Italian Architect Piero Lissoni

The Modernist Maestro Relaxes at His Sun-Soaked Tuscan Summer House

When building a Tuscan retreat for himself and his family, Piero Lissoni decided that simplicity was key. Visited by filmmaker Matthew Donaldson for today’s edition of In Residence, the Italian designer and architect created an elementary form that was neither part of the vernacular, nor classic Italian pastiche. Keeping faithful to the size and scale of the surrounding houses, he used a concrete that is mixed with the local earth, giving it a characteristic pinkish hue. The stunning landscape envelops the building, its cool, hard lines playing off against the undulating hills.

 “There is a huge connection between inside and out. I used windows like a super huge screen. I don’t need films here: the theater is outside, the movies are outside.” 

The Milan-born innovator founded Lissoni Associati with Nicoletta Canesi in 1986 and has since created an extensive catalog of designs for brands such as Kartell, Porro, Boffi, Cassina and Flos. His house is filled with a combination of found objects, antique and country furniture, and collected works from contemporaries like James Irvine and Jasper Morrison. By his own admission, today Lissoni is lucky enough to be able to pick and choose the projects he wants. The secret of his success?

“I like every year to be better than the year before and to be very good at life, with friends, work, culture, books, food, wine,” he notes. “It is a good obsession.”  









Amsterdam's Conservatoire Hotel - Design Simplicity by Piero Lissoni 

Conservatorium Hotel Amsterdam occupies the famous site of Amsterdam’s former Sweelinck music conservatoire. Originally built at the end of the 19th Century and conceived by the renowned Dutch architect Daniel Knuttel as the Rijkspostspaar bank Building, the construction heralded an urban regeneration of the Museum plein, an area which had been left previously derelict. Knuttel was praised for his ability to fuse simplicity and functionality, and the award-winning Milan-based furniture and interiors designer Piero Lissoni has embraced this tradition through the re-incarnation of this spectacular building 100 years later.

Against the backdrop of the building’s incredibly rich history, the hotel has been consistently imbued with Lissoni’s signature style. Known for his austere lines, demure fabrics and shades of grey that are occasionally dotted by the appearance of bright accents, Lissoni is considered one of the most prominent and exciting contemporary Italian designers. His clean designs are a hybrid of modernist and contemporary chic and contrast playfully with the on-going bath of natural daylight throughout the building’s airy spaces. Furniture from leading Italian manufactures such as Living Divani, Kartell and Cassina sit prominently in all communal spaces while accent pieces such as vintage Asian rugs provide a sense familiar comfort.













“ I dream of a new age of curiosity. We have the technical means for it; the desire is there; the things to be known are infinite; the people who can employ themselves at this task exist. Why do we suffer? From too little: from channels that are too narrow, skimpy, quasi-monopolistic, insufficient. There is no point in adopting a quasi- protectionist attitude, to prevent 'bad' information from invading and suffocating the 'good'. Rather, we must simply multiply the paths and the possibilities of comings and goings."

Philosopher Michel Foucault