House Tour – Italian artists Valeria Borrelli and Antonio Sacco have carved out a cool, calm haven in a former convent in Naples.
WHO LIVES HERE Film-maker Valeria Borrelli, her photographer husband, Antonio Sacco, and their two small children, Cosma and Joseph.
THE HOUSE A Neapolitan convent in the Spanish Quarter that has also served time as a mill, brewery and printworks, which the couple have painstakingly restored into an artists’ retreat and family home.
WHY WE LOVE IT With its soaring arches and rock-solid walls, it’s an unlikely but utterly inspirational urban apartment.
ABOVE: Mix rough and smooth. Behold Casaforte, a 16th-century convent, hidden away in a back courtyard of Naples’ Quartieri Spagnoli – a former no-go neighbourhood said to be ruled by the Camorra. An inconspicuous, weatherbeaten door leads to Valeria and Antonio’s apartment, although the word “apartment” doesn’t do justice to the ascetic convent-like hall that greets the visitor.
ABOVE: Create unique spaces. Valeria and Antonio decided that they not only wanted to live and work here, but that they also wanted to turn it into a space that could be used by other artists: the Casaforte Art Platform. “We invite people to come here,” Valeria explains, “to meet each other and participate in art projects.” Especially for this purpose, they had three guestrooms built, in a private courtyard separate from the rest of the apartment, to be rented by art enthusiasts.
ABOVE: Know what to cut and what to keep. On the upper storey, all around the floor-to-ceiling hall, are the family’s private rooms, separated from the artistic activities in the hall by milk-glass panels. They left the existing structure more or less alone, but they did demolish some interior walls. They also covered the walls and floors with lime cement, replaced the dilapidated roof and installed Plexiglass skylights so the hall is now diffused with light.
ABOVE: Keep the kitchen bright. The open-plan kitchen profits from the light that comes in through the skylights, whereas the rest of the family’s living area gradually gives way to the darkness inside the old vaults.
For information about current art projects at Casaforte, visit facebook.com/lacasaforte.sb. For enquiries about room rental, email [email protected].
Words: Kerstin Rose. Photography: Christian Schaulin.
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