Reprinted with permission from The Underground Milkmaid
It is well known that Italy produces some of the most important designers in the world. Synonymous with quality and style, whether in fashion or home décor, we have all been influenced by what comes out of Italy every year. Todos Santos is fortunate to have quite a number of Italian ex pats living amongst us, and that is the reason Italian architect/builder Gaddo Piazzesi and his wife, Elisa, (Titti to friends), decided to stay, after visiting his mother here nearly 4 years ago. (Mom, Sandra Ugolini, has been a local resident for 15 years).
His Italian Todos Santos friends insisted he stay to help them build their homes. Born in Florence in 1971, Gaddo was educated at the University of Florence, where he met, Elisa, also an architect. He worked at his dad´s architecture firm for 10 years, but felt constricted by the Italian restrictions and protections of all the historic buildings there. He was not allowed to freely express his leanings towards modern, contemporary architecture, since 90% of the available projects were remodels of historic buildings.
Coming from Italy´s use of traditional stone, marble, and wood, it was at first daunting and challenging to learn the different materials to work with here in Baja. When unable to find the doors and windows he envisioned using in his designs, he recreated them with local welders, using steel, and is pleased with the results.
Gaddo loves the freedom he has here to apply his contemporary ideas and really likes the simplicity of the local technique of pulido finishes. Pulido reminds him of Piedra Serena, the typical gray stone of Florence. Its plasticity allows him to create built-in furniture, rising up from the floor, integrating it as part of the house…all one. He has a clean, minimalist style, and loves huge windows that can take in the beautiful nature, landscape, and light found here.
When asked about his feelings about the future of Todos Santos, Gaddo says he has a dream. He feels we are currently on the edge of finding direction, and hopes the community will unite, (as happened with the fight against the gold mining), to preserve the lifestyle we enjoy here in Todos Santos…and that we will not be transformed into “a Cabo San Lucas or Cancun”… with huge development that changes the soul of the town.
Gaddo and Elisa recently located their office to the corner of Juarez and Topete. They make a very well balanced team, with Gaddo focused on the structural design, engineering, and technical side of things and Elisa, who specialized in historical and interior design in Italy, assists clients with their décor. They have plenty of work from the Italian ex pats because, as Italians, they all know the vigorous training required to become an architect or designer there, therefore clients feel confident knowing they can trust their knowledge and experience. So Gaddo has definitely found himself a niche market here, and intends to stay forever, or until he gets bored!
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