still produces and sells many of his designs to this day. Since Dominionis world of tunnels and closets receives daylight through the same window-fronts like the rest of the ‘Piano Nobile’, he had elliptical openings drilled into the internal partitions. “The inside windows are passages for light, which can thus also drizzle into remote chambers and hallways”, says an excited Gianluca Gelmini. In the park, however, Dominioni intervened in the exact opposite way: Not only did he build a pool and a greenhouse, he also had the wisteria planted in the yard and a trumpet vine blossoming in orange on the wall to the side of the main building. Where these are winding up their silver-grey trunk there used to be more windows. “He had them bricked up to gain some space”, knows Caprotti. By the way, the name “Villa San Valerio” is owed to the relics of a saint, which still slumber in a box in the domestic archive. The chapel, which is part of the manor, has become too moist for storage purposes. Today the villa has also deserved an other name: “San Caccia Dominioni”. Larissa Beham, AD Germany