Aesthetic abode meets contemporary culture
The charming Milan home of Dubravka Vidovic and her husband Luigi Ciocca, a two-floor loft space in a former factory building, gives full rein to the couple’s artistic instincts and tastes.
Located in a former industrial area of Milan, close to University of Design “Politecnico di Milano,” the neighborhood is now a new design hub with several creative spaces transformed from old industrial places, populated by many young people and foreign students.
“There are many young Chinese students nearby and they made us feel like China is always close,” Vidovic said.
The couple took the space prior to a move to Shanghai a decade ago.
“We used to live in the fashion district of Milan in the downtown area where my husband had a home and a fashion design studio for many years.
“When we decided to move to Shanghai, we were looking for a ‘comfortable pied-a-terre.’”
Over the past 10 years the couple had divided their time between Shanghai and Milan. But, because of the COVID-19 pandemic situation, they moved back to their Milan home.
“In our Milan dwelling we have not changed the original structure. We’ve only done some contemporary decoration inside the space using our collection of furniture, objects from travels around the world and the contemporary artworks we’ve collected over the years,” she said.
Vidovic, born in Croatia, is a visual artist and she loves a contemporary, eclectic, warm style, full of culture, colors and personal memories.
“Our home reflects us perfectly for who we are. My husband is a passionate contemporary art collector and an esthete,” Vidovic said.
“He loves to surround himself with refined objects bought during our travels, with avant-garde design and, above all, contemporary artworks.”
They were never trying to create a typical Italian style in their new place, more a personal ambience with a global touch and filled with objects dear to their hearts. The apartment is a mirror of the soul of the one who lives in it.
“Luigi has a lot of humor; he is playful and ironic, that shows in our collection of objects. But he is also a cultured person, so we love to combine refined objects along with ironic ones that represent pop culture to create an eclectic atmosphere,” Vidovic said.
The couple co-founded Antibiotico two years ago with two young Chinese friends. It is a young Chinese lifestyle design brand that creates objects with an ironic and artistic style. The objects are sold in concept design stores and museum shops.
Here in their Milan home, they love to spend most of time in their ground floor, loft-style living room.
“It is a space where we receive and entertain friends, but also where we spend most of our time at home. There’s a library section and TV where we watch movies and we have a big central table where we can read, work and eat. The open kitchen is also adjacent,” she said.
The living room, at the center of the house, shows off their eclectic style. They have a rather clean, white backdrop to offset the vivid colors and amazing designs. Among the design pieces there is a red Antropus armchair by Marco Zanuso, Cone Chairs by Verner Panton, a Mac Gee bookshelf by Philippe Starck and an iconic Toio Floor Lamp by Achille Castiglioni.
“These iconic pieces of design, by mostly Italian designers, are pieces of great beauty. We mixed them with more ethnic objects such as a custom-made table and a sandstone window from Rajasthan, India, and personal items, such as our old photos and beloved modern art pieces,” Vidovic said.
They wanted to achieve harmony between the interior, furnishings, art and their exotic objects.
“I would like to use a quote by the artist and designer Yonel Lebovici, ‘I do not like to be bored, or to bore others. I love and want easy, pleasant playful things and of which the utility, in the end, will depend on the imagination and the desires of the individual,’” she added.
Lebovici’s “Fiche Male” lamp is one of Vidovic’s favorite objects at home.
“I really love Lebovici’s ‘functional sculptures’ — with his ‘Fiche Male,’ he presents us with an ordinary and familiar object: A electrical plug and makes it exceptional by enlarging it and then, with a humorous twist, turns it into a floor lamp,” she said.
Each piece of furniture design produces a visual impact with an emotional message. And for the artworks, the couple loves what’s honest and real and tries to avoid the purely decorative.
“Art is all about passion,” said Vidovic. “There are works related to body art by Arnulf Rainer, Hermann Nitsh, Urs luthi and the ‘Neue Wilde’ painters (new German Expressionism from the early 1980s) as Rainer Fetting, Helmut Middendorf, A.R.Penck; photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe, Andreas Serrano, Luigi Ontani; paintings by Peter Schuyff and also Italian Arte Povera artists, such as Giulio Paolini and Jannis Kounellis among many others.
“I love two big scale paintings from ‘Neue Wilde’ German Expressionism painters Helmut Middendorf and Rainer Fetting, characterized by bright, intense colors that are mysterious and passionate.
“Another work dear to my heart is a collage by Italian conceptual artist Giulio Paolini ‘Duchamp looks at Duchamp.’
“Of course you can also see my works displayed at home, such as several pieces from the Shikumen Wall’s series exhibited in Shanghai at ArtCN Gallery, as well as Peola Simondi Gallery and Podbielski Contemporary in Italy.”
Ask The Owner
Q: Describe your home in three words.
A: Artistic, eclectic, individual, with many memories.
Q: What’s the first thing you do when you get home?
A: I wash my hands and take off the mask and wash my hands again.
Q: How do you unwind?
A: Playing with Akiko, our Shiba Inu puppy.
Q: Where do you spend most of your time at home?
A: In the living room.
Q: What’s the view outside your window?
A: We see an internal courtyard and sky.
Q: What’s your favorite object in your home?
A: Very difficult to choose just one, because we love all our objects, because they recall various moments of our life and various trips around the world.
Q: Where do you source furniture?
A: In design stores and galleries in Milan and around the world.