Palazzo Nianu invites you to slow down and recharge your soul by experiencing the lifestyle of southern Italy in the most authentic way. The design has been completed by a curated selection of vintage and custom-made furniture pieces and objects to create a holistic experience that finds inspiration in the handmade.
By carefully restoring its many beautiful details, the architecture tells a story about the passing of time. Palazzo Nianu is an example of how an abandoned building can be completely restored into a peaceful haven by entrusting in local craftmanship to ensure the building retains its unique charm and authenticity.
Neviano (or Nianu, in the local dialect) is a small village where life gently ebbs and flows at a slow and relaxed pace.
Georg Kayser had already fallen in love with Salento ten years ago and was immediately captivated by the delights this region offers.
Alessandro, of Apulian origins, was enthusiastic about being able to work on something closer to home, and the story began when the two found this splendid, abandoned building in a small village in the Salento hinterland.
The architects focused on simple and inexpensive tactics, paying close attention to the few materials used, especially local materials with which the locals are used to working, such as cocciopesto for floors and walls, an ancient waterproof coating technique.
The intention was to restore the building while preserving the original patina of the ceilings and walls as much as possible.
Internal openings have been created that establish new visual axes between the rooms placed on different heights and simultaneously let in more light and connect the interior spaces more with the terraces.
During the first visit to the building, the most important discovery was the view offered by the terrace
“With the mother church of S. Michele Arcangelo in the foreground, from here you can appreciate the roofs of the neighbouring houses, located on a hill, and the picturesque Salento landscape that surrounds the town. We tried to make the most of this space by managing to insert a small plunge pool with a view of the church dome.”
The entrance, with vaulted ceilings about 5 meters high, is the environment in which the architects have managed to preserve the appearance and spirit of the building as much as possible, using it as a living area with masonry seats, vintage chairs, a lamp placed in the niche, and a couple of carefully selected decorative objects.
“The project can be considered a bit like our business card in Puglia, since we would like to make this beautiful region known as much as possible to people from outside and to be able to help them realise their dream of having an Italian home, with taste authentic and refined.”
As you meander up the beautiful staircase you arrive at the dining room with its original floor tiles. The architects designed a travertine dining table and had it made by a local craftsman, the lamps above the table are made by a Gallipoli artisan who handcrafts them in his small workshop the lamps are fishing baskets. The chairs and paintings are vintage, as much as the other little decorative objects.
In the bedrooms, we opted for a mix of furnishings from stores such as Ikea, Zara Home and Sklum. Vintage pieces were also sourced such as Alessandro’s grandmother’s armchairs upholstered in white.
In the small reading room, with the fireplace, the architects kept everything to a minimum: a triangular masonry seat was created and a few decorative objects were placed.
The kitchen was built in masonry and covered in cocciopesto, with custom-made wooden doors made by a local carpenter.
“Even in the bathrooms we have tried to create fixed furnishings as much as possible and cover them in cocciopesto, and even the fittings are locally made by the installer.”
The first terrace, which communicates directly with the kitchen, can be considered as the second dining room of the house, with a table designed by the team and placed under a light shading structure from which a unique handcrafted terracotta lamp hangs, made by Tonia Fuster from Mallorca.
The terraces on the upper level are divided into two areas, the first with a set of vintage wrought iron chairs and a stunning table from Alessandro’s parents, and the second area with an outdoor sofa and armchairs around a brazier.
Finally, you can venture to the solarium area, from which you enter the plunge pool that dominates the view around the house and the romantic and scenic village.
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Images Courtesy of Kayser Studio
Photographer: Carlo Romano