This former factory, built in 1880 on the banks of the Arno River in Florence, has lived many lives. The first reincarnation was as artisan workshops, then in 1999 those were transformed into an atelier and home by acclaimed Italian architect and designer Claudio Nardi. A few years later, Nardi, who is known for his work on Krakow’s Museum of Contemporary Art, Dolce & Gabbana boutiques and much more, changed direction again — turning the buildings into a small collection of Loft Studios which are available to guests, just minutes from the center of one of the world’s most celebrated cities.
“I love dualities, shades, scent of the past and contemporary forms and materials,” says Claudio Nardi. “Filled with these sensations, I transformed the spaces that had been my home and my atelier, spaces that are by the riverbank, into a dwelling for guests, into a place that recalls home, journey, contemporary clarity and memories of different styles and cultures, into a place that is homely, light, open, emotional and intense.”
Nardi divided the space into 11 studio apartments, and it’s a striking transformation. Located in a quiet residential area, close to Oltrano, this property is like a small — and extremely chic — country hamlet. The apartments are designed to be both photogenic and relaxing, a combination of modern lines and rich history.
Stone walls with high vaulted ceilings and arched windows contain a blend of multiple eras and cultures, with decor that has been carefully sourced and created. Markets were combed for antiques and Fifties furniture, while pieces like the Sixties-style kitchens were made specifically for the site. Each studio has its own special relationship with the external world with views across the garden to the park and river beyond.
The resulting space is both home and away, offering a mix of the familiar and the new, and a blend of social and private. It’s a welcome retreat from the tourism and bustle of Florence, but if you feel like being just a little social, the studios are centered around communal living areas, as well as a secret garden and dramatic white sandstone pool. When you’re ready, it’s also close enough to dip into and out of the uniquely beautiful UNESCO World Heritage city.
Start the day with a delicious breakfast, sunbathe and enjoy the space. Explore the riverbank and the local park. Alternatively, borrow a vintage bicycle and ride into town, or stroll there gently. You’ll be in Florence, with all of its magic and charm, within half an hour.
To book the Loft Studios by Claudio Nardi, click here.