LAURA AND PAOLO, MILAN
Filtered light spills through the raw linen curtains that frame the windows of this Milanese apartment, delicately illuminating the velvety tones of the walls. Located in a central residential area of the city, this home sits within an elegant early 20th-century courtyard building. Greeted by Thiago, the enthusiastic half-border collie, we are invited in by the property’s owners. Paolo Mamo is the founder of a renowned communications agency, and his wife Laura is a journalist. Their manner is informal and welcoming — much like their home.
“As far as architecture and design are concerned, Milan is a place of avant-garde, but also one of respect for the past. A past we can continue to live and keep alive.”
“We purchased the apartment in 2008. We needed a spacious home with outdoor areas that could accommodate us, our three (at the time) adolescent children, and Hanna, our housekeeper, who we consider the sixth member of the family. We had clear ideas about the renovation. We wanted to create a warm and comfortable environment where we could blend new furnishings with inherited furniture and objects.”
The apartment, a fusion of two distinct units, was completely redesigned in layout by architect Lazzaro Raboni, an old friend of the couple who shares their tastes and vision regarding the space and the needs of each family member. Their mutual objective was to create a home designed with family life in mind, and without areas that would go unused — a residence where every corner can be lived in. When considering the interior design, to avoid falling into the trap of cliché period nostalgia, the designer used a play of colours on the walls, focusing on shades of grey, with the exception of a single eggplant purple. The use of natural materials as a backdrop for the home’s eclectic mix of furniture styles creates a sense of harmonious modernity that is refined, surprising and emotionally engaging. The result is an environment that inspires an immediate feeling of ease.
“It’s in the kitchen, sitting at the snack bar sipping coffee, that we often discuss things. This is where our most important projects of recent years have taken shape.”
A space for entertaining many friends and guests, the Mamo family’s kitchen is often a hub of gastronomic experimentation, where ingredients and recipes from a variety of origins take centre stage. While members of the family occasionally try their hand at cooking, it is Hanna whose expertise sees the dining table filled and everyone’s tastes satisfied, as she alternates effortlessly between Bolognese lasagna, Chinese dumplings, Ligurian focaccia and Russian beet soup. It’s no coincidence that the couple’s children, two of whom are now adults, often gather here for family dinner. There really is no place like home.
“Our third child, Giacomo, is studying architecture at the Polytechnic and still lives with us. We like to think that growing up in this house influenced his choice of studies.”