Finding the right furniture for a home with a lot of history can be difficult and it therefore can be tempting to stick exclusively to antique pieces to match the surroundings. Yet, creating a bridge between the classic class of your home and the modern world we live in might be the best approach.
Select timeless pieces of modern design, even the odd contemporary piece, alongside the antiques to modernize the environment and introduce a fresh new feel. A variety of textures and materials can be instrumental in this change: smooth metal alongside dark wood, or plush soft furnishings next to original stone and brickwork.
In the lower Engadin valley, not far from the Austrian and Italian borders, sits the ancient Swiss village of Ardez. Around the edges of the village you’ll find fertile ground for growing Mirabelle plums and artichokes. At its center you’ll find a fine example of a reduit (a kind of fortified keep that abounded in early modern European history), the von Planta estate. Built in 1642, the building withstood centuries of changes before being left empty for 60 years – until it fell into the hands of Not Vital.
Vital handed the estate to his brother Duri, a specialist in the region’s specific style of houses, for a “gentle” renovation in 2005. The brothers were serious about maintaining the historic heart of the building while also bringing it into the twenty-first century – they engaged the services of the local historic preservation office while also introducing geothermal heating, a high-tech kitchen and a series of stunning modern bathrooms.
An elegant interplay between the old and the new was a theme throughout the redesign; in some rooms, Vital refurbished the original wooden floor planks; in others, he introduced a white epoxy-coating to improve lighting and introduce a modern feel. The same went for the pieces of furniture he selected: contemporary chic sits alongside high-class traditional pieces for a sophisticated atmosphere that spans the centuries. A series of USM Haller pieces are a cornerstone to this theme: icons of modern design that evoke an easy timelessness. The pieces’ smooth steel finish is perfectly juxtaposed with the rustic ambience of their wooden and stone surroundings, but also set the tone for other modern additions, including glass and metal bannisters and modern light fixtures. An orange sideboard in the loft brings warmth to its wooden environment; lower in the house, another piece in rich black cuts against the whitewashed stone walls. Alongside the USM pieces are other examples of classic modern design: Le Corbusier Seating, table lamps by Ingo Maurer and ceiling lights by Poul Henningsen.