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| Designbest editorial staff


ere, a period villa in all its glory is the spectacular setting for superior Made in Italy furniture. On top of that, its location, on the western shore of Lake Garda, is a real gem. We’ll show you how an early twentieth century villa, recently used for events, has gone back to being a home for a few weeks. Its kitchen is in perfect working order, and parlours and bedrooms have all been furnished with contemporary design icons. Striking example of how antique and modern can blend together when they share top quality and classic timeless elegance.  


At the entrance, the 1919 armchair, and in the drawing room, a Chester sofa and John John. A generation apart, but still from the same Poltrona Frau family. Patchwork carpet by Tappeti Sartori.

In perfect neoclassical style, Villa Alba is a stone’s throw away from the famous Vittoriale estate, once home of writer Gabriele D’Annunzio. To faithfully reproduce Greek monuments and the Parthenon no less, the villa’s original owners, the Langenscheid family, sent their architect to Greece to find the right inspiration. And actually, it’s not so hard to imagine yourself at the bottom of the Acropolis...

After a turbulent past which spanned two world wars, the villa was purchased in the seventies by the council of Gardone Riviera, who turned it into an important convention centre for exhibitions and events. What’s more, Pialorsi Arredamenti, an important interior design store from Piacenza, northern Italy, which dates back to the sixteenth century, found it to be perfect for this event. The showroom furnished it with modern design icons, like the ones it’s been selling for over sixty years, as if someone could move in the next day. 


The kitchen is in the largest drawing room with period fireplace. The iconic Vanity Fair by Poltrona Frau, the Karma carpet by Tappeti Sartori and the kitchen with aluminium frame and fronts in mirror-polished steel by Arrital.

A natural harmony exists between modern furniture and its period surroundings; this doesn’t come as a shock. You’ll almost wonder why you’re not surprised by this. The breakfast bar in glossy steel goes well with period mirrors, the refined pale carpets by Sartori look as if they’ve always been here, classic leather sofas and armchairs by Poltrona Frau could have very well been bought by the Langenscheids themselves, and the glass tables by Fiam reflect natural light and enhance the beauty of these surroundings.

Caruso sideboard by Miniforms, lamp Tetatet by Davide Groppi

In the parlour, an unusual piece of furniture, which with its unique aesthetics suggests “sound”. The Caruso sideboard (Miniforms) has a built-in audio system, plus it has the right look to be a true key player. On it, Tetatet lamp by Davide Groppi gracefully lights its surface.

Right-hand side, each floor plan has a different shaded area; this illustrates the five rooms furnished for the event and the relevant furniture. From top to bottom: entrance, dining room, bedroom, parlor and kitchen. In the last image, a view of the dining room with tables by Fiam, Koki chair by Desalto and lamps by Davide Groppi.

The bedroom. A large room with windows on three sides and bed placed in the centre; this setting has the same feel of a living room. Karma Intero carpet by Tappeti Sartori, and in the background Sampei floorlamp by Davide Groppi.


It was originally named Villa Ruhland, which poetically translates into “Peaceful landscape”. Like an old lady the villa has lived out her glory days, two wars and abandonment. Nowadays, it’s a vital cultural centre with a rich calendar of temporary exhibitions, just like Icon Design. The villa has had a new lease of life, also offering us a unique experience in an authentic location. A space where complexity and the thousand different sides of interior design appear natural and simple, like all wonderful things in life.



Design project

Period villa, convention and temporary exhibition centre

Gardone Riviera, Garda lake, Italy

Idea and Interior design:
Arredamenti Pialorsi

In partnership with:
Municipality of Gardone Riviera and Arrital, Poltrona Frau, Sartori Tappeti, Fiam, Davide Groppi, Flou, Kristalia, Miniforms, Cattellani&Smith.

Photos: Courtesy Arredamenti Pialorsi

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