Home Tour: An Artful Italian Abode
by kathleen nicholson webber
John D’Orazio’s entranceway doubles as an art gallery.
|Interior designer Carlo Fiammenghi|
For Carlo Fiammenghi, simplicity is elegance. “Italians are more interested in a beautiful cut and use of luxe materials than layers of decoration,” says the architectural and interior designer, likening the Italian design sensibility to a Gucci or Fendi bag. “It is all in the details and the use of proportion.” Raised in southern Italy and Rome, Fiammenghi came to the US in 2006 and took little time making his mark with modern interiors with a European bent: The Murano condominium he designed with Terra Studio recently won a Silver 2011 Dream Home Award.
It did not take long for Fiammenghi to develop a rapport with the client, John D’Orazio, an art collector who was downsizing from a home in Bucks County. The purple cashmere sweater he wore to their first meeting proved a serendipitous jumping point. “He said, ‘I want that color in my house,’” recalls Fiammenghi. Various shades of the color can be found in rugs, lamps, and accessories. But it was the art that D’Orazio had been collecting for 35 years that was the main platform. The space is literally designed around it. Fiammenghi spent a day at D’Orazio’s old home to learn about his collection and which pieces were the most significant. “His art is very unique, has lots of color, and all have a sort of dreamy quality to it. So I decided to design his apartment having his paintings dominate the space.”
A gallery ensnares visitors as they walk in the front door, treating them to an array of largescale pieces, many from the Hrefna Jonsdottir Gallery in Lambertville, New Jersey. Contemporary art also prevails in the living spaces, which have stunning views of the city with, fittingly, the Philadelphia Museum of Art as the centerpiece. The two-bedroom condo was converted into a one-bed, giving way to larger, more fluid living spaces. Fiammenghi’s approach was to use restraint but still infuse it with an Italian air, concentrating on shape and material. Minimal window treatments cover the windows, and low furniture maximizes the views. Fiammenghi also used glass doors and tables for fewer visual interruptions. His frequent trips to Italy yielded pieces like the floating bed, purchased at Salone del Mobile industrial design fair. The designer placed Halodene lights under it for a soothing somnambular effect. “At night it is like a dream,” he says. Also from Italy are a glass-and-mirror table; poufs, in the sitting room; and plexiglass dining room chairs.
photographs by ben weldon