Right in the heart of Rome, a bright and airy loft-style apart­ment is both home and stu­dio to top Ital­ian de­sign firm Laz­zarini Pick­er­ing.

VOGUE Living Australia - - Art & Design -

syd­ney-raised Carl Pick­er­ing and Rome na­tive Clau­dio Laz­zarini, part­ners in work and life, launched their ar­chi­tec­tural and de­sign prac­tice Laz­zarini Pick­er­ing in 1982. Based in Rome, with a sec­ond prac­tice re­cently opened in Mi­lan, the duo are be­hind projects that range from Fendi bou­tiques in Rome, Lon­don and Paris to vil­las in Eng­land, Scot­land and the Amalfi Coast. In Australia, they are best known for de­sign­ing Bondi’s iconic Ice­bergs Din­ing Room and Bar. Here, Pick­er­ing talks about their charm­ing, loft-like 19th-cen­tury apart­ment in Rome, where they live and work. It’s rare to be able to live in a re­gen­er­ated in­dus­trial sec­tor so close to the his­tor­i­cal heart of a city like Rome. We’re in Traste­vere, a for­mer me­dieval work­ing-class neigh­bour­hood, in what used to be a 19th-cen­tury soap fac­tory, now di­vided in half, with our loft-style apart­ment on one side, the of­fice on the other. It’s known as a casa e bot­tega — akin to an ar­ti­san liv­ing above the shop — and thank­fully, all we had to do was clean it up and paint it white. Find­ing it was a gift from my mother, guided from above.

When my mother came to stay with us for a few months ev­ery year, she’d say, “You both work too hard — you need to get an apart­ment with a ter­race, you need a bar­be­cue and a herb gar­den,

and you need a dog.” The only thing we’re miss­ing now is the dog. She died the year be­fore we found this space, so I re­ally do think this came to us through her. The Amer­i­can artist Cy Twombly once lived next door.

It’s an area where a num­ber of fa­mous Amer­i­can artists lived in the 1960s and ’70s. You can see the in­tri­cately pat­terned tiled ter­race Cy Twombly cre­ated from my of­fice win­dow — the del­i­cate and com­pli­cated way the lines don’t quite meet up per­fectly and then dis­ap­pear off at un­ex­pected an­gles is quite beau­ti­ful. Our art col­lec­tion com­prises mainly young Ital­ian artists.

Well, some are quite old now but they were young when we bought them. It’s a re­ally quirky col­lec­tion, not about names but about works, which can talk to one an­other. We’re drawn to artists such as Emanuele Becheri, Paolo Canevari (Ma­rina Abramović’s for­mer hus­band) and Lu­cio Pozzi. There are some Aus­tralians, too, like Paul Fer­man, Louise Tuck­well and China de la Vega. Rear­rang­ing the art is al­ways fun.

We change them around be­cause we keep buy­ing things — some move to the of­fice, some go into stor­age. There’s some­thing ex­cit­ing that comes from mod­i­fy­ing the bal­ance of things — we like change; it’s the spirit of our work and life. ››

‹‹ We’re big fans of Ikea. In our hall­way is what we call our lit­tle tem­ple to Ikea — banks of min­i­mal­ist white stor­age, where our trick is to make them look like cus­tom pieces by tak­ing the fronts and putting them on the sides to look like cus­tom join­ery. We’ve even done whole apart­ments of Ikea for the kids of billionaire clients. All the order is thanks to Clau­dio — it’s not part of my DNA.

It’s why I’ve been rel­e­gated to the lit­tle room at the top of the of­fice — they can just close the door on my mess! For the book­shelves (Ikea once again), Clau­dio has di­vided our col­lec­tion of art and de­sign books, along with a large col­lec­tion of books in­her­ited from his father, first into themes and then into binder colours. Peo­ple think it’s an in­stal­la­tion by [Bri­tish artist] Rachel Whiteread! We’re dis­ci­plined about work­ing next door to where we live.

We find it di­lates time — we can quickly come home and stir the bolog­nese for 15 min­utes or on a Sun­day, we can go next door and work for three hours, with all our books laid out in front of us. We’ve had most of our fur­ni­ture for decades.

Clau­dio con­vinced his par­ents to buy the Mario Bellini Ca­ma­le­onda mo­du­lar sofa, an early C&B Italia de­sign (be­fore it be­came B&B Italia), in the mid-’60s — it’s been in all our houses, teamed with a Tiwi Is­lan­der fab­ric my par­ents gave Clau­dio for Christmas in 1985. It’s 32 years old and still looks pretty good. We’ve had the 22 classic Verner Pan­ton chairs for 15 years, which, when com­bined with four white Eames chairs, means we can do din­ners for 26. We love those chairs be­cause they’re stack­able, eas­ily cleaned and can be used out­doors. We also have a 12-piece col­lec­tion of archive cus­tom pieces in pro­duc­tion un­der Marta Sala Edi­tions — we’ve al­ways designed our own pieces be­cause clients don’t want the same sofa as 15,000 other peo­ple around the world. We love to en­ter­tain.

Last year, we had a din­ner for Gil­bert & Ge­orge, to co­in­cide with the pre­miere of the re­stored ver­sion of their 1981 film, The World of Gil­bert & Ge­orge, at the Rome Film Fes­ti­val. It was the most in­cred­i­ble thing watch­ing the cater­ers serve 100 peo­ple fresh tagli­atelle with ragù, all from our tiny kitchen. Some­times it’s easy to take for granted such a great space.

Ev­ery time we come back from a hol­i­day, we walk in and think, This isn’t too bad. Or even af­ter the most horrible day at work, when we re­ally hate each other, we step through the door that di­vides of­fice and home, and we’re in­stantly happy. VL Visit laz­zarinipick­er­ing.com

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