In 1932 Milan’s social scene was abuzz with glamour and decadence when socialite sisters Gigina and Nedda Necchi enlisted local architect Piero Portaluppi - the man behind much of the Milanese cityscape - to build a grand villa in the centre of the city. Located amid lush gardens, the ensuing building was completed at the height of the Italian Rationalist movement and is one of the finest twentieth century villas in the city.
The audacious three-storey home combines austere, neo-classical details with rich materials. The Necchi sisters, and Gigina's husband, Angelo Campiglio, were avid collectors, and filled its interior with an impressive collection of art and design, both antique and modern (Italy was just becoming known for its design prowess at the time). When the last Necchi sister died, the villa was donated to Italy’s non-profit artistic and natural heritage organisation, Fondo Ambiente Italiano (FAI), who restored and re-opened it for public enjoyment, and the building regularly plays host to Salone del Mobile and fashion week events.
Now, in homage to the character and lifestyle of the Necchi-Campiglio family, the Benetton Group’s communication centre Fabrica have created an object for each room, inspired by the existing architecture, evocative of the sister’s lifestyle, sponsored by brands from Alessi to Nodus. The project, which kicked off during last week's Salone (and was one of the major highlights of the week), explores ‘the relationship between past, present and future, between architecture and design, between the hosts and guests of yesterday and those of today,’ explains Fabrica.
Committed to capturing the soul of the home, the young designers frequently visited the villa, attentively researching the history. The result is a beautifully considered collection of 25 eclectic objects that insightfully capture the sentiment of the house, while having a good dose of humour.
From specially designed perfumes, reflecting the characters of the family, to tableware the echoes the pattern of the ceiling in the dining room, Fabrica have conceived a fascinating collection of pieces that shed new light on this impressive building. Here, we take you on an interactive tour of the villa and exhibition, which runs until 8 May.