Coup de Coeur | Casa Tabarelli

“An open, free, very spacious house, in which nature, sun and light enter.”


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In the North of Italy, not far from the Austrian border stands a forgotten residential masterpiece called Casa Tabarelli. Designed by architect Carlo Scarpa in 1968, it is symbolic of the freedom of design which is expressed in particular through its astonishing palette.

Directly inspired by the cascading forms of the surrounding vineyards, Scarpa designed its single-story structure by unifying roof platforms that blend organically in to the terrain. With a modest entrance, now hidden behind stone walls and lush vegetation, it is opens in to an unexpected and generously proportioned interior. Each room can be discovered by way of the circular path that leads through the entire length of the house - a continuous corridor leading from room to room. The floor is a seamless local stone extending design freedom throughout – a detail which was unprecedented for its time. The starkness of the design in its entirety is saved from cold formalism with the addition of abstract ceilings that are in stucco, pink, yellow and blue – all of which transform with the days changing light. Another intriguing characteristic is the kinetic steel sliding wall designed by Scarpa, with black and white wooden panels that pivot in different ways, letting the eye pass the abstract images of the entire construct.

Commissioned by Gianni Tabarelli, whose grandfather Teodoro Tabarelli established his home furnishings company in Arco in 1882, it was Gianni who jumped at the opportunity to have his friend Carlo sketch him a house. The brief was simple, “An open, free, very spacious house, in which nature, sun and light enter.” Tabarelli whose inner-circle included artists Man Ray & Marcel Duchamp, Italian futurist Giacomo Balla and furniture producer Dino Gavina used these connections to create Casa Taberelli. The final design was peppered with iconic pieces including Marcel Breuers Modernist Chairs, the Superleggera Chairs by Gio Ponti, the Artek Alvar Aalto armchair, and a large art mobile by Bruno Munari. The house displays warm and intense tones, an echo of the colours found in nature – yet everything remains simple and in harmony within the graphic architecture.


Photography  —  Ilaria Orsini & Jonathan Frantini

Design —  Carlo Scarpa

Location —  Cornaiano Girlan, Italy





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