September 28, 2022

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Tour a Milanese Apartment That Harmoniously Blends Past and Present

Near the Porta Venezia district, in a neoclassical building typical of old Milan, Leonardo and Marzia Dainelli of Dainelli Studio completely redesigned a one-bedroom Milanese apartment. The rectangular layout of the space, with an entrance, corridor, kitchen, living room, bedroom, and bathroom, was not all that original. Therefore, the Dainellis had to experiment beyond the confines of their given parameters. Ultimately, the duo applied their philosophy of interior design, which is based on perfectly measured proportions and harmony between shapes, materials, and finishes, to the chic city-set abode. 

The Milan-based Dainelli Studio was originally founded in Pisa, in the heart of Tuscany, where the duo has lived and worked for over twelve years. Its nature, marble quarries, culture, and craftsmanship have left a strong imprint on the firm style. A passion for stone is expressed first and foremost through the floors of this apartment. Where the original flooring could not be preserved, Dainelli Studio chose to use materials that create a harmonious blend between old and new, past and present. The placement of a wall, removed to expand the living area, provided an opportunity to create a decorative transition between the original parquet flooring and the cement tile, thanks to a burnished brass band.

Careful work has been done too in terms of color. Sage green is the dominant hue in the entrance and living room, where it shades the walls and the ribbed wood of the cabinets. It matches the light tones of the soberly elegant sofa and armchair, designed by Dainelli Studio for Gallotti & Radice. Overall, there is a delicate play of materials, between the wooden coffee table, with its tone-on-tone patterned top and the brass and iridescent glass lamp (also by Gallotti & Radice). Very little furniture was placed in the apartment, but the selected pieces add an elegant minimalism that lets the floors speak. The final touches that complete the space include vintage lamps, a painting by Leonardo Dainelli, and a large XXL pop-renaissance piece that finds its place along the finely fluted walls.

In the kitchen, coral is the tone that animates the large high and low cabinets. Here, the interior designers wanted to stage a sophisticated mix of 1950s American kitchen styles with French bistro looks. (There is also a Parisian brasserie-style wooden bench.) The blue resin floor meets the pink lacquered MDF storage units, while the dark gray and amber veined marble make for a show-stopping effect. The shiny gold faucets and brass details add their own touch of glamour.

As much as color, material effects were the object of particular attention from Leonardo and Marzia Dainelli throughout the home. Therefore, in the bedroom, the large custom wardrobe is not only functional, but it is also strongly decorative, thanks to its two central brass door panels, its suspended effect, and its black-and-gold tones that link it to the black-stained ash woodwork headboard. Again, few objects and pieces of furniture appear in this space. There’s a timeless spherical sconce, a side table that doubles as a bedside table, and a dressing table that combines white, black Tanganika wood, and gold brass. On the wall and in front of the window are a painting and a ceramic piece, both by Leonardo Dainelli. Small in size but full of Dainelli Studio’s refined contemporary aesthetic, this apartment has a soft, timeless atmosphere and a warm eclecticism.