“The places of our childhood never really change,” explain the architects at Turin-based firm lamatilde. “They are suspended in time, to remind us of who we are and where we come from.” This enchanting sense of nostalgia has informed lamatilde’s design of the LAQUA Countryside resort, a 6-suite retreat and restaurant in the town of Ticciano di Vico Equense, located on the Sorrento peninsula. Inhabiting the childhood home of Italian celebrity chef, Antonino Cannavacciuolo, the space combines traditional features with modern touches that accent the building’s rural charm.
Nestled into the hilly landscape, the LAQUA Countryside resort is surrounded by green space, designed in collaboration with architect Stefano Olivari (who also lent his expertise to the interior design). Two vegetable gardens and an orchard supply high-quality local ingredients for the resort’s Michelin star-studded restaurant, Cannavacciuolo Countryside. Alongside local species, rare plants have also been scattered throughout the garden.
A modern swimming pool foregrounds the property’s luxury resort feel, where crisp white chaises add a contemporary touch, while the rest of the furnishings’ terracotta tones play off the roofs of the surrounding countryside houses. In keeping with centuries-old local farming traditions, lamatilde salvaged calcareous stones while clearing the landscape that have been used to build the retaining walls that surround the garden’s four terraces.
Inside, lamatilde shows a similar reverence for ancient techniques. The renovation — a collaboration with architect Valentina Autiero — saw the building’s original architectural features preserved, including the structure and original tiles, and integrated with luxurious materials that reflect today’s design trends. Throughout, the floors are created using cocciopesto, a material that dates to the Roman Age, made with pieces of broken ceramic and mortar.
The resort’s public spaces and restaurant are outfitted with burnished brass wall panelling, which has been brushed on the lower portion to create a continuous wavy gradient. Above, the building’s vaulted stone structure has been left exposed, highlighting its old-world character. The restaurant’s interior is complemented with lighting by OTY and contemporary yet classic furnishings by Pedrali, made unique with bespoke lava stone table tops. The house’s main staircase has also been restored, paying homage to Cannavacciuolo’s artistic father with his sculpture collection placed on display.
The suites themselves are a visual manifestation of the family’s eclectic cast of characters, each imbued with objects and materials thoughtfully selected to evoke the personality of the relative who inspired them.
In Nonna’s room, neutral tones are mirrored with delicate Rosa Perlino marble in the adjacent ensuite. No detail has been spared, with a rotary dial telephone and silver vanity set rounding out the space.
Marina’s room is similarly understated, with brushed oak wood furnishings creating a calming atmosphere under the house’s gabled roof. Meanwhile, rich Verde Alpi marble is the star of the Handyman’s ensuite; the stone’s rugged masculinity is enhanced with sharp black accents.
The Annarella suite takes a daring design approach, inspired by her family’s love of travel and reading. The central partition’s bold botanical pattern is, upon closer inspection, replete with frogs and offset with simpler wood furnishings and a vintage Olivetti typewriter for good measure. Her ensuite is equally eccentric, clad in playful yellow tiles and Calacatta Oro marble.
A tufted four-poster bed and red accents manufacture a sense of drama in Curate’s room, with crystal glasses and bottles injecting a hint of elegance. The bold style translates to the ensuite, whose walk-in shower showcases stunning grey and white marble.
Past a stark black vestibule, the Crazy Uncle’s room is sparser than its name suggests, with the addition of treasured mementos like a miniature globe and figurine. Custom furnishings in matte black varnished iron and leather were designed by lamatilde themselves, and manufactured by DiSé.
With each room’s unique character, guests can return to see the property from a new perspective each time, as if hearing the same anecdote retold by different family members. Known for its storytelling design approach, lamatilde has honoured the memories of the Cannavacciuolo family, allowing their legacy to live on through the LAQUA Countryside resort.
Deftly balancing traditional and contemporary design elements, lamatilde’s renovation of a countryside manor house honours its previous residents.