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The house in the rock: an interview with the architect Michel Boucquillon

posted by Home In Italy on January 26th, 2018

Born in Belgium in 1962 from a Belgian father and German mother, Michel Boucquillon graduated in architecture at Saint-Luc in Brussels in 1986. In 1988, aged 26, after two years of working experience in Florence, he won the Architectural competition of the Chamber of the European Parliament in Brussels, signing the beginning of his Architectural and design career. In ‘2000, he opened a second workshop dedicated to industrial design products and experimental architecture in Lucca – Tuscany in his home and office Alibia, where he lives with his wife Donia Maaoui and their two daughters.

Villa Alibia is an extraordinary property, a laboratory and place of experimentation. The villa, the guest house and the swimming pool are real jewels of contemporary architecture and technology immersed in the Tuscan nature. The architecture of the two properties is very bright and transparent.
This is the first house in the world with a hydraulic roof: the two wings of the roof of the villa open at a 30 ° angle like the wings of a butterfly allowing natural ventilation to cool the house and bringing to the villa a very unique magic sensation of literally sleeping under the stars.
Michel is currently working for exclusive clients and for world-known design companies such as Alessi, Artemide, Antoniolupi, Aquamass, Auerhahn, Martinelliluce, Nestle, Serralunga, Tecno, Technolux, Valli Arredobagno, Valli&Valli. He won many international awards and his design creations are exposed in many museums all over the world.
Architect Michel Boucquillon sat down for an interview and touched on an array of topics, from the start of his successful career to his future project.

When did you realize you wanted to be an architect?
All began when I was around 10 or 11 years old. I visited the farm situated close to the house where I lived and it was that bad organized that I returned home and did a little plan sketch called “the ideal farm”. I showed it to the farmer, who thought I was crazy. However, I loved it and it gave me the first sensation of being an architect. At the age of 15 I decided to study architectural drawing at the high school before graduating in Architecture in St Luc, Brussels.

Where does your passion for beauty and art comes from?
All the men of my family, both father and mother side, are Engineers. I am an hybrid: I have always loved drawing and inventing. Architecture made me discover design, and design made me discover art. My wife, Donia, is a sculptor, so we are totally in full immersion with art.

What does villa Alibia represent to you and your career?
When my wife and I decided to move to Italy, we wanted to build our “world of architecture” in one of the most beautiful places in Tuscany: Lucca. We found this extraordinary 10 hectares land in the first hill around Lucca, one of the very rare place where you can perfectly see the hole city and its walls, the middle-aged towers from 200meters high. We wanted to make an innovative but respectful architecture totally opened on the magnificent Mediterranean vegetation by sliding the big windows and opening the roof. The result is a very pleasant place where you have the impression to be outside of the real world, in total harmony with the wonderful surroundings. Who enters in the house is totally emerged in our world and our sensibility. I would say everything you see was drawn by myself, by Donia or by both. The architecture, the furniture, kitchenware, the sculptures, the limited edition furniture …

What can we expect from you in the future? Are you currently working on another magnificent project?
In the future, I will continue creating architectural project worldwide for exclusive clients and industrial design, which is my second passion. At the moment I’m constructing two private houses where the roof will open like in our house. In the design field, I’m drawing with Donia a wide collection of object for Alessi brand, called Bark. I am also drawing high quality furniture, lamps and bathroom products for other world known companies.

LUCCA SUMMER FESTIVAL

posted by Home In Italy on March 20th, 2017

If music is your first love and you enjoy rocking out to the sounds of musical legends and current chart favourites alike, the Lucca Summer Festival is a must visit! The mediaeval Tuscan city of Lucca comes alive during the month of July and plays host to stellar line up of international stars.
Take in the city’s array of wonderfully intact historical sites, beautiful renaissance architecture and picturesque greenery as you soak up the sounds of intimate open-air performances from the greats of the music scene.

The Lucca Summer Festival first launched in 1998 with the legend that is Bob Dylan headlining. Since then it has grown in popularity and a whole host of musical megastars have visited the city to perform on the historical stages of Piazza Napoleone, Piazza San Martino and Amphitheatre Square. Past performances from esteemed stars include David Bowie, James Brown, Elton John, Eric Clapton and Alicia Keys to name but a few.

This year, the Lucca Summer Festival celebrates its 20th anniversary and the planned line-up certainly befits that milestone. Robbie Williams, Green Day, Kasabian, Rag n’ Bone Man, Imagine Dragons, LP, Macklemore featuring Ryan Lewis and Il Volo will perform across various dates during July, wowing crowds and filling the streets with excited revellers.

