Interiors: The Greatest Rooms of the Century book for Phaidon
Based in Milan, Dimore Studio was founded by Italian designer Emiliano Salci and his American business partner Britt Moran in 2003. Starting out with a handful of under-the-radar residential projects, they’ve since created boutiques for Hermès, Fendi and Sonia Rykiel, and restaurants and hotels for Ian Schrager and Thierry Costes. In 2006, they also launched a furniture line, all handcrafted in Italy.
The in-demand studio creates refined spaces that successfully combine disparate eras and styles, from art deco to 1970s. To ensure balance between past and contemporary details, rooms are conceived as a whole but down to the finest detail – each piece must have a rasion d’etre. Understanding that in a global age most clients desire something unique, they’ll add an offbeat note through the use of distinctive patterns, rich textiles or daring colors, often combining dusty tones with jewel-like hues.
A good example of Dimore Studio’s modern Italian style can be found in this duplex apartment in a 1940s building in Paris’ Saint-Germain-des-Prés. They refreshed the original architectural elements of the double-height living space with a palette of blue tones. On this they layered a biomorphic Ours sofa by of Jean Royère in burnt orange velvet, an old Iranian kilim rug, a circular coffee table by Gio Ponti, which is topped with Japanese ceramics, a yellow leather chair by Martino Gamper and a sculptural chandelier of their own design.
In 1992, French couturier Pierre Cardin acquired Palais Bulles (Palace of Bubbles), nestled on a rocky hillside in Théoule-sur-Mer overlooking the bay of Cannes, as a holiday home. Originally designed by avant-garde Hungarian architect Antti Lovag for French industrialist Pierre Bernard, it was built between 1975 and 1989 and remains one of the most distinctive retro-futuristic architectural follies in the world.
Lovag was a practitioner of habitology (concerned with how architecture works in relation to the human body), who considered the straight line to be “an aggression against nature”. Inspired by prehistoric cave dwellings, he improvised a framework of interconnected spherical and spheroidal shapes, which he rendered in ochre-coloured concrete. Covering 1,200 square meters, the house includes 10 bedroom suites, a reception hall and a panoramic lounge, each lit by curved windows and bulging skylights.
He might be the second owner, but Palais Bulles (which is currently up for sale) could easily have been custom-built for Cardin, whose fashion-forward collections have incorporated space helmets, vinyl outfits and many circular motifs, with one of his most famous designs being the 1954 bubble dress.
Inside, furnishings echo the building’s curves and were created by Lovag or Cardin. Signature pieces include round beds that require custom-made linens, undulating bookcases and built-in circular seating. Some rooms also feature specially commissioned pieces by Pierre Paulin, Gae Aulenti and Claude Prévost amongst others. Outside, a 500-seat open-air amphitheatre, 8,500 square meters of tropical gardens, plus a series of waterfalls and pools, have proved the perfect backdrop fashion shows and films shoots, as well as Cardin’s many star-studded soirées.