Beauty rediscovered


Interior Designer

Zenucchi Design Code

Interior Project

Paola Moretti

The frescoes of the  700, the salons, the past time and the real life

Time in design has no boundaries. She is conviced of it, Paola Moretti, an interior designer with a long journey – between Paris, London, the United States and her native Brescia – in author’s cinema, fashion and styling. Elisabetta Morandini, an art collector and fashion expert, is convinced of this and has entrusted her with the arduous task of transforming the main floor of an ancient and imposing palace – halls and salons with high ceilings and elaborate wall decorations of the late eighteenth century – into an apartment inspired by cultured and refined minimalism. A place that, in certain twilight hours, might seem austere, were it not for the experimental current that runs through it all and that can only be defined in one way: a passion for art and author’s design. We are in the historic center of Brescia, a jewel of Renaissance culture and architecture nestled in the vast and rich expanse of Po, just a few kilometers from the crystal-clear shores of the romantic Lake Garda. The lioness of Italy, a name that refers to the courageous resistance of its citizens to the Austro-Hungarian rule during the years of the Renaissance, is an industrious, reserved city. Rare, here, to find excessively sumptuous houses, which are eye-catching. And so when Elisabetta Morandini decided to transform the opulent interiors steeped in history of Palazzo Martinengo della Motella, dating back to the fifteenth century, into a contemporary home for herself, her industrial husband and their young daughter, she spontaneously came to turn to Paola Moretti, an interior decorator who hates conventions and who made sobriety her mantra. A woman whose aesthetic sense, who does not hesitate to define, with a wax of irony, “an ugly beast with whom I have learned to convince”, does not prevent her from creating, for herself and for others, “real spaces” – the definition is hers – which, in addition to reflecting the tastes of those who live there, are also livable and efficient. A complex project, admits Moretti, not so much because of the abundance of space – a first row of halls side by side on the street and another, parallel, opening onto a beautiful inner courtyard – nor because of the classicity of the pictorial and architectural decorations, but because of a previous renovation, she explains, which had damaged the original patina of this building, distorting it.

A building regains its atmosphere with a renovation that enhances complexity

“It wasn’t easy,” he says, “to recover the lost atmosphere.” There has been recovery, however, and it has gone from colour. The reddish hues of the glossy parquet from the nineties have been pickled and vanished by a matt grey hue reminiscent of the Venetian floor, without gaps, which has survived in the dining room and in one of the bedrooms. Thick plasters of chiaroscuro hues have revived what were anonymous walls painted in beige. But what’s more about this recovery are the astonishing details that bring us back to our eclectic present: the mirrored steel skirting boards reflecting tuareg rugs in reed and woven leather; the contrast between Anish Kapoor’s concave mirror in the entrance hall, which reflects and overturns the Boa sofa in blue-violet velvet by the Campana brothers, and the 18th-century details of painted doors and ceilings. Or, again, one of the living rooms, how not to notice the contrast between the drama of the Pompeian style friezes under the landscapes of the painter and decorator Giuseppe Teosa and the political lightness of the furnishings? A candle lamp by Noguchi, a pair of Uchiwa lamps in bamboo and rice paper, fan-shaped, created between the fifties and sixties by Ingo Maurer; a very long bench, five meters, purchased in a country mansion in France. Among the most important works of art, in addition to Kapoor’s concave mirror, are a head by Vanessa Beecroft, a burnt branch by the young Ariel Schlesinger and, again in the entrance hall, WE by the Swedish Runo Lagomarsino. The dining room is beautiful, with the Mamacloud cloud by Frank Gehry hanging above the rare 1970s table by Danish Hans Wegner and the superlight chairs by Gio Pont. The minimal kitchen revolves around a round table made of matt grey tundra stone. Strict also the bathrooms, with showers, sinks and bathtubs formed by heavy blocks always of matt stone all to design. “Our objective in this project”, concludes Paola Moretti, “was to bring these interiors back to their former splendour but in a contemporary way. To create a place, in other words, where everyday life lives in beauty a sort of contemplation of the past, present and the near future.”

Press Review

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