PLACES > Tabaccaia di Reschio, Umbria, Italy
I have a very special relationship with this location which I wanted to share with you today. The Reschio Estate on the borders of Umbria and Tuscany is a truly magical place, with records tracing back to the beginning of the 11th Century. The castle at the entrance to the Estate once guarded the border. Although yet to be restored, it does still house the Estate Winery. This is one of the few buildings left on the list set for pending restoration.
The Estate is steeped in history (click here for a more in depth conversation) but for a brief overview the first mention of a fortified borgo at Reschio, goes back to the early Middle Ages, where records show ownership connected to the Marchese del Monte. During the 14th and 15th century the Estate changed hands a few times and by the late 15th Century ownership was recorded to the Bishop of Todi, Angelus Cesi. After being passed to his nephew the Estate disappears quietly off record.
For centuries the estate fell into disarray and by the mid-twentieth century, with the local tobacco farming industry diminishing Reschio slowly crumbled away.
In 1994, Count Antonio Bolza head of the Bolza family purchased this vast 3,000 acre estate and now years on, their renowned pureblood Andalusian stud is at it’s heart. There are 50 ruins on the estate, of which 25 elegant and sophisticated homes have been masterminded by Benedikt Bolza. Nine of these properties are available as private rentals including Spinaltermine, a privately owned five bedroom villa which I designed back in 2011.
The estate also features acres of olive groves and vineyards, a private restaurant the Osteria, the Bottega, a beautiful family-run shop open just to guests, as well as seasonal hunting, shooting and fishing on the Estate’s lakes. You could stay forever because Reschio is truly the ultimate retreat.
Today the estate is principally run by Count Bolza’s son, Architect Benedikt Bolza, which leads me to the conversation that I wanted to share with you today.
The Tabaccaia during it’s restoration
Welcome to Tabaccaia di Reschio, the most recent addition to the Reschio Estate last summer. So beautifully restored by Count Bolza, this former tobacco factory which is now an open plan office for his design practice, is also a flexible exhibition space with workshops and farm administration in the space below. Reschio is under constant restoration and all the design work for each property is undertaken by the design team at the Estate, every window frame, work surface, swimming pool and stable door has been designed and created by their finest builders, craftsman, carpenters and artisans on the estate and the surrounding area.
The Tabaccaia is a testimony to Bolza’s exquisite style. Maintaining the original structure, this industrial space with it’s striking stone staircase welcomes you into a split level working environment, featuring Bolza’s trademark blackened steel and reclaimed waxed builder’s timbers. Much of his work is drawn from the 30’s and 40’s which is clear throughout his first collection of furniture and lighting, which can be seen in situ in the photographs of the Tabaccaia below.
The Reclaimed Standard Lamp above is a beautiful design. With the main body incorporating an old heater, and the shade fabricated from stainless steel mesh, we love the scale of this oversized piece.
“When converting our office space I unearthed a large group of these fantastic old ‘vertebrae’ heaters. We have combined them with our ‘house’ style base and steel framed shades. They throw the most extraordinary diffused light.”
The design studio
The Poggibonsi Table Lamp is a brass plated steel and faux vellum lamp, a beautiful design.
“The faux vellum is created by hand painting sheets of high quality paper. It comes in other subtle shades. Very much inspired by Italian design of the early 1930s, this lamp can also be produced in nickel plated steel.”
One of my favourite pieces, The Etruscan Factory Sofa Table
These desks designed by Bolza, are made from blackened steel ‘L’ profiles and reclaimed scaffolding wooden planks. Whilst the space may look authentically rustic, under-floor heating and LED lighting has been installed throughout, with barely an exposed wire seen throughout the building.
The space below the design studio is just as magnificent. A treasure trove of Estate reclamation and restoration. Each piece of furniture or lighting that has been designed, made or restored, has passed through this floor. I have to say, we’re all just a little bit envious of such an exquisite working environment.
A constant personal inspiration…
The summer months sees the Tabaccaia play host to three exhibitions, of which more information shall be posted shortly.
Images courtesy of Benedikt Bolza photographed by Phillip Vile.
With many thanks to Count Bolza and Liz Todd