The wonderful memories of Hotel Pellicano throught the eyes of Slim Aarons, John Swope and Juergen Teller

If photography is that which grasps its own era in image, then Hotel Il Pellicano is probably one of the most intriguing photo books published in recent years. It features the work of a world famed trio of photographers – Slim Aarons, John Swope and Juergen Teller – who have been documenting the insouciant high living of famed personalities and guests of a peculiar artistic aristocracy since the early 60s. This luxury tome edited by Rizzoli was conceived by Il Pellicano owner Roberto Sciò’s leggy daughter, 33-years-old Roman architect and interior designer Marie Louise Sciò, who’s also the manager of this alluring and yet homey resort of suites and cottages one hour north of Rome, built over a delicate cliff overlooking a unique Mediterranean sunset. We talked to her about the book, her activities and upcoming projects.
Satellite Voices: When did you first have the idea of such book?
Marie Louise Sciò:
I was doing research when I was re-launching and remodelling Il Pellicano five years ago and I referenced many of Slim Aarons books as I love his work. Slim was a family friend and used to come to Il Pellicano for over 25 years during which he shot many pictures, so I first thought of using his vast archive. Then with fabulous editor Robert Violette, we decided to involve John Swope’s and Juergen Teller’s work as well.

SV: This book covers about 45 years of celebrity candid moments – what are your memories of this environment as a child?
Marie Louise Sciò:
I have so many wonderful memories. Growing up in a hotel made me feel a little like Eloïse at the plaza. It was wonderful spying on the “grown ups” and the fabulous parties they had. My parents organized these magical gala nights on Friday evenings where women wore long dresses and turbans and the men were smashing in sear sucker suites. Everyone was so elegant and chic.

SV: Slim Aarons, John Swope and Juergen Teller have quite different styles – what’s their peculiar contribution to the book?
Marie Louise Sciò:
John Swope’s pictures document the early days at the hotel in black and white. The people photographed back then were really composed and polished compared to today. In Aaron Slim’s pictures you can really see the changing of an era, the late 60s to 80s were really booming, grand and joyous. Juergen Teller’s pictures were taken during a summer week he spent at the hotel. I love the honesty of Juergen’s work, he manages to capture the essence of what he sees in a uncompromising manner and has a vision that transcends time and space. The common thread between all three is indeed the spontaneity and the freedom they capture.

SV: Irony and sense of tradition are present elements in you creations – what’s the process of conceiving a pure item of design?
Marie Louise Sciò: Irony would be step number one in all my product designs but also in life, I believe. At RISD we were really taught to think out of the box, to rethink and push the boundaries, challenge and question everything. Like in everyday life, the same goes for design, rethink what were are accustomed to seeing in predefined manner.

SV: What are your next projects?
Marie Louise Sciò:
I’m always doing creative projects in some form or another: a piece of jewellery, tiles, wallpapers, an apartment in Paris. I addition, I am relaunching La Posta Vecchia, another family propriety close to Rome, which once was one of Paul Getty’s residences. As of late, I’m working on two more books again with Mr. Teller and Robert Violette. Lots to do, but so much fun.
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