Home Tech: Casa Valsecchi and the Origins of Milanese Design
Location: Museo Bagatti Valsecchi
Address: Via Santo Spirito 10
Few know that the home-museum - originally designed by two brothers, the Barons Fausto and Giuseppe Bagatti Valsecchi, at the end of the 1800s - was one of the first homes in Milan to have electricity. But that’s not all. In the bathroom, the shower (much more comfortable than a bathtub) is hidden in a fountain of white marble in true Renaissance style, complete with conch shells reminiscent of Botticelli. Inside this is fully functional plumbing which, from the floral centre, spouts hot and cold water. In the dining area, apparently bare, is the embodiment of the philosophy of the Bagatti Valsecchi House: the love for the past and Renaissance art which is well-balanced with modern comforts. The washbasin in bronze and the marble sink were, in fact, as early as the 1800s, already possessed of running water, quite advanced for the time. While they spent their lives following their dream of transforming their family home into an elegant dwelling modelled after the Renaissance in Lombardy, Fausto and Giuseppe Bagatti Valsecchi were real forerunners regarding the modern concept of design. The house, situated in the centre of Milan, between Via Gesù and Via Santo Spirito, is a treasure trove of remarkable home furnishings. Maniacs of detail, as well as fanatics about history, sport and technology, the tight-knit brothers called upon artisans and artists, enriching the home with precious works of art which they showed off during countless soirees with Milan’s high society.
The city conquered the fashion world when the eclectic Elio Fiorucci opened a shop, catering to the tastes of characters such as Andy Warhol, and Giorgio Armani dressed Richard Gere in “American Gigolò”.