Lake Como home of the Sarfatti design dynasty

·2-min read
Photo credit: Nathalie Krag
Photo credit: Nathalie Krag

Children run tirelessly in the garden, occasionally taking a dip in the glistening waters of Lake Como to mitigate the fierce heat of summer. There is a holiday feeling in the air in the small, pretty village of Griante, where Alessandro Sarfatti, co-founder of lighting brand Astep, enjoys long, languorous days in the sun with his wife, fellow designer Yasmin Edgecombe, their sons, Isaac and Benjamin, and older daughters, Filippa and Kaisa.

The family is now based mainly in Copenhagen, where Alessandro moved in 2013 before launching his business, but they still feel drawn every year to spend quality time at this villa.

Photo credit: Nathalie Krag
Photo credit: Nathalie Krag

Purchased in 1958, it was originally renovated by Alessandro’s grandfather Gino Sarfatti (the famous Italian lighting designer, founder of Arteluce, and mastermind behind many of the pieces reissued by Alessandro’s firm today) and his friend, architect Vittoriano Viganò, a key exponent of Italian brutalism.

Signs of the pair’s inventive approach to the design of this home are visible in the windows, large for that time and placed in a way that cleverly frames the landscape, as well as in the sculptural internal staircase and the exposed iron beams, added to one side of the building to support a terrace that houses a sunny, glass-encased study.

Photo credit: Nathalie Krag
Photo credit: Nathalie Krag

Their ingenuity ensures that nothing interrupts the views of the outdoors. Bespoke low sofas, designed especially for the villa by Viganò, maintain sight lines, while an ‘Infinito’ bookcase by Franco Albini breaks up the open-plan living area without halting the path of light through the home.

The furnishings are almost all by great masters of Italian design but, as would be expected, the lights are the true stars here. As well as original lamps by Gino Sarfatti, there are prototypes, re-editions and new products – some by Alessandro and some by his father, lighting brand Luceplan’s founder Riccardo Sarfatti.

Photo credit: Nathalie Krag
Photo credit: Nathalie Krag

Everywhere you look, there are pieces that testify to the creative talent and vision that unites three generations of this family.

‘I was the age my son Isaac is now when my father, my mother [Sandra Severi] and Paolo Rizzatto started the Luceplan adventure,’ recalls Alessandro. ‘I remember the choice of the name, their enthusiasm and the energy.’

Photo credit: Nathalie Krag
Photo credit: Nathalie Krag

It’s the same passion that he now channels into Astep in a continuation of this lighting dynasty’s story. ‘This house has a strong emotional and symbolic value for me,’ adds Alessandro. ‘It is, in some ways, the synthesis of my personal and professional history.’ astep.design

This article first appeared in ELLE Decoration May 2021

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