House tour: the home of Italian heiress Margherita Maccapani Missoni Amos
When Margherita Maccapani Missoni Amos discovered she was pregnant with her first child, there were two things she was sure of: one, the time had come to put down roots; and two, there was no other place in the world she’d rather do that than in Varese, a lakeside city 50 kilometres from Milan.
Heir to the Missoni Italian fashion label, Missoni Amos took over as creative director for the M Missoni line last year, but since marrying entrepreneur and pilot Eugenio Amos in 2012, she has craved a decidedly quieter life. “I like life in the country,” says Missoni Amos. “Being in the fashion world, there was never a doubt in my mind that when the time came to raise kids, living immersed in nature would be the healthiest environment.”
In Varese, the Missonis are an institution. Most of them — along with the company itself — were born here, and many have chosen to remain. Missoni Amos’s sister Teresa came up with the hashtag #VareseThePlaceToBe, a playful homage to the Lombardy city that now counts nearly 73,000 photos on Instagram.
So when the Missoni Amoses stumbled upon a plot of land that overlooks the area’s eponymous lake and has sweeping views of the Alps and its Monte Rosa mountain nearby, the two were instantly smitten. They decided to construct an entirely new home and entrusted the project to architecture studio Cibic Workshop, founded by visionary Vicenza-based designer Aldo Cibic, most famous for cofounding the Memphis Group and his longtime collaboration with Ettore Sottsass.
“After working through our initial differences, we concentrated on the elements we both liked,” says Missoni Amos, “filling a notebook with references we could agree on: stone and wood for the exterior, linear lights, and a double-aspect living room. The architecture follows the slope of the hill. It’s characterised by a long, suspended body hosting the home’s more private areas, and clad entirely in wood, just like the gabled roof.”
The structure, which she likens to a bridge resting on two volumes, connects a dining area with a library and, in the middle, a glass-enclosed living room that looks over those jaw-dropping views on either side.
In the living room, 1950s sofa upholstered in light blue Brahms Porcelain velvet; 1980s coffee table custom made by Piero Pinto for Rosita Missoni; Missoni Home pillows and prototype Chinese zodiac rug; black-and-white portrait by Gilles Bensimon.
Missoni Amos confesses to having approached the interior project with enthusiastic naiveté. “It was the hardest job I’ve ever done,” she admits. “Taking care of all the technical details without any experience was incredibly complicated. If I could go back in time, I would’ve passed the baton onto someone else. It’s better to live with the mistakes of others than with your own!”
Despite the challenges, Missoni Amos can now say she lives in the house of her dreams. There’s a dedicated space for everyone in the family: a playroom for the two children, a studio and relaxing “oasis” for Margherita, and a spacious garage for Eugenio and his vintage car collection.
In the dining room, chairs by Josef Frank for Svenskt Tenn; table setting includes Murano glasses from Artemest and ceramics by Richard Ginori; 1960s Murano glass pendant light by Carlo Nason for Mazzega.
The decoration flaunts that bold use of colour and pattern you’d expect to find in a Missoni home. The celebrated brand, founded by Missoni Amos’s grandparents Ottavio and Rosita in 1953, is most famous for its multicolour zigzag patterns — a consistent design element even to this day. “The Missoni aesthetic is certainly visible in the project, and yet my home represents my personal style,” says Missoni Amos. “It’s influenced by my life experiences, by the years I’ve lived abroad, and by my contemporary lifestyle.”
In the office, vintage wicker chair by Dirk Van Sliedregt for Gebroeders Jonkers; Saint Laurent red heart-shaped cape; Venini chandelier; Missoni Home rug; artwork by Caroline Walker.
Missoni Amos mixes and matches furniture to craft a balance between sophisticated and eclectic. Many pieces are online or flea market finds; such shopping is a passion she shares with her mother and grandmother. In the living room, Missoni Amos pairs a dramatic plexiglass bookshelf by Andrea Branzi with 1950s chairs reupholstered in florals. Centre stage in the brazenly decorated space is a velvet pastel blue sofa — an eBay purchase — on a rug depicting the symbols of the Chinese zodiac.
Missoni Amos smiles slyly as she shares how she came to own that piece, a prototype made for Missoni Home. “I borrowed it from the showroom with the excuse that I needed it for a photo shoot and, after placing it in the living room, I invited my grandmother over to show her how perfect it was there. She had no choice but to leave it to me.”
Missoni Amos describes her style as cheerful, happy and relaxed, and her decorating process was based on instinct. “I know that the objects you have a close connection with are ultimately the ones that make you feel at home.” Indeed, each decorative element, from the family portrait by Lola Schnabel to professional road racer Valentino Rossi’s motorbike, recalls the colour and Italian spirit the Missonis are known for.
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In the main bedroom, bed by Mauro Mori; sofa by Hartmut Lohmeyer for Wilkhahn; custom zebra-pattern carpet by Liuni; painting by artist unknown.