Isacco Brioschi's New Classic illusionism in a Victorian building in the heart of London

News Infurma27/02/2020
Isacco Brioschi's New Classic illusionism in a Victorian building in the heart of London

Who knows what Princess Leia would have thought of seeing her home in London South Kensigton completely renovated

The five-story building in South Kensington, in typical Victorian style, unique in its extraordinary view of the park, should have been Carrie Fisher's home in London. Due to the premature death of the American actress in December 2016, the home was bought by an English couple with children, a lover of classic Italian taste, who two years ago assigned the important renovation of the mansion to the Milanese architect Isacco Brioschi.

The challenge for the designer was redesigning the spaces and decorating them according to a New Classic taste blended with Italian touches, which gives the living spaces both an image of prestigiousness and an allure of conviviality, keeping within the architectural constraints of the English legislation, which strictly protects buildings of this type.

The starting point for architect Isacco Brioschi was to find ways and solutions to combine English and Italian style in a harmonious and refined frame. To overcome the architectural limitations, Isacco Brioschi has created a feeling of space illusionism: establishing aesthetic and sensorial connections by using different materials, paired together because they are attracted to each other like magnets.

Perspectives in which the dimensions lose their meaning, tamed to an amusing rhythmic law. The runner that covers the stairs (leading from the entrance to the first floor) is in wool and silk in various shades of grey and is crossed by an asymmetrical line that creates the illusion of contrast between light and shadow, giving the eye an alternative perspective.

The design of the elegant and precious boiserie of the two living rooms on the first floor followed a reinterpretation of the French neoclassical style of the late eighteenth century: two types of monochromatic wall covering characterized by great texture, alternately framed by champagnecolored brass profiles that suggest a sense of luxury and three-dimensionality. The mirrors placed in strategic positions, along with the use of the wallpapers and certain furnishing elements, help create the optical illusion of widening all the spaces.

The same illusion applies to the wall of the master bathroom, wherein the storage compartments disappear behind doors that are made of the same natural stone that covers the entire room.

The pure and simple essence of these lines have been skilfully manipulated, both in the structure and in the clever use of the furniture. This helps to visually enlarge the internal spaces and give them an added perspective as if they were painted on a canvas.

Each element of the project has been Made in Italy by Italian artisans, following the design proposed by architect Isacco Brioschi. These include the finest of Italian marbles, the Italian chevron solid wood floor coverings, the luxury brass finishes, the elegant panelling, and all the furniture pieces and lighting fixtures.

The ground floor and mezzanine


At the entrance we find the clever placement of mirrors and lines that expands and enhances the space; irregular rhythms mark an eclectic but at the same time elegant visual contrast, thanks to the materials used, such as marble and satin brass. The runner that covers the stairs to the first floor, has been woven in wool and silk and varying shades of grey, in which the asymmetrical line creates the illusory contrast between light and shadow.

The walls coated with lime putty support the illusion of spaciousness in line with the mirrored surfaces, upon which the light of the sconces and ceiling lights is reflected, all designed by the architect. All the lights by LuceTu are handmade by the finest Italian artisans and the furniture has been designed and custom made specifically for this project by Turri Giosuč and Mosč.

Dining Room

A special luminescent wallpaper covers the walls of the dining room to reflect both natural light and the artificial light of the wall lights “Scůr & Ciar”, designed by the architect for LuceTu, and creates a magical atmosphere for a dinner, suggesting the “candlelight” effect.

Under the sconces are two consoles covered in ivory parchment, again based on a design by the architect. The floor is a Chevron wood in solid smoked oak, with a stone edging border. “Concorde” table with Calacatta Gold (Poliform) marble top, “Connie” grey armchairs (Porada). “Dot” gold finish chandelier (Lambert & Fils). A brass vase has been cleverly installed on the window sill to prevent curious eyes from the outside. Custom furniture Turri Giosuč and Mosč.


Stone strips and borders have been strategically inserted in the chevron wood floor in solid smoked oak to be used as both a decorative element and a functional protection against kitchen splashes. The hyper-textured ceramic coated backsplash in cream-colored antiqued clay (Domenico Mori) is the right counterpart to the metallic finish of the kitchen (Boffi). “Saint Louis” lighting suspensions by Ceccotti.

Living Area & Wine Cellar

Overlooking the inner courtyard, from the small but bright living room, furnished with the Viennese straw of the “Targa” lounge chairs (Gebruder Thonet Vienna) and with walls covered in lime-gray pearl, you enter the sought-after winery, inspired by the houses of Portofino.

An intimate environment has been created, where the wallpaper changes color from floor to ceiling and each color is separated by a thin brass line. The surface is dotted with custom designed lamps made by LuceTu.

The floor is a smoked oak wooden chevron with a natural stone edging. The bar has been designed with a refined Italian marble top and is covered in brass. The stools are by “Decor” by Baxter. The bar and the large wine cellar concealed by the glass wall are the undisputed heroes of this project. The smoked glass wall of the winery is protected by a metal mesh, inserted into the glass, to protect the wine bottles from the light coming from the adjacent window. Custom furniture Turri Giosuč y Mosč.

