A few kilometers from the city center of Pesaro, Italy, inside the fifteenth-century Villa Imperiale, surprising stories are revealed. Curated by the architecture and interior design studio Plus Ultra, ten small domestic settings characterize the frescoed rooms that once housed the stories of the Sforza family and, after the 16th-century extension by Girolamo Genga, the Della Rovere family. And as befits a noble residence like this, the narrations created by Plus Ultra studio have the flavor of a fairy tale: they mix the past and the present, the domestic with the exotic, the known with the new.
Mirabilia is an interior design project consisting of a series of ten domestic setups built with objects of different ages and nature. The places were chosen for their strong evocative power and for their different character. The historical manor presents a wide variety of spaces including completely frescoed rooms, apartments with stylized geometric decorations, porticos, loggias and courtyards conceived as actual “open-air interiors” to be lived in during the summer months.
In designing each space, Plus Ultra studio, under the art direction of Alessandra Castelbarco Albani, selected iconic design objects – lamps by Achille Castiglioni, chairs by the Eames – along with others by emerging designers – the wooden animals by Woody Zoody, for example – and antiques recovered from warehouses and cabinets.
The outcome of these combinations are unusual minimal narratives that explore the concept of dwelling, mixing the familiar with the exotic, and that establish new relationships with the place where they are set. In fact, today, the spaces of the Villa Imperiale in Pesaro, also open to visitors, are emptied of their original function as a dwelling. Yet as you walk through these rooms you can feel the presence of the past, the stories of the Sforza family, the sixteenth-century vicissitudes of the Della Rovere family and the eighteenth-century events of the Albani family resurface.
Each of the environments revolves around seats – ideal for rest and domesticity, but also for conversation – and lighting fixtures – the fulcrum around which people congregate – to become a stage, waiting only for new guests to inhabit it.
Photography by Giulio Dallatorre.
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