About a year ago, art consultant Lena Evstafieva, musician Jerome Hadey and Le Baron’s mastermind Lionel Bensemoun joined forces to create this utopic space, of endless possibilities. Ana Kraš, Shaun McDowell, Lola Schnabel or Adan Jodorowsky are some of the artists who have had a residency here, but its doors are opened for anyone in search for the quietest loneliness or the funniest meetings.
Villa Lena is a hotel and art foundation in Tuscany. It is a place where artists and clients all meet and spend time together. Love, art, creativity and sharing are the words that would define it best.
Jerome and Lena, the owners of the property, asked Lionel Bensemoun to help them work on the concept. Together they created a model that although does seem like a dream, it has also become profitable too, so it’s an ideal situation!
In fact, that's not actually what we had in mind, we are neither jet set nor luxury. To us, luxury today is bringing together different people from different backgrounds and to meet, be creative and spend time together. This is what Villa Lena is trying to do.
Villa Lena is on a 500 acres property surrounded by forest, which changes beautifully each season. With the olive and cypress trees, the sun’s lights and the hilly landscapes... It reminds many people of Van Gogh’s paintings. But, at the same time, it is very easily accessible, as it’s located only forty minutes away from Pisa, so it turns out to be a pretty good balance in the end.
We wanted to make apartments in which every one could feel at home, not too personalized that is. Besides, we didn’t want to buy or build too much, for both environmental and budget reasons. So we used a lot of what was there already, we did what we referred to as ‘home–staging’. The spaces were already so strong, the 6 meters high ceilings, the huge fireplaces, the apparent beams... So it just needed some painting and nice furnishing. Clarisse Demory took care of that aspect, going to second hand stores all around Italy, where she actually did some lucky finds of designer pieces.
Our vision of luxury is to be free from anything that is not useful. Therefore, basic and simple comfort speaks to us. It’s easy to be eco–friendly if you think that way! Our kitchen is almost self–sufficient thanks to our garden and chicken, it is a luxury as the products are tasty, fresh and organic at the same time. As mentioned above, most of the furniture in the apartments comes from second hand shops; so it is also an eco–friendly way of decorating. There are so many examples in which luxury and eco–friendly can meet, one shouldn’t exclude any of them!
There is no focus point, it depends on the project they have in mind and its sensibility. It doesn’t really matter whether they are confirmed artists or novice.
The art foundation leaves the artists free and independent. They may choose to relax and escape or engage in the more social life of Villa Lena. The place is so big: for those who want to spend time alone, there are the artists studios; for those who prefer to spend time cooking, partying or socializing, there is the villa, where there is always something going on! Villa Lena is a bit like a refuge, yes, as this isolation is sometimes necessary to concentrate and create. But then, for many it is the encounters they make here that inspire their work. That’s why Villa Lena is a good balance for them, it can be a quiet place but there are always things happening and new people to meet.
We don't have to do much, it arises by itself from the magic of the place. The people they meet, the beauty of the place and, of course, the facilities and amenities we offer them are helpful so they can be at their best.
The crazy thing is that, we have noticed that since the moment it became active and it has happened without us having to do anything whatsoever! Villa Lena must naturally bring in people that are open to each other and willing to make new encounters.
Fall at Villa Lena will come with culture, olives, gastronomy, far niente, music, truffles, hot tub, friends, art and beautiful landscapes! As you say, some people think it’s the best time of the year to come visit!