Island of Stromboli; Casa Falk (named after its last owner, the Swiss artist Hans Falk (1918-2002) is located in Piscita', the far end part of Stromboli, close to the "Sciara del fuoco".
In 1950, the group of buildings of Casa Falk, then a group of fisherman’s houses nearly abandoned, became the film set of the movie “Stromboli” directed by Rossellini, and had been transformed into the home of the protagonist Ingrid Bergman.
At the end of the 60es the property has been purchased by the Swiss artist Hans Falk (1918-2002), who restored it drastically, maintaining though the typical external features of the Eolian houses.
In 2007, Casa Falk has been acquired by its present owner ,an enthusiastic art and furniture collector.
The house went again though an entire restoration, planned and executed by my architecture studio.
We have chosen to follow an approach based on the process of subtraction and simplification, emphasizing the metaphysical aspect of the buildings created by abstract volumes with sculptural openings and dazzling volumes getting a mystic white gesso look in the day light.
The property includes a garden surrounded by walls of a group of houses, almost like a “casbah”, but at the same time it opens up towards the two major elements of the island, the sea and the volcano. Inside the property walls, the role given to the open space is fundamental: going into the property from the main entrance, a Mediterranean garden plays as filter between the exterior and the interior, to be followed by a parade of terraces, courtyards and paved trails in lava stone on various levels which connect the different buildings until the sea.
The connection to the first floor of the houses is possible just through the original external staircases, which we decided to maintain. The choice of the materials we made, inspired by the previous situation, is radical. The idea, which was immediately approved between the owner and myself, was to use materials made in Italy, autochthonous, therefore lava stone taken from the Etna area, chestnut wood found in Sicilian forests and the “statuario” marble taken from the famous Carrara caves that brings us back to the famous tradition of Italian sculptures as well as the use of bronze for windows and doors, made near Venice where the old tradition of Carlo Scarpa still remains an icon for contemporary architecture.
The same lava stone of the terraces and paths is used inside the ground floors to make it look like a large grey platform that emphasize at the same time the connection between interior and exterior. On the first floors “statuario” marble is used to match with the white walls to create a kind of a white soft box. Doors and windows are nearly hidden to the viewer due to the way we played with the walls, and being in bronze, the external gets coated and oxidized naturally.
Inside the rooms, the fixed furniture has been designed by myself, mainly made of chestnut wood, very neutral, which allows the owner to play around with a refined selection of vintage and limited edition objects, furniture and some fine art as well.
The first floors are dedicated to private suites including each a bedroom and a bathroom, with private terraces and amazing views to the sea and the volcano. One suite has an extravagant, rough fireplace made of concrete and lava stone, originally designed in the 70es by the previous owner Hans Falk, which reminds you the neck of a giraffe.
The ground floor of the four buildings are mainly conceived as large common areas: the kitchen next to the dining room, a studio-library with a fire place, a spa-area with a steam-room and a large living-room, facing from one side the sea and from the other side a green patio which we realized by demolishing part of the building, quite a radical decision to emphasize the main aim of the project: luxury and nature is something that can’t go apart.