Lapo Elkann, a Fiat heir and globetrotting entrepreneur, has a provocative Milan home that exhibits his unique taste and pays homage to his favorite color.
“Work accounts for 90% of my social life,” says designer Lapo Elkann, whose short hairstyle and stylish outfits and his Instagram flurry appear to liven up websites and magazines around the clock. “I like seeing exhibitions, artists, galleries, and designers, but I couldn’t damn about being social.”
Lapo Elkann always has exciting days. It’s not like the heir to the famous car brand has his spare time. Besides creating sportswear and sunglasses for his Italia Independent brand, Lapo Elkann distributes films with his sister, Ginevra, and consults at Ferrari Tailor Made, a custom division of Fiat Chrysler.
Recently Lapo Elkann also launched a capsule collection with Gucci. “I like to play, but I work my ass off,” says the businessman while discussing the busy schedule in the different countries he travels. “When you build new companies, you need to be on the front line.” Adds Lapo Elkann.
There are times for everything, and Lapo Elkann says that there are times when we need to calm down. This calm came with his most personal project to date, his duplex penthouse overlooking a centuries-old square in Milan. When he acquired the 3,100-square-foot space, which sits in a stern post-war palazzo, just over a year ago, the primary goal was to banish darkness from the apartment. “It had to be full of light,” says Elkann over a breakfast of persimmons, buns, and coffee on his terrace, where an Independent Italy flag flaps.
Natalia Bianchi was the chosen one to work with the entrepreneur. “Lapo participated in all the decisions,” says Bianchi, referring to the fact that he deliberated on materials and tones for weeks, with careful attention to detail that impressed the army of artisans. A friend, sun-loving Elkann, added floor-to-ceiling windows and changed the walls to simplify the penthouse’s formal layout.
The new windows make the sky look framed by amplifying the various shades of blue from Tiffany to Yves Klein. “Blue is my signature color,” says Lapo Elkann, an avid sailor. “I don’t really like houses, so this place was designed to resemble a boat and evoke the ocean.” Audacious zigzag floors and striped pantry walls follow the chromatic pattern.
The enthusiastic way entrepreneur Lapo Elkann boosted all aspects of the decor makes the house go away. A caterpillar-shaped Ueli Berger sofa, one of her favorite pieces, curls against a living room wall covered in bamboo wallpaper that she’s printed in various shades of blue. The work of architects from Italy even contains a geometric totem of a terrace door, while Ed Ruscha’s aquatints of car insignia mingle with funky lamps by Gino Sarfatti.
Books concerning cars, design, history, politics, and novels by Elkann’s father, Italian philosopher Alain Elkann, can be found on the shelves. A close friend, industrial designer Carlo Borromeo, created the cocktail table in the living room and topped it with an aluminum appliqué in the shape of Sicily, a nod to Elkann’s fondness for the region.
The dark and light mahogany spiral staircase in his vast two-level closet was inspired by historic Riva Aquarama boats. The custom-designed crablike chandelier put above it was inspired by “something I made with automobile exhaust pipes,” according to Elkann. He also sewed the Italia Independent emblem onto several chairs. “It looks quite good and is very unobtrusive,” he says of the detail, which began as a joke.
“Not because I want to be different but because I want to be me,” says Lapo Elkann. Elkann’s high-energy rooms are a long cry from his maternal grandmother’s beautiful Agnelli home outside Turin, which Marella Agnelli manages, a Neapolitan princess turned international queen of style, but that’s the purpose. “My houses are my houses,” Lapo Elkann continues, “and I don’t want them to be my family’s residences.”.
A Paris pad with “quite naughty” decor and a Manhattan flat occupied at a period when “I didn’t love myself enough to make it colorful and creative” were among his prior residences. He considers the Milan duplex to be his first adult residence. He observes, “It’s a step into a man’s world.” “However, I’ve made it a point not to lose my childlike enthusiasm.”
Lapo Elkann is fiercely pro-Italian when it comes to buying art. “I’m currently collecting works by Michelangelo Pistoletto, and I’m looking forward to a painting by Agostino Bonalumi,” he says. “I like my country and its creativity – we still have a lot to show the world.”
As the designer incorporate some American styles throughout their home, “I like the coziness that Americans bring to their rooms.” “Formality is a waste of time and not a part of my existence,” says the author. However, one of its constants is using bold materials in imaginative ways. “Color is work, not fun,” Lapo Elkann says. “Choosing the perfect color for a pair of glasses or an automobile may make a difference.” Because of the several colors used in your new dwelling.
With a grandmother who took him to the most beautiful gardens you can see, Lapo Elkann admits that his aesthetic choice does not diverge from this field. Stefano Baccari was the chosen one to assist him in turning his terrace into a work of art, complete with fruit trees, spiraling roses, and vases loaded with ferns, cherry tomatoes, rosemary, and basil, evoking the fabled Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech, where his famous soignée nonna spends the winter typically.
“I see all this green when I wake up here,” Elkann exclaims, referring to the apartment’s verdant vistas. He adds, “I’m incredibly proud of everything.” “It’s even in the kitchen. It’s not because I’m a good cook; it’s because of the atmosphere. One day, I aspire to be married, and it would be wonderful if my wife and I could be as imaginative in decorating our own home as now.”
Source: Architectural Digest