Italian Villa

Published as: Tropic Italiana

Interior Design: Interior Design: Giuliano Andrea dell’Uvagianni-3
Text: Marina Pignatelli
Photography: Gianni Franchellucci

The young Neapolitan architect Giuliano Andrea dell’Uva, who runs Capri- and Naples-based Zeta Studio with architect Francesca Faraone, is well known for his ability to fuse the aesthetics of the past with a contemporary twist. The firm’s projects, which span from Hong Kong to Capri to Rome, are defined by a strict attention to detail and a great reverence for the traditions and authenticity of the places that host them.

One such project was commissioned by a couple from Puglia: to revamp a 1970 villa in Marina di Pulsano, not far from their primary residence in Taranto. Notary public Angela La Torraca and her marine engineer husband, Rocco Ferrara, divide their time between their business and Tenuta Venterra, a family agricultural property that produces fine olive oil. The couple asked dell’Uva to add a vivid, modern touch to the house, while respecting its romantic past. “What I found,” says dell’Uva, “was a pleasant retro villa totally immersed in the intense blue of the Ionian Sea, surrounded by the vibrant Mediterranean nature so typical of Puglia.” While honoring the identity of the original exterior architecture, he went to work only on the interiors, designing large windows to enhance the indoor-outdoor feeling, painting most of the walls white “to introduce a feeling of spatial expansion in the rooms and infuse the house with a sense of harmony.” Dell’Uva added a gray resin floor that continues onto one wall, which he says “creates an absolutely unexpected rhythm.”

Dell’Uva curated the details with the utmost care, even designing the slats around the doors and refitting the cabinets with geometric patterns, continuing those on the walls and floors of some rooms. The owner, a contemporary design neophyte, accompanied dell’Uva to Milan during the Salone del Mobile furniture fair, where together they selected pieces from top European designers and brands, among them Philippe Starck, Paola Navone and Cappellini. Photography by Luciano Romano and sculptures by Michele Iodice complement handmade painted cubes by Sicilian artist Antonino Sciortino.

gianni-1Having recently been appointed art director of the Neapolitan fashion brand Livio de Simone—eponymously named for the unforgettable designer who came to represent Caprese summers in the 1960s—dell’Uva punctuated the interiors with bold LdS fabrics with the help of Benedetta, Livio and Graziella de Simone’s daughter, who is revitalizing the line. “I played with blue, aquamarine, orange and yellow—the colors that best match the marine view,” says dell’Uva, who relied on Antonella Sartogo Daroda, one of the foremost Italian landscape designers, to revive the outdoor space. Taking advantage of the inclinations of the ground, Daroda created perfect islands with a variety of plants able to withstand the wind and the dry climate.

The terrace, with tables topped by Gio Ponti tile, is pleasantly equipped to enjoy the incredible view of the large bay and the Ionian Sea. The beautiful, multilevel garden contributes to this magical retreat, where the family likes to congregate with their sons, grandsons, uncles and cousins. “They wanted to live here practically year-round, thanks to the incredible location and the microclimate,” says dell’Uva. “It’s the perfect place.”

Zeta Studio, +39 081 0382168, zstudioarchitetti.it