With the name Casa Mollino, you’d be forgiven for assuming this was the residence of architect and designer Carlo Mollino.
However, quite uniquely this never became the home for Mollino but rather stood as a living shrine, a secret space that not even his closest friends knew about. Described as a modern-day Egyptian Book of the Dead, the villa has been written not in ink but in tiles, rugs, mirrors and objet d’art, its mysterious ambience a parallel to the designer’s own inimitable personality.
Located in Turin, the birthplace of Mollino, Casa Mollino is neither pretentious nor lugubrious but stands as a dazzling collection of rich artefacts all steeped in personal history and equal measures of intrigue. From the designer’s bone-like furniture to his erotic photograph collection, Casa Mollino’s Pandora’s Box-like aesthetic makes it one of the most unique homes open to the public.
Mollino’s obsession with the female form osmosed into his furniture designs, often presenting themselves in the form of organic curves and soft crescents – his dining room table, an original design, sits effortlessly alongside the white Tulip Chairs by Eero Saarinen in his Turin apartment, embodying the innocent beauty of the female form. Mollino believed there was an ergonomic connection between women and furniture design and this was explicitly evident in his series of pornographic photographs taken during 1962-73. Not only did the designer hone in on the models’ sinuous shape, he also curated an image which would communicate with the background interior. Poses were often provocative but the background scene of curtains, rattan screens, armchairs and animal skins were just as interesting and accounting of the designer’s personality.
Between 1960 and 1968 Mollino set about designing each room of the apartment one by one. Reading like a continuous narrative, each room flows from the one before all whilst feeling unique and individual. Visually rich and heavily textured, the rooms bring together a whole manner of influences including Alahambra tiles, Japanese textiles and Italian modernism. The result is a home which tells infinite stories, about the designer’s personal life, his loves, obsessions and history all whilst feeling shrouded in complete mystery, a hidden escape from everyone around him. A true enigma.