This modern palazzo was designed for art collectors in Rome

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Interior Design: Studio Riviello

Text: Erika Heet

Photography: Gianni Franchellucci

Occupying the main floor of a dazzling Roman Baroque palazzo, this apartment is a wealth of treasures and sophistication spanning four centuries. The owners, who possess an incredible collection of art and antiques, called upon architects Donato Riviello and Valeria Zicarelli to curate the rooms. “We sought continuity between the internal atmosphere and the historic architecture,” Zicarelli says, pointing to the high ceilings, slender windows, and strong architectural elements throughout.

Taking on such an important task required forethought, design intelligence and a steady hand, traits that Riviello and Zicarelli are known for. The first consideration was setting the scene while honoring the architecture. “An extra touch of sophistication is given by the finishes, wainscoting, armoires and doors, all modeled after authentic precedents in the palazzo,” Zicarelli says. “One leitmotif connects every room: solid oak flooring selected in two patterns—chevron and square.”

Next came the rhythm of the art, a collection anchored by the works of Frank Stella, Lucio Fontana and Alighiero Boetti, with sculptures by Arnaldo Pomodoro, Claudio Capotondi, and Giorgio De Chirico. It is the star of every room, modernized by contemporary furniture such as sleek sofas covered in Mark Alexander velvet, and tables and chairs from Giorgetti that complement the abundance of spherical sculptures by Pomodoro. In the formal living room, Frank Stella’s Mrs. Rabbit’s Rainbow III lives easily with Japanese imari and 18th-century Chinese vases. Opposite the Stella, slashed canvases by Fontana join a green, white and red triptych that exists as an homage to the colors of the Italian flag. Such works breathe new life into the old, like the 17th-century Italian chest between the windows.

There are gallery pass-throughs that the owners don’t mind treating as such, given the palatial nature of the home and the importance of the art. These lead to spaces such as the dining room, with a Giorgetti table and chairs, windows lined with bold Zimmer+Rohde draperies and a ceramic piece by Sebastian Matta. In the blue living room, Alighiero Boetti’s Mappa from 1984 joins Enrico Castellani’s Superficie Rossa from 2007, and a sphere by Gianfranco Meggiato.

Among the clients’ requests was “an external space that had continuity with the interior of the residence,” Zicarelli says. The pair outfitted this space with an outdoor version of an indoor sofa from Roda, a travertine floor, stainless steel tables topped with oak and travertine, and a matte and sandblasted decorative wall finish. A marble sphere on bronze base by Capotondi sits beneath a ceiling made of light in the form of a custom roof with adjustable sunshade slats by Corradi. Despite its contemporary bent, the bones of the house shine through in the most captivating ways. As Zicarelli describes the finished home, “The past has never looked so timely and inviting.” Studio Riviello,

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