In Residence: Doriana and Massimiliano Fuksas

Step Inside the First Couple of Italian Architecture's Paris Apartment

Architects, of course, work with space and light, not bricks and mortar. These are the raw materials. That’s especially true of the places they make or remake for themselves; often unassuming, discreet, already there, not very architectural, but always with high ceilings and tall windows. “Real luxury is to have volume, light from outside,” says Italian architect Massimiliano Fuksas, who since 1981 has been working alongside his wife Doriana. They live and work together and try not to have too much architecture in either place. “If you build every day, if you plan every day some contemporary building, it’s fantastic to live in an old one,” he says. “It’s fantastic the contradiction between what you are and what kind of life you live.” They house their 100-strong practice in a restored Renaissance palazzo in Rome, not far from Piazza Navona. Home however, is a Paris apartment on the Place des Vosges, captured here by French director Benjamin Seroussi. “If you move from one city to another in Europe, it’s one-hour-and-a-half or two hours flight. Europe is one country, it’s a continuous space,” says Massimiliano, who in 2013 took a cinematic approach to the design of Shenzen Bao’an International airport. “I think Rome and Paris are the last memories of what was ‘the city’. This is the last memory that we have. But we are part of all the world now.”–Nick Compton

Nick Compton is the Senior Contributing Editor of

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Conversations (3)

  • AdamLevin
    It makes so much sense what they say ,, that a house that is too iconic leaves little room to become or evolve, hence Massimilliano's marvellous statement: I dont like objects: volume is the real luxury, I love the emptimness of the walls and the abiity to see one thing in its entirety, The best part of this clip is the bluntness of its final words. A grammatic for a life freed of impotent prepositions and heaven help us, shelves upon shelves of adjectives
  • Mozartmike
    How can one not love both of these wonderful people.
  • bonesmurphy
    A beautiful and interesting take on minimal living; to 'curate' a home based on the period in which you inhabbited it. A luxury for those who live such a life, but transferable concepts for those with one home for life, or a series of rooms as we move from tenancy to tenancy. Also, love the genuine moment at the end of this.

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    In Residence: Italo Rota

    The Uncompromising Milanese Architect Discusses His Designs For Living

    “As an Italian, I have always found the Renaissance period an unbearable bottleneck,” says Milanese designer Italo Rota. “I think what blocked the modernity of the 20th century has been this kind of thinking." Renowned for his use of light and strong gestures—from the restoration of Milan’s Piazza del Duomo to Roberto Cavalli’s phosphorescent Florence residence—Rota is an advocate for the evolution of contemporary architecture over heritage conservation. “The danger that Italian design was in has been elegantly overcome with great intelligence, allowing people all over the planet to play the game,” he says. “Today, most Italian design is designed by non-Italians. It is an inclusive system.” His progressive attitude extends to the development of the next generation of designers in his role as the unconventional Scientific Director of NABA and the Domus Academy. “My advice to a young architect is that all buildings are just one of the many clothes worn by that particularly capricious emperor we love to call architecture,” says Rota. “The gap between the ages of teachers, students and mentors should be reduced. I think the future is all about finding an equilibrium.”

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    Francis Ford Coppola: Pater Familias

    The Legendary Director Shares Family Lore at His Palazzo Margherita Hideaway

    Coppola history comes to life in this candid portrait of Francis Ford by Alison Chernick, filmed at the Hollywood don's newest hotel, Palazzo Margherita, while he was vacationing with his aunt Almerinda and his 95-year-old uncle Anton. Tucked in the arch of Italy’s boot, the majestic boutique property is situated in the quiet hilltop town of Bernalda, or as the Coppolas call it, “Bernaldabella”, which has held mythic intrigue for the celebrated director since his grandfather Agostino left the region for New York in 1904. The auteur behind the The Godfather trilogy, Apocalypse Now and The Rainmaker, first made a pilgrimage to the Southern Italian spot at the age of 22, where he was welcomed by family members who were still residing there. He began to return regularly and, having already expanded his directorial vision to include a vineyard in the Napa Valley and several retreats in Central and South America, in 2005 he bought the virtually untouched 1892 Palazzo Margherita from a surviving descendant of the man who built it. Keeping the close-knit Coppola clan at the heart of the project, his cineaste children Sofia and Roman collaborated on personalized interiors for several of the building’s nine suites with French interior designer Jacques Grange, whose clients have included Yves Saint Laurent and Princess Caroline of Monaco. The Palazzo boasts several bars as well as a lush courtyard and garden, and the only swimming pool in Bernalda—built in time for Sofia’s wedding to Phoenix frontman Thomas Mars last August. The patriarch’s own headquarters features a Moorish ceiling design, honoring the heritage of his Tunisian-born Grandmother, Maria Zasa. Guests may find themselves sitting next to Francis himself at the shared dining table, savoring regional cuisine such as lamb prepared with chicory, tomatoes and cheese, and Lampascioni fritti (a local variety of baby onion, deeply fried), before retiring to the salon to curl up with a Coppola-curated library of Italian films.

    Visit our Facebook page to view behind-the-scenes images from this shoot, alongside a recipe for pasta e fagioli, straight from the Palazzo Margherita's kitchen.

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