Each month, we speak with some of the country’s leading experts in style, art and design on all things Sprezzatura.
At Espresso di Manfredi we are inspired to partner with skilled artisans and crafts people, producers and personnel who share our core brand values and display that certain sense of Sprezzatura, and who may assist us in our constant endeavour to deliver a unique and finesse customer experience.
Luigi Rosselli, is the talented architect behind the Manfredi Restaurant, Balla.
How did you develop your passion for design?
I knew at [the age of] 8, I wanted to follow in the steps of my father who was an engineer; I emulated his bridge designs in Lego and challenged my four years older brother, who became an engineer. As a Milanese child and teenager I was lucky to meet local artists Giorgio di Chirico and Rosita Missoni, my family was surrounded by architects and designers and they were revered as weather makers of the Italian post war boom.
Where do you look for inspiration?
I lived in a house inspired by Alvar Aalto, so I have him in my subconscious, Adolf Loos and Alvaro Siza are also great influences on my work, however I also draw inspiration from clients and the sites they bring me.
How would you describe your personal design aesthetic?
Having an international pedigree and upbringing my designs are not part of the local architectural trends and habits, as such ‘distinctive’ would be the first word I would choose to describe my design aesthetic, the second attribute would be ‘fluidity’, I tend to break the square box to mould my buildings to the human psychology and needs. The third word I would use to describe my work is ‘gravity’, as I believe that every construction represents the rising off the ground of heavy materials, placing the heavier ones at the base lightening up towards the top.
What is your favourite design element of Balla?
My favourite elements of the [Balla} design are the concrete trusses that reference the bridges of the Navigli canals, and the tree-like, mosaic tiled columns in the main dining room, which were inspired by Leonardo Da Vinci’s frescoed pergola that adorns Milan’s Sforza castle.
What was your driving inspiration behind Balla?
The driving inspiration behind Balla the shared Milanese heritage of Stefano [Manfredi] and I, which was once the industrial heartland of Italy and heavily influenced the design and materials choices for Balla. It is a nostalgic view of our hometown as businesses have now left empty the industrial cathedrals to make space for creative and tertiary services.
What defines style in your eyes?
Style is an effortless and uncontrived convergence of attractive materials, proportions, light and shade to form a place that speaks to one’s heart.
Who epitomises sprezzatura for you?
Sprezzatura does not exist if sought after, it is an affectation if forced; a good example of sprezzatura is an elegant lady riding a city bicycle helmetless with her scarf fluttering in her wake, or the perfect roll of a boccia on a gravelled square, or the music of Nino Rota in a Fellini film.