The restoration project of Castello di Pontebosio
When it was acquired by the current owers, the interior of the castle had been left in an absolutely desolating state. None of the original furnishings remained. Nothing survived untouched: not a room-color or a fresco, not any of furniture or of the antique floors. The various previous interventions reduced the interior of the Castle to a completely anonymous space. There was a need to start from somewhere: an idea, a history discovered and reconstructed in a way that was, at the same time, credible and original. So that’s how we started, from the history.
It was around 1640 that the first marquis Malaspina made this elegant and mighty manor his permanent residence. His name was Ludovico and he was married to Eleonore Diana, countess of Massa. His children and his children’s children lived in the castle for many generations: they had fascinating names and stories, and that is what helped us rediscover a seemingly lost world. The world of the people who lived, rejoyced and suffered in the casle. We took the family tree and, for every name written on it, we made up a story.
Friars Carlo Antonio and Angel Maria, the intrepid warrior Moroello, the founder of the noble house, Giovan Spinetta, and Claudio, Ferdinando and Giulio I, the marquises. And then the women: Caterina, the joyful, Leonora, the reflexive, Terenzia, who loved color, the refined and sober Maria Vittoria and Luigia, the romantic nun Carlotta and finally Beatrice, the one who loved dances and court-life.
Every room was personalized and styled based on its hypotetic inhabitant. To accomplish this we mainly used colors, strong ones, excessive at times, as it was typical in the time of the Castle’s glory.
Indigo blue is paired with emerald green; amethyst with lavander. Pervinca is coupled with plum. Magenta, pompeian and venetian reds are matched to ivory and black. Saffron yellow contrasts with persian blue. These striking chromatic effects spark a great range of emotions: some of them evoke the relaxing quiet of a vision, contrasting beautifully with the explosion of vivacity and passion inspired by others.
To create this apotheosis of color all the walls were necessarily treated with ivory, pearl grey, sable and off-white velature (*a procedure that recrates the look of the antique interior’s color by superimposing thin, veil-like, layers of light colors over the new paint, in a way that is similar and recreates the same effect as what medieval painters used to do with their frescos). It was not easy to mesh elements so different in period and place of origin, but the final result is undoubitably harmonic, even if it is outside of the usual canons.
We found the historic collection of the great designer Tricia Guild and we incorporated it with enthusiasm. We added the decor and the frescos, rigorously inspired by the history and the surroundings of the castle. Then we were concerned with the furnishings. In places where the art of carving is as natural as breathing, at the corners of the earth, we found the refined furniture, benches and beds. This is evident in the engravings hung on the walls, in the mirrors with carved frames and, moreover, in the antique furniture, belonging to the colonial era, exquisitely carved and decorated, hand-picked from old balinese mansions and from the residences of portoguese and english colons.
To accomplish all this, the willingness and mind-openedess of the owner, Silvana Bonugli, as well as the constant and passioned collaboration of the interior designer Ombretta Attanasi, were fundamental.
From this skilled partnership the new Castello di Pontebosio was born.