Lucca is obviously extremely busy during the festival, particularly around the dates of headline performances. A great tip if you are travelling as part of a group is to use the festival organisers carpooling option – it will save time, mean that you have less hassle during busy festival days and open up your options for accommodation within areas outside of the city. Although this is a great service and used widely by festival goers, it’s important for us to advise a word of safety – always use this service as part of a group, ideally two of you should travel together at all times.

If seeking accommodation outside of the city appeals to you, there are several great villa options that would work well for groups of friends or families. Villas provide a home from home with everything you need to rest, relax and unwind. With the Summer Festival in mind, they are also a perfect base from which to visit Lucca for the day to catch your favourite performances. Some of our villa recommendations include:

Villa Alibia

This unique five star property is just a 10 minute drive from Lucca and offers a design led, contemporary retreat for a group of up to 10 people. Nestled on white marble rocks, this luxury villa offers a spectacular view of Lucca and the surrounding areas, whilst still offering a peaceful haven for complete relaxation.
http://www.homeinitaly.com/alibia.htm?idv=418

Borgo Benni

Situated in a hamlet tucked away amid the gently folding hills near the town of Lucca, this villa is a grand Tuscan retreat. Originally a hunting lodge in the early 19th century, its modern restoration has accentuated its unique inner courtyards to offer an enchanted silence.
If you’re looking for a time-forgotten atmosphere then this is the perfect option for you.
http://www.homeinitaly.com/borgo+benni.htm?idv=220

Tickets for the Lucca Summer Festival are on sale now at various ticket selling websites. For more information on the Lucca Summer Festival and to purchase tickets visit www.summer-festival.com.

If you’re keen to check out more villa options within the Lucca visit: http://www.homeinitaly.com/search-results.php

Villa Vanto | Amalfi Coast | Sorrento

posted by Home In Italy on September 3rd, 2015

Situated between Massa Lubrense and Sorrento, in an exclusive and panoramic location, this luxury, modern and minimalist-style villa offers the maximum comfort and luxury. A private road controlled by security guards leads to Villa Vanto and to other villas immersed in one of the most exclusive and panoramic areas, in the greenery of the hillside, bordering the coastline. Sorrento, just 5 kilometres away from Villa Vanto, is the ideal base for excursions along the Sorrento coastline. From Sorrento it is also possible to take the ferry or hydrofoil to the amazing islands Capri and Ischia, or to take the ‘Circumvesuviana’ train to visit ancient Pompeii and Herculaneum (Ercolano). The nearest sandy beach is 3 kilometres away throughout a pathway or on a 10 minutes drive.

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Facilities:
Swimming pool (4x8mts), A/C, Wi-fi internet connection, SKY TV in the living room, outdoor Jacuzzi, private parking space, washing machine and dryer, BBQ, safe.

LUXURY APARTMENT IN FLORENCE

posted by Home In Italy on September 12th, 2013

Cieffe is one of the most luxurious private experiences in Florence accommodations today. This fascinating residence matching the modern comfort with history gives you the very best of Florentine life.

Palazzo Bardi, whose apartment Cieffe represents the noble floor (Piano Nobile), was built in 1420 by Brunelleschi. It is located between the Arno River, the Uffizi gallery and Santa Croce. The building is considered the first step towards a new model of private renaissance palace in Florence, changing the late gothic architecture. The courtyard of the palazzo is decorated with Andrea della Robbia majolicas, a crown of big columns typical of Brunelleschi’s style, antique marble and precious Renaissance ironworks.

The name of the apartment is due to the fact that in the 16th century the Cieffe used to meet in this apartment, which was the palazzo’s theatre during the renaissance. The Cieffe was a group of scientists constituted by the Bardi Count and other scholars of musical theory, among who was Vincenzo Galilei, father of Galileo. They created new musical principles, merging music to the 33rd “canto” of Dante Alighieri’s Inferno, giving birth to what is known now as lyrical opera. Still hanging from the ceiling of the theatre is the scenic machinery used at that time.

Cieffe is a 320 sqm (3.400 sq. ft.) apartment on two levels. The décor is a combination of the finest contemporary Italian design and Florentine ‘500 architectural details. The interiors are superbly decorated with original plaster works, stones and 18th century frescoes. Bauhaus period furniture are from the best designers: Van der Rohe, Eames, le Corbusier, matching a precious 17th century sofa and two medieval terracotta statues. Castiglioni, Flos and Fontanarte lightings give to the place a very special atmosphere in the evening.

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