Found - February 15, 2021

Found: The Lava Stone Tiles at Villa Baroni Iblei

By Roshan McArthur

When you first see Villa Baroni Iblei in Sicily, you can’t fail to notice its tiles. Luminous squares, rectangles and hexagons that line its walls, both inside and out, they bring the contemporary farmhouse to life in splashes of vivid color. The eye-catching aqua, teal and gold tiles of the terrace are echoed on the wall of the open-plan living room, and each bed has its own unique headboard — in shades of sea green, wine and mustard.

These installations mimic the atmosphere of the surrounding island, and turn this home into a visual feast. But what’s the story behind them?

Villa Baroni Iblei was created in 2016 by two friends Carlo and Mauro, a landscape agronomist and an entrepreneur, who wanted a space that was connected to the landscape of Sicily. Tucked into the Val di Noto, the villa is just that — part of a working farm, surrounded by ancient olive, almond and carob trees, as well as fields of thyme.

“From this unique island they kept the feeling of borgo – a typical Sicilian concept of creating a home with several smaller and simple buildings,” their representative Massimo Provenza tells us. “The stone used throughout is the local limestone from the immediate area of Noto and Ispica.”

The tiles, however, are made from ceramized lava stone by celebrated designer Rosario Parrinello. His company, Made a Mano, is based in Caltagirone, just 60km from the volcanic slopes of Mount Etna. All tiles are made free-hand from local stone, and the colors applied with a brush.

The installation of the lava stone tiles at Villa Baroni Iblei was intended to create “a sense of confusion between inside and outside,” says Massimo. “The combination of the imperfections so usual in nature, and the festive glossiness, is a fierce description of Sicily itself, emphasizing both its ruggedness and its elegance.

“Add to this the striking colors inspired by the greens of the island’s countryside,” he adds, “the blues of the sea and sky, the rich plum reminiscent of our red wines… Their various natural shades depict the many characteristics that the owners fell in love with when they first came to Sicily as visitors from northern Italy.”

As we said, the result is a feast for the eyes, well worth experiencing in person. To book a stay at Villa Baroni Iblei, click here.