Here in Spezyale the red ochre of the earth reflects off the surface of our morning coffee. On a clear day a pastel blue and light cerulean hue comes shimmering down as if from above. When it rains it appears icy, indigo, and leaden like. A blue is never simply just blue, there is no trace of grey, that is except in the ever changing compromise that takes place thanks to how the earth and sky mutually mirror each other. We mark down the colours in our notebooks, we photograph them, and we draw from nature the infinite reservoir of possibilities that the light offers.
We learned how to do this on our work tables back in Milan, or in Paris, and here in Spezyale we put into practice, hands on, all the theoretical knowledge we have accumulated through years of experience. We are not interested in creating a gilded “retreat” in the Apulian countryside: the Spezyale dimension is all about the project, one which moves towards the future. It is a port that exists only because it is likewise a base for new departures. Coming and going, here we re-open luggage and tool boxes, and our experience intermingles with all the things we have gleaned from Puglia so far which have inspired us.
Speziale, the hamlet, therefore becomes Spezyale, our creative project that gets renewed every day.
Those who come here happen to be like minded and have a similar outlook to ours. Extremely wonderful experiments tend to come about as a result. In the morning, we take our coffee, and we take it barefoot. A “Stairway to Heaven” – this is how we renamed our little home paradise – a resin floor gives shape to a modern “carpet” on which to move about freely while contemplating the ancient loom work underfoot, so reminiscent of days gone by – a carpet of cord worked soutage style – imprisoned below as if by magic.
Even the house next door, another project with the Spezyale mark, is completely designed on the interior with fabrics. We chose them carefully from the extraordinary pattern archives kept by a group of skilled weavers called Le Costantine, from Casamassella, in the lower region of the Salento area. But tradition is not enough for us: even though the designs are from once upon a time ago, the colours are contemporary and have been renewed, making it so they manage to speak a universal language.
Walking along the pathway that crosses Speziale, those who know music will have the surprise of “seeing” a song by the Beatles materialize in the shape of a tower made of tuff stone. This is “Lucy”, our tribute to “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”, of which the outer wall of it is criss-crossed with a veritable musical staff, or stave of yellow, blue and purple notes.
While going in the direction which leads to the Coastal Dune Park, we find ourselves immersed in the countryside. After just a few steps the pure white “Ottava Bianca” can be seen rising off on the horizon, a 17th century farm estate, another one of our many works in progress. This is where a farm holding is being realized, complete with an accommodation facility and a meeting place where international gastronomic excellence can be celebrated, starting from the oil that is being produced on site.
The olive trees at Ottava Bianca all have a number assigned to them. Our favourite is number zero: we found him in a dying state and, now recovered, he has become the “mascot” of the garden designed with olive and almond trees all around, and a variety of unconventional species of prickly pears and other plants native to the Mediterranean.
If our morning coffee is a long ritual in intermingling, then the afternoon one, at our nearby Atelier Spezyale of Cisternino, is where all we are inspired by gets translated into projects and designs. This is also a base for us: not a shop, more like something between a concept store and a cultural space; it is the dynamic center of our work, which is also the main engine behind the ideas we wish to share. The idea is that it may turn into a project that travels: just as happens every morning in the skies over the countryside, a reverberation coming from the town of Cisternino can reach the city of Lecce, or Milan or Paris, or even New York. This is the Spezyale dimension.