Found at Scala
Valletta Vintage, a collection of historical apartments in Malta restored by design duo Chris and Hanna Briffa, are filled with carefully selected vintage and contemporary pieces. In fact, the company's newest project, Scala, reads like a veritable who's who of 20th-century design, brought up to date with striking artworks by local artists. Here, they take us on a guided tour—with a little time travel thrown in.
In the first apartment, Do, you'll find iconic Artifort 040 armchairs by British designer Geoffrey Harcourt, which originally served a Danish airport lounge in the 1960s, as well as a Mushroom Space-Age floor lamp, which was made in the 1970s by Dutch producer Djikstra. The driTT shelving unit is contemporary, created by local artist-architect Tom van Malderen.
In the same space, the polyprop dining chairs are by British designer Robin Day and date back to the early 1960s, but they sit beside a Terrazzo dining table by Hay, and the concrete kitchen and small table were newly designed and built especially for the apartment. The large photograph you see on the wall, depicting a scene from Malta’s horse races, is by self-taught, London-based photographer Amelia Troubridge.
In the bedroom (below), the Swedish bedside lighting and the bathroom mirror are from the 1950s, the Kartell bedsides are by Italian designer and architect Anna Castelli, and the images of Valletta above the bed are by Malta-based experimental photographer and multimedia artist Ritty Tacsum.
Moving to the next apartment, Re, you'll find an iconic Bubble Chair by Eero Aarnio facing Magistretti’s revolutionary Maralunga sofa, which has an adustable headrest moved by way of a bicycle chain running underneath its cushions. The plexiglass prototype shelving, Space-Age lamp, tubular desk and nesting tables are all from the 1970s.
The 1960s Gamma Chairs (above) are by Rudolf Wolf and sit around the contemporary Scala table from Norman Copenhagen. The Bauhaus side table Etagere by Emile Guyot is one of the oldest pieces in the building, dating back to the 1930s, while Giancarlo Piretti’s classic Plia folding chair sits by the desk. The eyecatching print on the kitchen doors is by Maltese fine art photographer Kris Micallef.
In the bedroom, you'll find Achille Castiglioni’s Servomuto reversible tables, lit up by ‘Space-Age’ 1970s chrome bedside lamps. The large print is by local artist Kim Sammut, a nude self-portrait taken behind a traditional Maltese antiporta, or glass vestibule door.
The dining area in Mi (below) features the seminal Cesca Chair by Marcel Breuer, which will celebrate its hundredth birthday in 2028 but remains, to this day, in production. The salvaged table support is from the 1970s and was actually Chris’ childhood dining table. The restored armchair is by G-Plan, while the Artek stool60 by Alvar Aalto is sitting by Nils Strinning’s String System desk. The Relemme balance lamp by Achille Castiglioni over the dining table, and the Globe Wall Lamp by Frank Ligtelijn for Raak Amsterdam both date back to the 1960s.
The mixed media on the stairs is of local castle Fort Manoel and was made by an unknown architecture student during EASA98, while the prints in the bedroom are by self-taught Maltese artist Glen Ellul, who combines architectural motifs and ideas from the decorative arts into delicate works of ink on paper.
In apartment Fa, the exceptionally comfortable Trolingen seats by Johan Bertil Häggström are from the 1970s, while the Luna trolley beside them is by Opal Kleinmöbe from the 1960s. The prototype shelving came from a boutique men’s fashion shop in the 1960s, the Dutch Space-Age lamp is from the 1970s, and the large painting is by local artist and former science teacher, Liliana Fleri Soler.
Giancarlo Piretti’s Plia chairs from the 1960s (above) sit around Giotto Stoppino’s 1970s dining table, lit by the glass Ochtendnevel globe pendant by Raak Amsterdam. The kitchen unit, with its reinforced concrete top and inlaid recycled glass, is new, created in Chris' studio.
In the bedroom, the 1970s wall lamps are by Sergio Asti, also for Raak Amsterdam, and the perspex chair is from the same period. The large image by the bath is of Filfla, a tiny, barren island south of Malta, and was taken by photographer Amelia Troubridge.
In the final apartment, Sol (below), you'll find the iconic Plywood Lounge Chair by Charles & Ray Eames, designed in 1945. It complements the Spaghetti Chairs by Giandomenico Bellotti which were made in the 1980s, and the Terrazzo contemporary dining table by Hay, which sits under a Jolly lamp made in the 1960s by Luigi Massoni for Harvey Guzzini.
The Danish shelving/bureau in the bed space is by Danish designer Poul Cadovius and dates back to the 1970s, while the Aartek Stool 60 by Alvar Aalto is from the 1960s.
As you can see from even this brief overview, staying in Scala offers a unique opportunity to experience and live with some world-class design pieces. Work your way up—or down—the scale, but start your journey here. And, to find out more about their work, read an interview with Chris and Hanna here.