‘There are some apartments you go into and they are playing music that is supposed to make you want to buy the place. Here, all you need is silence. You can hear the birds singing,’ says Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, founder and CEO of interior design and property development firm Banda.
He is a man who knows about the best way to sell a home. He is also someone who knows a thing or two about luxury.
Last year, Edo (as he prefers to be called) married Princess Beatrice in Windsor – they’ve since welcomed their first child into the world. He also, in what was a rather busy 12 months, began work on this penthouse apartment, one of the final steps in his firm’s multi-million-pound development of a former hotel on Notting Hill’s Leinster Square.
Unlike many of the other properties created behind this ambitious project’s stucco façade, the renovation of the penthouse was not restricted by heritage status. On the floors below, Edo had been meticulous in reimagining original details, but here he was faced with the exciting prospect of a blank canvas.
His first decision was to add a double-height ceiling to the open-plan living area, highlighting it with impressive antique oak beams that had to be lifted by crane onto the private terrace above. The result is brilliantly atmospheric, like stepping into an Old Masters painting.
The building’s idyllic London location, with its central garden that hosts ‘Shakespeare in the Squares’ performances during the summer months, inspired the penthouse’s colour palette, which is dominated by natural tones, from olive to taupe. Realised in clay plaster, the calming shades have depth and, like many of the furnishings in this home, are designed to display a human, artisanal touch.
Wabi-sabi, the Japanese philosophy that champions the beauty of imperfection, was a big influence for Edo. ‘You can see the maker’s fingerprints in the pendant light above the dining table,’ he points out. ‘And these are originals,’ he adds, gesturing to the chairs designed by Pierre Jeanneret, which came from the architect’s Chandigarh project in India. ‘You can see where they were used in schools and universities. They have dents and markings. It’s the same with the marble we’ve used throughout the space, it’s telling the story of hundreds and thousands of years.’
Indeed marble is something of a passion for Edo. It was in his native Italy, hunting for the beautiful stones to use in this apartment, that he was inspired to create ‘Kwanza’, Banda’s first furniture collection in the material. Although no pieces from that range can be found in this home (Edo and his team decided instead to place bespoke Banda designs alongside antiques and choice picks from Rose Uniacke and Studio Oliver Gustav), the bold Nero Marquina fireplace that anchors this soft, gentle space echoes their geometric look.
‘The apartment has a very calm energy,’ explains Edo. ‘It’s a sanctuary. When you enter, you feel that energy. This is the sort of place I want to sit in at night, on my own or with my family, and just relax.’ bandaproperty.co.uk