Inside an unexpectedly English home in Latin America
Chilean design duo Grisanti & Cussen turn up the baroque beauty in this Santiago home, and add just a touch of Wes Anderson-style whimsy
Within the pages of Inside, you can see how the role of the interior designer is subtly different in different locations around the world. This new book gathers together images of 60 homes belonging to some of the globe’s most important decorators, designers and interior architects. Turn to the pages detailing a New York dwelling, and you’ll understand how a relatively small space apartment can gain an enriching depth; go onto a country retreat in England’s Cotswolds, and you’ll appreciate how an ancient farmhouse can take on the kind of calm, linear minimalism you may more closely associate with the big city; turn over a few pages to a Hong Kong home, and you’ll see how the designer has responded to local history and geography in ways that are quite distinct from the Miami apartment a few spreads further along, despite both homes benefiting from fine sea views.
These challenges and opportunities are perhaps most apparent in the work of Chilean duo Hugo Grisanti and Kana Cussen. ‘When looking at an interior designed by Grisanti & Cussen, it is nearly impossible to tell the origins of the room, where or when it is from," reads the text in Inside.
“Each space the Santiago-based firm conceives is an aesthetic mélange reflecting the founders’ multicultural upbringings,” the entry text continues. “While architect Hugo Grisanti and designer Kana Cussen are united in their maximalist sensibility and admiration of history; the business partners strive to produce individual experiences in all of their projects. ‘We work very cinematically, with many layers and references in our interiors,’ says Grisanti.”
Consider Grisanti’s own home, an English-style house built in the 1940s in Santiago’s traditional Providencia neighbourhood. The pair kept much of the building's original features, but chose to change the colour scheme completely.
“Whereas most of their clients hope to dabble with colour in their own spaces, Grisanti and Cussen relished in the intensity with which they could paint this private residence — resulting in a symphony of cerulean, verdant, and coral tones,” explains the book. “In January 2021, as part of a larger redecorating process, they even repainted the walls in punchier hues as a response to the joy and freedom they felt coming out of the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Those bold choices are complemented with equally audacious furnishing and artworks. “While Grisanti and Cussen source items from around the globe, they always spotlight Latin American artists and makers,” the book goes on to say. “In addition to textiles from Ecuador and Bolivia, there are works by contemporary Chilean artists, such as Cecilia Avendaño and Matilde Pérez, as well as a living room sofa by Mario Matta, one of Chile’s leading furniture designers and the brother of preeminent Surrealist and Abstract Expressionist Roberto Matta.
It’s a wonderfully striking home throughout, but Inside focuses on the bedroom (pictured above), which features its own living area. “There, a rug and chairs by Gianni Versace are complemented by two large Stanley Gonczanski paintings that have an exaggerated, baroque-contemporary feel. Perhaps more than any other part of the home, the bedroom illustrates the designers’ humorous and fun sides.”
It’s a personal work, with both local, and international reference points, equally well suited to a wandering English gentleman and a Latino aesthete; though it could serve other purposes too. “Combined with unabashed colour, the firm’s signature, every room bubbles over with personality, as though it is a liveable Wes Anderson set,” concludes Inside.