To be honest, however, it’s not the home’s exterior that most accurately channels Locatelli’s personality. Inside, the layout is hyper-calibrated to his lifestyle. “I made this house for me, not for show,” he pronounces. For example, he wanted a living room and kitchen where he could entertain easily, so he connected the spaces with a double-height light well that floods the lower level with sunshine, effectively uniting the floors. “If you have friends over, they stay here [in the living room] and in the garden downstairs,” he explains. “It’s really fluid; it becomes one room.”
As you travel upward, though, the spaces become more private. On the next level there is a TV room and reading nook furnished with custom bookshelves and a plush sofa, then a guest room, complete with en suite sauna. Finally, up the narrow iron staircase to the top floor is Locatelli’s own personal quarters, which comprise his bedroom, a bathroom outfitted with a forest-green marble sink he had manufactured in Vietnam, and a small terrace overlooking the neighborhood.
In decorating the house, Locatelli was restrained, even dogmatically so. “I didn’t want the distraction of design elements that were too strong,” he adds, further explaining that he is fed up with the current formula of trendy interior design: one expensive flat sofa, two extravagant accent chairs, and, perhaps, a daybed. Instead, he poured his energy into finding materials that he describes as having “intelligence.” The black slate that lines the living room floor, for example, is meant to accrue character with every scuff and scratch, while the kitchen’s sleek concrete and pebble terrazzo doubles as a layer of insulation and staves off humidity. In fact, the home’s most eye-catching feature is hidden entirely from view: a vibrant yellow bar concealed in a living room closet. “It’s like a little jewelry box,” he says of the uncharacteristically playful element. “You open it and there is a diamond inside.”
That’s not to say the pieces he did include aren’t pedigreed—they are. But he chose understated objects that were largely unplaceable to all but the well-trained eye: two Enzo Mari Cugino tables in the kitchen (his desk from architecture school), which sit next to a wood table made by Locatelli himself; an ascetic steel bed by Le Corbusier from the Immeuble Molitor apartment building in Paris; and his prized possession, an unassuming worn-wood side table from the 1961 La Tourette convent near Lyon, France, also by the Swiss master. “It doesn’t say anything to anybody; it’s just there so the cats can jump out of the window,” he insists with an indifferent sweep of his hand, implying that even an object as prized to collectors as this stool is only as good as its function. “The point is that we don’t need these things,” he continues. “My approach to the house and to its objects and to my way of living in the house was to carve out a little more truth. I just want to be comfortable here talking to you.”