by Vivien Lee

The Baxter-owned lakeside villa in Como will soon be transformed into a branded hotel, but until then the Italian design brand uses it as a showcase for their most recent collection. This includes new pieces by Studiopepe, whose mauve lacquered Dharma chair complements the pastel-colored leather upholstery Baxter is so famous for. Photographed by Francesco Imbriani for PIN–UP.

Lake Como is among northern Italy’s biggest tourist destinations. From the resplendent mansions on the water’s edge — think Villa d’Este or Villa Carlotta — to the sights and restaurants in the city of Como, there is plenty to discover, and not just for day-tripping Milanese. Como also attracts those whose interest in architecture extends beyond its 14th-century cathedral, for example to the work of Como resident Giuseppe Terragni, the Italian Rationalist best-known for the city’s 1936 Casa del Fascio. But there are Terragni and other Modernist gems all over the region, which bring in boatloads of sophisticated architecture lovers throughout the year. “Como and its architecture offer multiple perspectives that make you appreciate different views, which are highlighted by the lake. There’s respect for new interventions here, but the DNA is always maintained,” says Paolo Bestetti, the 58-year-old CEO of Baxter, the Brianza-based design company known for its low-slung sofascapes in specially treated leather by design stars such as Paola Navone, Christophe Delcourt, or Studiopepe. Bestetti notes that Como’s design and architecture DNA is what drove him to buy a small 1902 villa there, high up in the hills above the city, to serve as an immersive showcase for the brand.

View over Lake Como from Baxter’s Casa Sul Lago, a Belle Epoque-style villa that showcases the brand’s many furniture collections designed by the likes of Christophe Delcourt, Paola Navone, or Studiopepe. Photographed by Francesco Imbriani for PIN–UP.

The FANY table by Christophe Delcourt (2021) comes with a glass top supported by a sculptural leather and marble base. Photographed by Francesco Imbriani for PIN–UP.

When Baxter Lago first opened to the public, in the spring of 2022, it was as a showroom for the in-house collection, displaying dining tables, outdoor daybeds, marble coffee tables, leather armchairs, and textural wool rugs. But Bestetti always had more ambitious plans for the house — an exclusive Baxter hotel. “The goal is to create a 360-degree guest experience that leads to the pleasure of staying in a home,” explains Bestetti. When it opens (exact date to be announced), the hotel will welcome just 18 guests in an atmosphere of cozy domestic privacy and gracious living: a poolside terrace for relaxing, a living room for entertaining, a kitchen for conviviality, a study for reflection, all commanding the impressive scenery of Lake Como, which can also be enjoyed from the Baxter Lago yacht. The renovation seeks to preserve the building’s Belle Epoque fabric and spirit of opulence — playfully aware of Como’s rich material history, Baxter Lago represents what makes the region so special. “It’s a fascinating part of the world to explore,” affirms Bestetti. “When you stay here, I don’t want you to feel like you’re in a hotel, I want you to feel at home.”

View of the upstairs lounge area, outfitted with Baxter’s line of Himani rugs, which combine geometric patterns with different wool densities. Photographed by Francesco Imbriani for PIN–UP.