07 September 2010

"I am Love", a film by Luca Guadagnino (2009). Architectures and interiors by Portaluppi in Milano, as amazing locations

From the poster of the movie: “ I am Love” (2009) by Luca Guadagnino, a setting in Villa Necchi-Campiglio, Milano Mozart street, by Piero Portaluppi. Between the actors Tilda Swinton, Pippo Delbono, Flavio Parenti, Edoardo Gabriellini, Alba Rohrwacher, Maria Paiato, Diane Fleri, Waris Ahluwalia, Gabriele Ferzetti, Marisa Berenson

Piero Portaluppi: Villa Campiglio (1932-1935), Milano Mozart street 12 - main stairs


Piero Portaluppi: Villa Campiglio (1932-1935), Milano Mozart street 12 – Hall
Critical mentions about the movie:
Natalia Aspesi (La Repubblica): "Moments of high erotic epic, a Milanese Gosfort Park”. Maurizio Porro (Il Corriere della Sera): “An amazing cast in the service of an idea”. Fabio Ferzetti (Il Messaggero): “A jubilation of lights, colours, bourgeois interiors able to awaken true ecstasy”. Boris Sollazzo (Il Sole 24 Ore): “ A painting, a fresco of explosive power”.
Piero Portaluppi: Villa Campiglio (1932-1935), Milano Mozart street 12 – Historical Picture of the main entrance from the garden

Piero Portaluppi: Villa Campiglio, original perspective sketch, 1932

TACCUINI INTERNAZIONALI likes to dedicate these pages and th
ese pictures to them, so that they can represent a different, in fact opposite face as opposed to the world of the power stations in Ossola, by Portaluppi as well, but belonging to a unique aesthetic conception, which has made their author, together with Gio Ponti, one of the greatest masters of architecture from the italian and international twentieth-century.

Piero Portaluppi (1932-1935): Historical picture of the main facade on the garden with entrance and swimming pool

The house owned by Recchi, a Milanese highly placed family of textile producers, between a valuable atmosphere, of refined and cultured taste, and a lot of money, is a real battlefield between the various characters who move in it, some of them at ease and some others warily. Family strategies and replacements at the family business leadership involve Emma and Tancredi, their children Elisabetta, Edoardo and Gianluca, their partners and their future brides and grooms. It’s the big industrial Lombardy bourgeoisie that aims at the roles’ consolidation of each one of its members. Completely irrelevant to this world is Antonio, young cook not used to compromise. Balances and ties are doomed to break when a passion explodes between Emma and Antonio.
Piero Portaluppi: Villa Campiglio. Historical photo of the dining room

The movie is very well-made, in fact even enthralling, while it psychologically deepens the characters, and this is one of the reasons that make it interesting and pleasant. It immerses us little by little into the atmospheres of a drama centred on Tilda Swinton, its main cause of interest, but moving mainly, for us that have exalted it for this reason, in the magical atmospheres of the interiors by Portaluppi, which are as rigorous as the direction has been in giving credit to them, making them almost protagonists of the movie, at least in its essence. The whole is exalted by an amazing photography (by Yorick Le Saux) and a music equally appropriate and exciting (by the american composer John Adams). The family happenings take all place in the Milanese villa that Piero Portaluppi realized in 1930 for Kt Angelo Campiglio, on lands belonged to Solo-Busca family, subsequently become Villa Necchi-Campiglio. The house is today located in Mozart street, East of the Public Gardens, inside which Portaluppi himself designed the Planetario, in front of which another of his great buildings rised, in Venezia main street, typical of the Milanese building trade of those years, realized for Buonarroti Society, Carpaccio, Giotto, the one with the big arch three floors high that faces the Public Gardens.

Piero Portaluppi: Villa Campiglio (1932-1935), Milano Mozart street 12 – Library

Necchi-Campiglio House is still placed in the range of urban context of Milano’s centre, so that it never appears on public streets, since it’s protected by the narrow lanes of the area and by the thick greenery, all immersed inside the garden that surrounds it, protecting it and masking it from the outside of its fences. The house, which shows a very modern structure for that age, with the beautiful and essential entrance that faces the swimming pool, preserves exceptional rooms and furniture inside, both for the perfect dimensions, both for those subtle formal balances that the weft of decorations expresses.
The materials of really high value used wisely by Portaluppi, who’s the only one who manages to do so in these contexts, and the furnishings, make this house not only a jewel of the Milanese twentieth-century, but even a unicum, for the style’s essence, in the european and international panorama. The main scenes of the movie find in them such an ideal background, that you can see how they were already in the minds of Guadagnino and Swinton (respectively director and producer of the movie), during the phase of mental construction of this film story’s original idea, even before the screenplay.
Other houses and rooms have become part of the events narrated in the movie, one of them in particular, where the main facts of the protagonist’s psychological drama take place, and even this house is signed by Piero Portaluppi.
Piero Portaluppi, Casa degli Antellani, Restauration 1919-21 - Milano Magenta Main Street 65, Water painted drawing

In fact this is Piero Portaluppi’s house, the one that he created for himself, belonging to his wife, and previously to her father who was maybe its main purchaser, especially regarding the big issue of power stations in Ossola (fact that INTERNATIONAL NOTEBOOKS has already reviewed, and of which is completing an article in Archive – June 2010).
The old house in Magenta Main Street (Casa degli Atellani), renovated (1921) and partly rebuilt and enlarged (1943-52) by Piero Portaluppi appears in the movie and becomes its main part, as the house owned by the mother ad father-in-law of the protagonist and the family
patrimony’s progenitor.

Piero Portaluppi: Villa Campiglio (1932-1935), Milano Mozart srteet 12 – Interior of the veranda

A path entirely by Portaluppi, this movie, which introduces the special world of this master from the past century, which should be made more well-known, to a widest public, for the intrinsic quality of his works, in addition to the great mass of works realized that he left to show how prolific the Milanese version of the modern was, at its beginnings, never become as well-known as today, for example, is the North European one (Willem M. Dudok, Joseph Hoffman, Otto Wagner, Eliel Saarinen, etc.).
The house is today heritage of FAI and can be visited by public.

Piero Portaluppi in Casa degli Antellani, Milano, Magenta Main Street 65 – The inside

Piero Portaluppi, Portrait inside Casa degli Antellani (reconstruction 1957 - Milano, Magenta Main Street 65), alongside of the curious heptagonal chimney. The room, with a beautiful mosaic on the floor, appears in one scene of the movie “I am love”, by Luca Guadagnino

Lesa, August 18th 2010
Enrico Mercatali

(pictures were obtained from the beautiful book “Portaluppi- Wandering line in the twentieth-Century architecture” - Skirà, prefaced by Guido Cannella with a memory entitled “A hero of our time”, as well as from the film adverstisement of the movie and from the Archive of FAI concerning the house. You can see other photo of the houses in the italian versions, into the Taccuini Internazionali Archiv).

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