Home Tour : Francisco Dias’ minimalist and vintage apartment in Lugano

Francisco Dias’ apartment is all about a well-balanced mix of vintage and iconic pieces, spread across a meticulously designed and elegant interior. Contemporary and retro effect, minimalism, great aesthetic result ! From an early age, Francisco began to collect pieces of design and art. The first piece ? The red and blue chair by Gerrit Rietveld, bought with the first earnings, when he still lived with his parents.

While we take a tour, I asked the 41 year-old architect a few questions about himself and his elegant home, nested in the historic center of Lugano, Switzerland.

Francisco Dias seating on Mies Van Rohe’s iconic Barcelona, saved from a closing bank in Lugano – Above his head, a photograph named ‘Houston’ by Luciano Rigolini (1993) – The two vintage chairs are by Joe Colombo (861 Universale – Kartell 1965), bought at Demosmobilia – The table was designed by Francisco – Photo © Tonatiuh Ambrosetti/Daniela Droz.


Two or three things about you…

Born in Portugal in 1970, grew up and raised in Switzerland, architect, currently working at the Swiss Television as scenographer, stage designer and stylist.

Dining room – Charles et Ray Eames’ side chairs (Herman Miller 1950) – Glo-ball pendant light by Jasper Morrison – Photo courtesy of Francisco Dias.

Dining room – Photo courtesy of Francisco Dias.

Where does your taste for design come from ?

As much as I ask myself this question, I can’t find an answer that really satisfies me … My parents worked for over 40 years for the Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum.

And so I had the amazing privilege of living in the Villa Favorita, the sumptuous residence of the Von Thyssen in Lugano, certainly the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen in my entire life. There was no design, but everything was beautiful and wonderful. I was fortunate to grow up among the works of art of the largest collectors in the world ! My taste for beauty certainly comes from there.

Dining room – Mezzadro’s stool designed by Achille Castiglioni (Zanotta, 1957) – Pollo vase (created by Tapio Wirkkala, Rosenthal 1970). On the wall, Fabrizio Giannini’s photographs – Photo © Tonatiuh Ambrosetti/Daniela Droz.

How was the apartment when you first saw it ?

The first time I visited the apartment, it was occupied by a family with two children. And it was crammed with things … so packed!  My job since then has been about ‘subtraction’ and cleaning…

Entryway – Three vases created by an English designer purchased at the Paul Smith shop in Milan – A vintage Danish sideboard – A lithography of Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer’s architectural project of the city of Brasilia (2000), acquired at the Serpentine Gallery, London – Photo © Tonatiuh Ambrosetti/Daniela Droz.

Entryway – Photo courtesy of Francisco Dias.

Your best interior design advice ?

Mies‘ less is more is the best advice I can give.

Living room – Photo courtesy of Francisco Dias.

If I offer you the keys to an exisisting architectural construction, which one would you choose ?

I’d choose any Alvaro Siza‘s house ! But I must say that I am also fascinated by the work of Chilean architect Pezo Von Ellrichshausen – I’d move in his Poli House anytime !

Living room – Vintage Tulip tables by Eero Saarinen – Floor lamp by Pia Guidetti Crippa (Lumi, 1960) – Soriana sofa by Afra e Tobia Scarpa (Cassina 1970) – Photo © Tonatiuh Ambrosetti – Daniela Droz.

Living room –  An orphan chair found in a flea market – Photo © Tonatiuh Ambrosetti – Daniela Droz.

Where do you usually hang out on Sundays ?

In the summer time, often on the lake, sailing, swimming and have drinks with friends… Winter is more about cinemas, museums or just at home brunching, with friends again…

Details of art on the walls – Photo courtesy of Francisco Dias.

Living room details – Photo courtesy of Francisco Dias.

Your favorite artists/designers ?

Artists: Lucian Freud, Leandro Erlich, Tomás Saraceno, and many others… Designers: Eames, Prouvé, Ponti, Castiglioni and again many others…

Your favorite piece in the apartment ?

Surely Serge Mouille’s lamp, even though I love all things that surround me.

Bedroom – Serge Mouille’s floor lamp ‘discussing’ with the iconic Red and Blue chair 635 by Gerrit Rietveld, the very first design piece Francisco bought in his life – Photo courtesy of Francisco Dias.

New or vintage design ?

If I can afford it, vintage of course !

Bedroom details – Photo courtesy of Francisco Dias.

A lack of taste ?

Unfortunately, bad taste is everywhere. Everyday I come across horrible things…

Office – Photo © Tonatiuh Ambrosetti/Daniela Droz

Your next trip ?

I’d like to back to Porto where I discovered Casa do Conto, the most beautiful design hotel I ever been to.

Details of a daybed, books and art – Photo © Tonatiuh Ambrosetti/Daniela Droz

Thank you Francisco !


Home tours is a about showing private homes (apartment, house, loft, studio, bungalow, rooms, decorative details..). If you wish to put forward and share your living space, here is the place where you can do it. Home tours are intended to be a source of inspiration for readers and a fun way for you to participate to this blog. To participate, please have a look at the submission page.

You Might Also Like