Design Notes: Casa Malaparte

Oliver Spencer has a favourite house. This is no ordinary house; it is the Casa Malaparte on the island of Capri, Italy.  Famed for its imposing modern Italian architecture, and set atop vertiginous coastline surrounded by sea, the house was the inspiration for our SS17 collection.

Home to Curzio Malaparte, who was an Italian writer and diplomat, the clean modernist lines of the house contrast with the natural rugged coastline that surrounds it.  Inspired by this minimalist architecture, built as a place of solitary contemplation and writing, Oliver Spencer has created a collection with a distinct Mediterranean influence.

casa malaparte

Originally conceived by Italian architect Adalberto Libera in 1937, the initial designs were rejected by Malaparte who built the house himself with the help of a local stonemason. The house was built with local stone, extracted from the site itself.

Standing on a clifftop overlooking the Gulf of Salerno, the house can be reached only by foot from the town of Capri, or by boat and a staircase of 99 steps up the cliff. Leading to the top of the house is a staircase that accesses a solarium, completely exposed and giving a sense of immersion in the landscape. This secluded rooftop famously appears in Jean-Luc Godard’s 1963 film Contempt as a sunbathing spot for Brigitte Bardot.

casa malaparte

Featuring exquisite attention to detail, including a fireplace with a window that provides a view of the sea through the flames when lit, the Casa Malaparte occasionally hosts architectural events but is otherwise a private house.

From our earliest days, we’ve adopted a business model that incorporates environmental and social responsibility at every step. Each season, we increase the proportion of ecological, organic and recycled fabrics and will continue to do so until they represent the entirety of our collections. We also ring-fence a proportion of our revenue to put towards planting trees with the Woodland Trust.


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