Conversation with Pino Cau of CasaCau
A cluster of apartments in a 17th-century palazzo in the heart of Rome, two minutes from the Trevi Fountain, CasaCau is like a bubble of calm and good taste. Although each apartment has a different size and inspiration, the feeling is the same. The spirit of the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies flows through them.
Their owner, Pino Cau, keeps an eye on every detail, from the lighting to the way the linen is modeled on a collectible sofa. It’s a rare and discreet touch of luxury in one of the most visited cities in the world.
WHAT’S THE STORY BEHIND CASACAU?
Pino Cau: “I was born in Rome, but my family is from Sardinia. My father had a small hotel when I was a kid. In 2011, I bought a first apartment in this palazzo for myself. Now I have seven apartments to rent in the same building, and I don’t live here anymore [laughs].
“I chose this area by chance. It’s one of the most touristic in the city. This is why I wanted a ‘casa’ that’s like a bubble of tranquility and serenity. When it’s so crowded outside, it must be so quiet inside. The difference makes the interest! Here, everything is very private. The first name of this place was ‘privato’. The name has changed, but the spirit still the same.”
IS THERE A SPECIAL MOOD HERE?
PC: “I lived here for one year to think about my project in this building. After that year, I told myself: OK, this is a good place. I decided to restore those old doors, to keep those ancient tiles… and so on. This palazzo was not an aristocratic place. It was close to the Quirinal [presidential palace], where the domestics lived. So the materials are not sophisticated but simple. All the beauty of this place is in this kind of simplicity. This is what I wanted to respect in the building.
“For example, the ceiling is still like an old Roman ceiling without fake decoration. The second floor was a kitchen, and the floor is still the same today. Of course, we washed and restored it, but we kept this kitchen because, in my opinion, if this kitchen was there, it was not without reason.
“Contemporary architects sometimes want to change everything in a palazzo like this one. Ten years later, they come back and change it again… sometimes back to the original! My idea was to keep as much as possible the original plan of the house. I used furniture from the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies because their design is simple and clear. It works well with this kind of architecture. The respect of the place: this is a part of the CasaCau’s spirit.”
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CASACAU AND A HOTEL?
PC: “I also manage Hotel Rex, a 60-room, four-star hotel in Rome. So I really can tell you the difference between a classic hotel and CasaCau. For me, CasaCau is somewhere between a small hotel and a big private house! You have the service of a hotel, but the quality of life and the privacy of your home.
"Let me tell you something: for 10 years, these kinds of places have totally changed the way to do business. Most of the classic hotels do not understood this. They are still doing business like they did 30 years ago. They did not see that clients are looking for services of course, but also space and something less formal. How you enjoy your weekend is definitely not the same here!”
WOULD YOU SAY THAT CASACAU IS A LUXURY HOUSE?
PC: “For me today, luxury is space, quiet, breakfast outdoors with fresh croissants, someone to welcome you at the airport… This is the way CasaCau understands luxury.”
DO YOU SEE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A CLIENT FROM BOUTIQUEHOMES AND THE OTHERS?
PC: “On the internet, finding a unique place to stay and enjoy is not so easy. You can do it with BoutiqueHomes. The clients from BH want something different. They need the right context.”