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Elle Decor Italia

Renovation of Los Angeles property pays homage to Made in Italy vintage design

1950’s house undergoes major restyling by The Archers: an homage to Ico & Luisa Parisi and Gio Ponti

© Richard Petit, courtesy of the Archers

A Los Angeles property radiates some Como-inspired vibes: that’s the secret of a 1950’s hillside house in sun-drenched California echoing the work and myths of Ico and Luisa Parisi. US studio The Archers has indeed built the whole architectural response on 100% Made in Italy modern design, thus drawing its major inspiration from Casa Parisi – originally designed by the Lombard creative duo of the same name back in 1954 –, as well as the work of Gio Ponti, who had Luisa Parisi as his pupil at the Politecnico di Milano. 

@ Richard Petit, courtesy of the Archers

Ornamental motifs and graphic patterns are especially celebrative, as clearly shown by the abundant use of coloured mosaics, tiles and glazed sections scattered throughout the environments. Such compact, two-storey property bearing the name of Hill House V is truly eccentric: the restyling shook up significantly the preexisting structure, and the only original elements to survive are the burnished block central fireplace core along with the exposed steel beams and window frames. The majority of ceilings and flooring was clad in Western Red Cedar wood, with soffits made of American Black Walnut running along the house’s perimeter and unfolding onto multiple habitats as both a materic and architectural fil rouge aimed at providing visual continuity. 

@ Richard Petit, courtesy of the Archers

Inside this homogeneous and charming shell, designers have included rift-sawn White Oak monolithic volumes, lurid-coloured mosaics and glass tiles, and graphic wallpaper. The refined material palette is set to add a sophisticated allure, which is enriched with an all-Italian playful and intriguing touch. For instance, Go Ponti relives in the custom oyster-coloured triangular cement tile flooring in the breezy kitchen that successfully replaced a previously dark, low-ceiling room. Also, the butterfly roof now features a succession of skylights flooding the space with natural light.

@ Richard Petit, courtesy of the Archers

Hyper-modern devices and appliances specifically conceived to maximise comfort (see the media room) go hand in hand with a purposely nostalgic style: the vintage furniture selection comprises few design must-haves, like Ettore Sottsass and Marcello Fantoni’s vases and the “Time-Life” stool by Charles and Ray Eames, alongside a bunch of Scandinavian hints of retro taste.

@ Richard Petit, courtesy of the Archers

Although reflecting an actual love for design, the result is a far-cry from mere, impersonal ostentation. The house’s most intimate and familiar core pops out of the most unexpected details, such as a hand-painted millwork mural recovered from the former dwelling and embedded into sliding panels leading to the kids rooms. Lastly, a series of quirky, refurbished accessories – ranging from old lamps to cushions wrapped in leftover fabric scraps – artfully dot the space.

@ Richard Petit, courtesy of the Archers

Creativity and memory are the name of the game here, and create an ideal balance between the past and the most iconic Italian design without sacrificing the project’s innate spontaneity and warmth. 


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