Casa Fantini: a hotel like a home at Lake Orta

by Jenine Principe

Compasses Magazine

To the west of Lake Maggiore, between the mountains of Valstrona and the nearby Valsesia, lies Lake Orta, which, surrounded by small hill towns, welcomes in its waters the Island of San Giulio, where tradition tells that the Saint defeated dragons and snakes. Besides hosting the homonymous Basilica of the 4th century – frescoed by Gaudenzio Ferrari and his students – the island gives life to one of the most suggestive Italian landscapes.

Always linked to the lake’s history thanks to its strategic position, Pella, a village in the province of Novara with just over a thousand inhabitants populated since the Iron Age, in 1529 participated in the defeat of the army of Charles V of Spain. Today, Pella stands out for a thriving industrial sector: it is in fact the headquarters of Fantini Rubinetti and the place where Daniela Fantini, entrepreneur at the head of the historic brand, was born, lives and works.

At Pella, Daniela Fantini asked Piero Lissoni to design a small and refined hotel, having the objective of both constituting a permanent exhibition of the best products of the company and, above all, representing a precise idea of hospitality, in the name of the so-called “lake-time” spirit: with just nine rooms and two suites, Casa Fantini seems to offer its guests the slow pace that characterizes life on the lake. Each room, in fact, turns its gaze towards the surrounding landscape, which makes you to stop to admire its beauty. The lake is framed on the ground floor by large sliding windows, which, once opened, eliminate any barrier with the exterior scenery. Indeed, the lake is the true heart of the hotel, the undisputed protagonist of most of the design choices.

As in all lake villas, the hotel is accessed through a large garden created in collaboration with Studio Paghera, with walkways in beola stone, which is also used to plate the swimming pool, placed in a secluded position so as not to interrupt the continuity of the lake view. The swimming pool, surrounded by delicate Orson deck chairs by Roda – designed by Gordon Guillaumier –, has a strong symbolic value: water is the dominant element of the landscape and has to be present also inside Casa Fantini.

Separated from the garden, the Blulago Cafè, inside a historical building overlooking a small square on the lakefront, remains available to the entire community: in front of a Brompton shelf – designed by Lissoni for Boffi – a large table in antique wood, enclosed by Ton chairs, further accentuates the convivial atmosphere.

In adherence to the historic building, there is the actual hotel, covered with Accoya wood arranged in staves on the entire façade. The dark colors and the material strength of the building are designed to mitigate its impact on the landscape, which results enriched by an architecture designed to become part of the surroundings.

Wood is present also in the interiors, characterized in the living area by warm and neutral colors: Altai rugs, Mezzadro stools by Zanotta and Lipp sofas by Living Divani rest on the wooden floor by Kerakoll Design House, creating a welcoming and relaxing atmosphere.

The two generously sized suites – over 60 m² – are inside the historical building, while the remaining rooms are distributed over the two floors of the new one. Equipped with a Turkish bath and, of course, with a lake view, the rooms are distinguished by precious materials, design furnishings and Ekinex products, an Italian company famous for its innovations in the field of home automation, guaranteeing maximum luminous and thermal comfort.

The styling of Elisa Ossino accentuates the choices of Lissoni, whose idea, as stated on his website, «was not to build a hotel, [but] to make this place a home»: few rooms, a kitchen, living areas and the extreme care for the details have the aim of putting the guest immediately at ease, just as if one was at home, but living an experience full of suggestions.

Another peculiarity is the presence of an internal greenhouse, created by exploiting a cavaedium in the lounge area, which is immersed in natural light and surrounded by greenery.

Besides being aimed at enhancing the beauties of its homeland, Daniela Fantini’s house is a real declaration of intent: the client’s well-being is of such importance in the company policy that he is greeted within her own domestic walls. Welcome to Casa Fantini.

Lissoni Casal Ribeiro



Casa Fantini


Blu Lago Srl


Pella, Italy

Project Year


Architecture and Design

Lissoni Casal Ribeiro


Piero Lissoni

Project Team

Piero Lissoni, Samuel Lorenzi, Paolo Volpato, Fabrizia Bazzana, Ilia D’Emilio, Ricardo Hernandez, Giacomo Carassale, Marco Guerini


Lissoni Casal Ribeiro and Studio Paghera

Additional Functions

Styling: Elisa Ossino

Studio Rendering: Alberto Massi Mauri, Alessandro Massi Mauri, Matteo Sponza

Size and total area

1.218 m²

Image credits

Giovanni Gastel


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