First Floor

Formal Living Area

To meet the demands of a living room that was both formal and intimate, the architect divided the space into two areas with identical finishes in the panelling, both with a natural stone fireplace, separable by a sliding door and then furnished in two different styles.

The elegant and precious panelling, designed by the architect, is a reinterpretation of the French neoclassical style of the late eighteenth century: two types of monochromatic wall covering characterized by great texture, alternately framed by champagne-colored brass profiles that suggest a sense of luxury and three-dimensionality.

The mirrors placed in strategic positions, along with the use of the wallpapers and certain furnishing elements, help create the optical illusion of widening all the spaces.

The lines and the wallpapers are taken up in part on some furnishing elements, creating a visual continuity, interrupted only by the mirrors placed in strategic positions.

In the more formal living area two “New Tone” sofas with classic and curved lines have been installed with pearl grey velvet (Moroso) and a “Husk” (Moroso) armchair. The floor lamps and table in colored blown glass are “Ballons” (Brokis), wall sconces in polished brass with white glass globe “Tip of The Tongue” (Michael Anastassiades), while the oval chandelier in brushed brass is “Halo” (Ron & Hill). Console furniture designed by the studio Isacco Brioschi Architects.

Informal Living Area

The more informal space has been furnished with a large “Madison” sofa upholstered in blue velvet (Fendi Home), combined with a vintage armchair covered with Dedon fabric. The wall sconce is “Gloo” (Penta Light), the floor lamp with sculptural base in white Carrara marble is “Je Suis” (Penta Light), “Cclight” light bookcase (Natevo), “Twelve” tables (Gallotti & Radice). Custom furniture Turri Giosuč y Mosč.

Guest Bathroom

There was little space available to design a guest bathroom and yet elegance was imperative: the solution was to completely cover one of the walls with Calacatta gold marble slabs and have a custom-made wash basin built in the same precious stone. This structure was combined with a mirror and accessory holder manufactured in champagne brass. All the tap wear is designed by Rubinetterie Fantini in accordance with the architect .

Second Floor

Master Bedroom

Someone with a careful eye for detail, will appreciate the use of the refined and precious materials in this master bedroom. The walls were covered with upholstered panels of intertwined Alcantara fabric, that create a three-dimensional effect and are alternated with Vescom's natural linen wallpaper. Everything has been specifically designed and made by the best Italian artisans. The linen that covers the walls was also used to make the lampshades for the lamps inserted in the consoles, all designed and tailor made by the architect Isacco Brioschi. One of the consoles has doors in Emperador Dark marble which matches the marble from the top layer of the petineuse. The bedside tables are “Jok” (Porada), chandelier suspension on the sides of the “Fulcrum” bed (Lee Broom). Custom furniture Turri Giosuč y Mosč.

Master bathroom

The master bathroom is covered with a Greek limestone, and the wall opposite the two hand basins is equipped with a series of storage compartments with stone doors and nooks covered in satin brass. The large spa shower room is fully equipped with light RGB chromotherapy, which hides practical shelves behind the iridescent and reflective ceramic (Laminam) backdrop. Both the washbasins and all the furniture and accessories have been custom designed by the architect. All the tap wear has been designed by Rubinetterie Fantini.

Third Floor

Children's bathroom

A very simple and essential bathroom, where the only quirky elements are the tile covering in terracotta tones (41zero42), the large Corian bathtub is designed by the architect as well as cabinet and sink, wall mounted lamp is Gugia (LuceTu).

The basement and the outdoor area


A decoration made by hand with a sage-green forest subject for the walls of the playroom.

Guest Bathroom Basement Floor

Placed next to the children's play area, but designed to be used by guests as well, the bathroom walls have been covered with a tropicalia style wallpaper, which contrasts with the light colored floor in nuanced ceramic by Lago Ceramiche. Taps by Rubinetterie Fantini.

Children Bathroom Basement Floor

Teal lacquered bathroom cabinet with brass finishes, designed by the architect. Custom furniture Turri Giosuč e Mosč. Taps by Rubinetterie Fantini.


The external courtyard is the only outdoor space in the house, paved with an ecological material similar to teak. Geometry and atmosphere of this small private and collected space have been respected. Old Victorian parapets have been reused, decorated with soft but fresh colors, also in consideration of the London weather.

The boundaries are traced by the partition of slatted wood lacquered in sage green, on which the outdoor sconces in antiqued brass in the shape of a lantern (Il Fanale) and the cerulean table and chair furnishings of the Park Life collection and the rocking chair “Vieques” by (Kettal), have been staged. At the rear of the courtyard, the vertical garden, “Greenery” in weathered steel (Paola Lenti), magically closes this scene.

Source: Isacco Brioschi Architects
Photos by Simone Furiosi
Visit the Isacco Brioschi website

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