The colours of the American dream
Gian Luca Zanoni - Sassi Srl
A living room with strip lighting and a walnut veneer radiogram. A pink and steel kitchen. A sea-green bathroom. Bold shapes and volumes, furnishings with intentionally exuberant and sinuous lines like the celebrated curves of Marilyn Monroe and Jane Mansfield. Bold, bright colours like those of the diner where the closing fight of the film Giant takes place. We find ourselves in a house straight out of the American dream, like the glittering Technicolor homes featured in the films of Howard Hawks and Jerry Lewis.
In reality we are in Forlì, Italy, but as designer Luca Zanoni explains, “The idea and concept of this house stems from a young couple’s passion for America. Given that they needed to renovate their home, they asked me to create a solution that would allow them to relive the years of Humphrey Bogart, Doris Day and Elvis Presley, of rock’n’roll and Pop Art in their everyday lives. They are fanatical about these periods and have put together a large collection of objects and furnishings.” In this project, Zanoni worked in close cooperation with the owner Caterina Manzini. Together they decided to leave the outside of the house unchanged while radically altering the interior, structuring the various levels as if they were an anthropological and cultural exhibit in which each floor is devoted to a specific historic and artistic period. Streamline, Modernism and Post-deco are the stylistic references of the first floor, inspired by the thirties and forties. This is particularly evident in the wall coverings in the bathroom, which consists of peach and black coloured bevelled tiles in a medium-size format (the classic 15×15 cm), a model of artisan tradition brought back into vogue in Italy initially by Gio Ponti and recently by ETRURIA design.
Descending to the ground floor we move forward in time. Here a second bathroom and especially the kitchen revisit the stylistic features and pastel colours of the fifties. The colour aquamarine dominates in the bathroom, where the walls are tiled up to a height of one metre sixty as was typical in that period.
In the kitchen the black-and-white chequerboard decorative motif is not only a clear reference to the film sets and homes of the fabulous fifties and sixties, but provides a vigorous counterpoint to the shocking pink and shiny steel of the “aerodynamic” furnishings, a fascinating aesthetic tour de force in which we expect Aretha Franklin to burst in at any moment singing Freedom!
Likewise in the rest of the home the theme of the USA is explored with cultural precision and a touch of decorative irony. “The choice and installation of the floor and wall tiles was to some extent dictated by the Americana style accessories and furnishings that the couple had been collecting for years,” continues Zanoni. “The photos of old motels taken by the owners were crucial for choosing the interior design as they allowed us to faithfully reproduce the atmospheres of small-town America from that magical past.”