casaFantini/Lake TimeJoAnn Greco • Photography by Giovanni Gastel • May 10, 2018
Daniela Fantini, CEO and heir to the high-end Italian faucet company, is deeply connected to her home on the shore of Lake Orta in Pella, Italy, just outside Milan. “Although I travel a lot, I do not think I could live anywhere else,” she says. The glistening, placid lake has a “mystical aura” she credits to the secluded nuns on San Giulio Island. “There is a magical silence that surrounds, causing time to sometimes feel suspended,” she reveals. To express her love for the region, and for hospitality, she embarked on a “personal dream” by opening the 11-room boutique casaFantini/Lake Time, where stone, wood, and, of course, water play a central role.
“Water is the element that connects the hotel to history and to the nature of the place,” she says. Since the project is part of a wider vision for the 70-year-old family-run business, Fantini turned to Italian architect and designer and longtime collaborator Piero Lissoni (who crafted showrooms for the brand in Milan, New York, and Zurich, along with a recent expansion of the Pella factory) to fashion the hotel. The renovation of the circa-1858 building involved adding two full-floor suites, as well as Blu Lago Café, which, along with the lounge, opens up to the outdoors with expansive floor-to-ceiling windows. Lissoni also constructed an adjoining low-rise building clad in thin accoya wood slats to house the other nine guestrooms. “Sourcing local stone and wood that was cut using traditional methods made it possible to blend the building perfectly into the landscape,” he says.
According to Lissoni, his mandate was to “create a place that could bring out the value of the lakeside setting while generating a forceful identity for the company’s finest products, gathered in ideal and permanent display.” That means striking bathrooms enclosed in cobalt blue glass that feature creamy stone sink consoles and ceramic tile walls. Guestrooms open up to terraces, taking in stunning scenic views of the lake and mountains, as well as the outdoor lap pool surrounded by gray beola stone.
The spare public and private spaces rely on the textures of concrete, ebonized wood flooring, and white plaster for definition. A curated selection of vintage objects—including old shutters on walls instead of headboards—offers discreet accents, while a mix of mismatched but iconic chairs paired with rough-hewn tables and upholstered sofas and leather benches complete the laidback but ultra-stylish residential retreat.
“We designed an internal greenhouse in an open zone of the lounge,” he says, “giving a lot of natural light to the living area, plus offering fine views of the greenery outside.” Sliding doors on the ground floor further connect the indoors with the outdoors, blurring boundaries and making it feel as if the lush lakeside vegetation almost invades the interior. “I wanted to be sensitive to the local spirit,” Lissoni points out, “designing soft, airy spaces where it is pleasant to linger, listen to music, read, meditate, chat, and get lost in the beautiful view.”