"Many, many years.” That’s how Interior Design Hall of Fame member Piero Lissoni responds to our query for a timeline of his collaboration with Fratelli Fantini. In 2001, Lissoni Associati, and its subsidiary Graph.x, became creative director for the kitchen and bathroom manufacturer’s corporate identity, and on a larger scale, architecture—now under the banner of spin-off firm Lissoni Architettura. Most recently this includes the Fantini headquarters and the funkily named boutique hotel Casa Fantini/Lake Time. Soon to be connected by a pier, they share property mere feet from Lake Orta in the town of Pella, approximately two hours northwest of Milan.
Headquarters appear as a compound of three conjoined cabins. However, it’s really a single 1957 office building. Per strict Italian building codes and cultural tradition, Lissoni maintained the basic structure while seamlessly inserting his own contemporary intervention, including enlarging windows for better views of the lake.
Inside, the envelope is pure white interrupted only by a stairway of black sheet metal, “rough and elegant at the same time,” Lissoni notes. Downstairs is public, much of it the 5,500-square-foot showroom. Undoubtedly, the focal point is a backlit glass wall interpreting Fantini’s famous X-shape I Balocchi sink fittings. The rest of the ground level encompasses conference and exhibition rooms, while executive offices, including private quarters with a library for CEO Daniela Fantini, the daughter of a founder, are upstairs.
Casa Fantini/Lake Time presents another old-new paradigm. A ground-up 9,000-square-foot building by Lissoni adjoins one from the early 19th century, originally a local pensione. Lissoni’s three-level component houses nine guest rooms; two more suites occupy its smaller counterpart.
An internal courtyard brings daylight to a ground-level restaurant. But light of another kind distinguishes guest quarters: Glass enclosing the bathrooms and dressing rooms, tinted and back-painted respectively, casts a moody blue. Meanwhile, each bed’s whitewashed headboard is a unique assemblage of salvaged doors and panels. And each suite has a freestanding tub designed by Lissoni, once again celebrating the collaboration between two Italian trailblazers.