The story of Villa Bombrini, the amazing building that hosts our little office.
Written by Federico Fasce on March 12th, 2014
Inside Villa Bombrini
Let’s talk a little about the place where we are currently working in. As you may know, we recently moved into this incredible villa located in the west border of the town. So, I’d like to tell you a bit about the history of the place, which have influenced through the years the entire neighborhood.
Villa Durazzo Bombrini is a remarkable example of 18 century residential architecture. It has been designed and built to serve as a residential house for the marquise Giacomo Filippo II Durazzo. In the late 19th century the villa became the residential home for the summer of the Italian royal family, Savoia, that used it mainly to accomodate their son, Oddone, which was extremely sick and needed a constant exposition to the sea. Oddone eventually passed away in 1866 and the building was sold to the Bombrini family. For the most part the villa is intact. It has a big marble staircase, wide rooms with frescoes, and a small garden with a lot of rather mysterious statues (that’s not quite the original garden, which was made smaller to let the railway pass in 1865).
Moving through the twentieth century, the villa has become the office for several italian industries (mainly Ansaldo and Italsider). Here, in the neighborhood called Cornigliano, the industry grew stronger and stronger. The neighborhood morphed from a residential station to the home of factory workers. Steel started to take control. Only a few meters away from the sea, people was making things: planes, submarines, all kinds of stuff. It became quite polluted, of course, and the blue of the sea was substituted by the black-grey of coal and the red-yellow glow of the furnaces.
But then the industrial revolution came to its natural end, and the information-era started sending its binary signals through the air. It has been a long, painful and difficult process, but eventually the steelworks started to be dismissed. And now the area is undergoing a riqualification. It’s still somewhat long, but things are changing. Since 2008 Villa Durazzo Bombrini is the home of the Genova Liguria Film Commission, a no-profit organisation which promotes the use of our territory as a setting for movies, and helps small video-production companies to complete and promote their works.
Year after year, they built a business accelerator (PPAC) aimed to independent creative productions: you can find sound designers, documentary directors, graphic and product designers, cartoonists, web designers. And now game designers and developers too. We are super happy to be a part of it and we hope to be the first team of a future Genoese game developers scene.
The Film Commission’s offices look like a museum of moving image themselves, with a very inspiring collection of old mechanical movie equipment. The gardens are still there, a great place to chill out and refresh our minds during spring and summer. And we kinda feel the energy of a place where, through the last century, people built amazing stuff. Now we’re here, and proud of it.