Villa Necchi: a synthesis of “authentic architecture”

Written by Federica Marziale
Photo by Claudia Zalla

Week 39

A city of facades, of great men, majestic palaces, tall towers and gray stoned buildings. It’s true, but it’s right here inside, behind these stones, behind winged sculptures, turning corners, passing forged gates, pushing heavy doors, curiously observing surroundings a little farther than meets the eye, it’s here where it hides, surprising and enchanting, the authentic Milan. A city full of refinement and magnificent artwork, that silently and confidently waits to be discovered by visitors.
In Via Mozart no.14, leaving the echo of noise and voices behind you, you can feel the perception of having arrived at a grand building. Slightly set back and protected from the road, it’s essential aspect, typical of Portaluppi’s rational architecture, interrupted by a handful of art deco weaknesses and eighteenth-century overlays, is that is represents an authentic art and architectural legacy, as well as a museum.
The exterior displays rigorous, austere and neutral architectural form, where lines and surfaces follow the rational design aesthetic – a tribute to the trends of Italian Rationalism of the thirties. Inside, the skillful care of the decorative displays, demonstrates a bold artisanal heritage and attention to detail when it comes to the selection of high quality artifacts.
Every corner of the Villa is enveloped in fine and elegant materials that, combined with grace and precise architectural rules, mark the perimeters of each room, providing these spaces with their own definitive role. At the same time, the villa becomes its own unique spectacle that awakens the senses whilst traversing through.

The abundance of decorative choices and arrangements affects the emotions: rosewood and walnut floors, in travertine and green marble, or covered with wood, alternating from one room to another causing unexpected delight. The harmony of architecture feels alive, without being overly opulent. There are ceilings decorated with diamond-shaped plaster, or with naturalistic and astrological themes, and a grander vaulted ceiling decorated with mesh patterns. These elements are a sight for sore eyes. Walls covered with parchment or wood, or entirely windowed, emphasize a sophisticated relationship between body and transparency; a humble balustrade staircase with a typical Grecian fret, runs up to the next floor, as though it were an unfurnished room itself. This rhythmic geometry invites one to explore.
The use of such materials is measured and modest. There are no excesses, nor abundance, simply constant changing environments that aim to highlight the wealth of the bourgeoisie of the time and the conception of the modern villa, comfortable and practical, both in structure and style.
Crossing the wide and bright rooms of Villa Necchi Campiglio it seems one can still hear the sophisticated voices of Milan’s glorious past, when the bourgeoisie gathered in salons to discuss and talk about arts, politics, writing and culture.
Villa Necchi Campiglio is beyond enchanting. It makes us traverse up and down, and get lost within its refined spaces. It makes us appreciate the diversity of decor, historic style and subconsciously forces us to take more articulated steps. It surprises with postcard views, details, and scenes that harmonize to form an elegant symphony. Villa Necchi Campiglio is true architecture.