This Ital­ian artist adds a per­sonal touch and plenty of green­ery to his two-storey in­dus­trial-style loft in Mi­lan

A Si­cil­ian-born artist brings mem­o­ries of his is­land home to life in a min­i­mal­ist in­dus­trial loft in Mi­lan

Inside Out (Australia) - - Contents - WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHY SERGE AN­TON

Be­fore the Tor­tona area of Mi­lan be­came known as the cre­ative hotspot it is to­day, artist An­tonino Sciortino (pic­tured above) saw its true po­ten­tial. “This was a rough neigh­bour­hood, but very in­ter­est­ing,” he says. “We were one of the first to buy a place here, and af­ter us came the big brands like Ar­mani.” Among the old in­dus­trial build­ings from the 1950s set on cob­bled streets, he found a loft he loved. “It was an old can­teen for fac­tory work­ers; the ground floor was used as the din­ing hall,” he says of the dou­ble-floor loft. “I fell in love with the court­yard; even though you’re in the mid­dle of the city, it has a quiet and re­laxed at­mos­phere.”

When it came to ren­o­vat­ing, An­tonino was clear about what he and his part­ner wanted. “We cre­ated in­ter­nal walls, but not too many, be­cause we liked the idea of an open space,” he says. “We wanted to cre­ate airy and con­nected rooms that were liv­able and flex­i­ble in their func­tions.” The last point is im­por­tant be­cause the home dou­bles as An­tonino’s work space, where he cre­ates metal sculp­tures and ob­jects. “My favourite spot in the house is the stu­dio, which is also a show­room, and is al­ways open to cus­tomers and cu­ri­ous peo­ple,” he says.

Set over two floors, the home is flooded with nat­u­ral light by the gen­er­ous win­dows, which also al­low a view of the gar­den court­yard, com­plete with an olive tree from An­tonino’s child­hood home in Si­cily. “I con­fess that af­ter lunch I of­ten curl up on the sofa and fall asleep look­ing at the gar­den. This al­lows me tran­quil­lity; a true treat in Mi­lan,” he says. An­tonino has also filled his in­te­rior with plants, from suc­cu­lents and agave to gi­ant cacti. “I love them and I take care of them care­fully: they re­mind me of my home­land,” he says. “Their scents and colours are the best and most au­then­tic sou­venirs of Si­cily.”

Pre­serv­ing the soul of the place – in­clud­ing its hard­work­ing past - was the goal from the very be­gin­ning. “We came up with our in­te­rior mood: a min­i­mal­ist Baroque style,” says An­tonino.

“This means modern fur­ni­ture and in­dus­trial ma­te­ri­als are paired with more dec­o­ra­tive and os­ten­ta­tious de­tails in the Si­cil­ian style.” The pol­ished con­crete floor, cho­sen for its easy main­te­nance, echoes the hard­work­ing his­tory of the build­ing. Vis­i­tors walk straight into the liv­ing room with the kitchen on the left and of­fice up­stairs. White-washed walls re­flect and en­hance the bright­ness that char­ac­terises the loft.

An open metal stair­case, which An­tonino de­signed him­self, leads to the bed­room and of­fice area, plus a bath­room cov­ered in deep-blue tiles that evoke the sea­side mood An­tonino misses from his is­land home. Through­out the space, fur­ni­ture de­signed and made by An­tonino, in­clud­ing the large sofa and daybed, is com­ple­mented by iconic de­signer pieces and large pot­ted plants and trees. “I had fun cre­at­ing a decor that is eclec­tic, just like me,” says An­tonino. Re­ally, the house is a show­case of his cre­ative tal­ent. “I love hav­ing the house full of sculp­tures,” he says. “I live here, but it also serves as my busi­ness ad­dress.” The fur­ni­ture and decor choices are min­i­mal but well con­sid­ered.

With a pro­fes­sional life in Mi­lan and a heart that misses the Mediter­ranean, An­tonino has cre­ated a home that works for both. “With its gen­er­ous di­men­sions and out­door gar­den, this place gives me the im­pres­sion of liv­ing in the coun­try­side while en­joy­ing the ben­e­fits of the city,” he says. Visit an­toninosciortino.com to see An­tonino’s work.

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