Empire state of mind

Rome’s an­cient ar­chi­tec­ture proved an ir­re­sistible draw for the owner of this city-cen­tre apart­ment

ELLE Decoration (UK) - - Contents -

Look­ing out over the crum­bling walls of the Im­pe­rial Fora, the pub­lic squares that were the beat­ing heart of the Ro­man Empire in Italy, is the home of Ste­fa­nia Aris­tei and her part­ner Daniele. A lawyer who has now turned her hand to de­sign, hos­pi­tal­ity and fash­ion, Ste­fa­nia has a deep af­fec­tion for the an­cient ochre-toned build­ings and nar­row, cob­bled lanes of Rome’s cen­tral Monti dis­trict. So much so that many years ago, she packed up her home in a quiet, res­i­den­tial area on the out­skirts of the city and moved to this bo­hemian neigh­bour­hood, with its com­mu­nity of young de­sign­ers, artists and crafts­peo­ple.

Ste­fa­nia’s large, shut­tered win­dows look out di­rectly onto the area’s an­cient churches and small gal­leries, and her apart­ment is blessed with ar­chi­tec­tural el­e­ments that match its im­pres­sive set­ting. The rooms – all con­nected by a spa­cious en­trance hall – boast im­pres­sively high ceil­ings, com­plete with wooden beams and orig­i­nal coloured ce­ment tiles. The kitchen and guest room are sit­u­ated on one side of the liv­ing room, with the main bed­room and a dress­ing room at the op­po­site end. His­tor­i­cal de­tails are cel­e­brated through­out, but the over­all ef­fect is one of modern el­e­gance.

‘I grew up in a large house fur­nished with an­tiques,’ re­mem­bers Ste­fa­nia. ‘At first, I thought that con­tem­po­rary fur­nish­ings would look too cold in a his­tor­i­cal 19th-cen­tury apart­ment like this.’ But, hav­ing com­mis­sioned lo­cal in­te­rior de­sign firm Dis­pens­abile Stu­dio, her eyes were opened to a very dif­fer­ent aes­thetic. The stu­dio’s part­ners, Ger­mana De Donno, Elena Cardilli and An­gela Sab­rina Stante, con­vinced Ste­fa­nia to dec­o­rate us­ing fur­ni­ture with a Nordic her­itage – pieces by Verner Pan­ton and Al­var Aalto, as well as more re­cent de­signs by Space Copen­hagen and Gam­fratesi. ‘I dis­cov­ered that the con­trast of eras and styles ac­tu­ally brings out the struc­ture of the build­ing without ob­scur­ing any of its ar­chi­tec­tural beauty,’ adds Ste­fa­nia.

‘My choice of de­signer fur­ni­ture comes from my de­sire to sur­round my­self with ob­jects that have a story,’ she ex­plains. ‘These pieces com­ple­ment the age of the apart­ment in a del­i­cate, re­fined and ref­er­enced way.’ In a sim­i­larly Scan­di­na­vian move, the colour scheme for the in­te­rior is largely white and soft tones of grey. ‘They are colours that I find re­lax­ing, and sug­gest bal­ance and har­mony,’ says Ste­fa­nia. ‘Liv­ing in such a bustling neigh­bour­hood, those are very im­por­tant qual­i­ties.’ dis­pens­abile.it

Liv­ing area The ‘Avant-après’ sofa is by Ser­gio Bicego for Saba Italia. A ‘Multi-lite’ pen­dant by Gubi hangs above a ‘Pe­dr­era’ cof­fee ta­ble by Barba Corsini, also Gubi. The por­trait on the wall is Axum by Thayaht, from Gal­le­ria Carlo Vir­gilio & C Stock­ist de­tails on p195

Liv­ing area ‘Swoon’ arm­chairs by Space Copen­hagen are paired with a ‘Pon’ side ta­ble by Jasper Mor­ri­son, both for Fred­eri­cia Por­trait Home­owner Ste­fa­nia Aris­tei sits in front of a 3D-mir­rored wall panel made of ‘Mir­ror Sculp­tures’ by Verner Pan­ton for Ver­pan Stock­ist de­tails on p195 ➤

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