The new fashion is for fantastical mirrored interiors
To conjure up a sense of light and space in an interior, a reflective surface is one of the oldest and best design tricks. Now, however, we’re seeing a trend for mirrors being used in even more elaborate ways. It’s the age of the grand illusion.
Take this Venetian penthouse, which architect Alberto Nespoli of Eligo Studio has updated with a giant, suspended, pivoting mirror, made by furniture manufacturer Arredo91. Installed in the entrance hall, it bounces light around the whole interior.
The brief from the owners of this grand third-floor apartment in a 16th-century building in Sestriere di Cannaregio was to ‘maximise the features of the original architecture by bringing the views of the Grande Canal into the apartment,’ says Alberto. ‘They wanted to create a contemporary space without ever interrupting the connection with its wonderful surroundings.’ Alberto began by thinking about where to place the family’s rich collection of Murano glass vases – finding the ideal spots to refract the light that shines in through the large windows. He then cleverly installed reflective steel cabinets in the living room and bedroom, and, of course, the large, round mirror. As it’s able to rotate, this centrepiece can be redirected as the sun moves, catching glints from the vases and the glass top of the ‘Pontaccio’ dining table, part of the ‘Milano’ collection by Eligo Studio. The result is a feeling of harmony with the outside, or as Alberto puts it: ‘ You immediately feel absorbed in an ancient Venetian court’. It’s all that beautiful dancing light, the interior shimmering along with the city. eligostudio.it
THE GRAND ILLUSION
This huge, pivoting mirror twists on its switches and sockets – which were produced by PLH Italia – allowing light to be directed into any room in the apartment. The walls surrounding it are covered in Venetian plaster, and the round ‘Human Circle Inferno’ carpet beneath it was designed by Veneziano and Di Virgilio for Nodus.
MAKE LIGHT WORK
As this apartment features irregular ceilings and corners, it made sense to create a lighting system for each individual area, rather than one for the whole space. Recessed spotlights and floor lamps mean that light continues to dart playfully around the apartment long after the sun has disappeared. The wall and ceiling lamps are by bespoke lighting designers PSLAB. Stockist details on p167
The kitchen is situated in an awkward nook that lacks light. However, with help from the pivoting mirror at the entrance to this space, the cabinets and worksurface in Venetian red – a dark scarlet – develop a warm glow. Harvey Jones can build bespoke units. Stockist details on p167
The dominant shades in the penthouse are inspired by the colourful façades of the city’s buildings, helping to create a bond between the worlds outside and in. Venetian red is used on some of the walls and built-in cupboards, with a soft yellow on the entrance to the bedroom contrasted by dark green, off-white and beige.
Keeping the original wooden beams (opposite) exposed brings an element of homely warmth and character to this jewellery box-like abode, bridging the gap between the traditional and the contemporary. Running along the arched ceiling, they highlight and make a charming feature of the potentially tricky sloping roof.
The suspended cabinets and the coffee table (overleaf ), designed by Eligo Studio and made by Arredo91, have a mirrored finish which further adds to the abundance of daylight in this home. The armchairs and sofas were also designed by Eligo Studio and produced by Milan-based firm ivigna using Kvadrat fabric. Eligo Studio also created the ‘Leggerissima’ dining chairs ( left and overleaf ) Stockist details on p167
THE USE OF VENETIAN RED IN THIS APARTMENT CREATES A CONNECTION BETWEEN THE INTERIOR AND THE CITY OUTSIDE