country, houses

Video tour of Edoardo Villa's Mid-Century house

Alex Smit
A few years after sculptor Edoardo Villa’s death in 2011, art dealer Warren Siebrits and interior designer Lunetta Bartz became the custodians of his house in the suburb of Kew, Johannesburg. Villa, one of South Africa’s most eminent 20th-century sculptors, commissioned the house in 1968 and lived there with his wife Claire for the rest of their lives. The house itself is an architectural gem, rich with Joburg art history. Italian-born Villa first lived on the property after WWII, after he was released from Zonderwater where he had been a prisoner of war. He quickly immersed himself in the South African art world, and fashionable artist Douglas Portway and his wife invited him to stay at their home in Kew. ‘What is now Edoardo’s studio was actually the Portways’ lounge and kitchen,’ says Warren. Eventually Villa moved out and the Portways sold the house but, when it came up for sale again in 1959, Villa bought it. ‘I find it amazing that they never altered a thing,’ says Lunetta. ‘They kept their house perfectly preserved.’ So when Warren and Lunetta were approached by the Villa estate, they felt their responsibility was to preserve the house as it was. In an exclusive video tour, we discover the story behind the architectural abode with custodians Warren Siebrits and Lunetta Bartz.