Location: Milan, Italy
Year: 2022
Type: Interiors Client: Private

Photo credit: © De Pasquale + Maffini

The conversion of a former industrial space into a residential attic for a collector of art in Milan

The redevelopment of the attic space inside a building in Milan is on a single open space floor of about 400 square metres, 100 of which are occupied by the outdoor green area with terraces.

The building was originally an industrial space with a continuous glazing system that brings natural light into the interior, reinforced by the presence of skylights alternating with the structure.

The space is defined by its modular structure, a system of exposed beams and pillars repeated for 36 metres, a choice which intentionally recalls Brutalism and medieval Gothic architecture, both in terms of the ridge height of about 4 metres and the contribution of natural light which permeates the space. The interior design is also defined by a continuous cement wall about 20 metres long x 4.

The presence of wall partitions does not affect the view of the entire project, which has a 36-metre perspective focus, creating visual continuity throughout the home.

Beams and pillars define alignments that recur repeatedly on the floor and in the space. The floor and roof come into contact with each other through the upright of the window and door frames, the slats of the canaletto walnut floor, the joint of the panels that make up the concrete wall and the intrados of the roof, which is also made of wood. This creates a projection of the planks and a principle of symmetry which generates a dialogue between the floor, wall, fixtures and roof, repeating itself throughout the home. The interiors are in continuity with the terraces; the interior is extended with the exterior thanks to the use of the same material on the floor, the canaletto walnut.

The alignment project is also in the living room wall-mounted cabinet: the uprights are in perfect continuity with the grooves in the cement wall and the floor joints.

Marble, wood and iron: these are the materials used for the home’s interior. Canaletto walnut was used for the flooring in all the rooms and for the roof intrados.

Marble was chosen for the floor and wall coverings in the three bathrooms (green emerald quartzite, forest green and brazilian fossil), for the wall and table in the kitchen (tortuga) and for the bar area (green onyx).

Special coverings were also used: leather for the guest room, ultra-matt black laminate (fenix) for the doors and mirrored stainless steel obtained by overlaying oxidations which generate refraction and recall an antique mirror typical of the Venetian style (kaleidoscope). The choice of this finish contributes to recreating a lavish, almost baroque atmosphere in some parts of the house in contrast to the architectural Brutalism of the structure.

The terraces have also been landscaped thanks to the collaboration with the outdoor space designer Derek Castiglioni: a layer of evergreen plants arranged in a double row, the taller ones at the back, which gives the space more privacy, provides shade in the summer and allows light to penetrate in the winter months; while a mix of medium-to-low height plants provides lush flowering. The kitchen terrace area, on the other hand, is mainly characterised by aromatic and medicinal herbs.

The client is an art collector. Architectural contexts have been created to accommodate exceptional photographs and artworks. The arrangement of the photographs in the rooms of the house includes an exhibition project in the living room: a pentagram structure consisting of five iron rods on which the works have been placed, allowing flexibility in their arrangement, according to the owner’s pleasure.

Artists and artisans have also collaborated on the flat’s design by creating site-specific works, as in the case of designer and artist Allegra Hicks, who specially made a 7-metre-long handmade carpet to reflect the character of the project.

To complete the project, the Studio made custom-made furniture pieces such as the open frames supporting Aleksandr Rodčenko’s photographs, the wooden wardrobe in the entrance hall, bedside tables, the wooden cabinet in the study and those in the bathroom, washbasins, a marble table for the breakfast area in the kitchen, the onyx-covered counter in the corner of the bar. The fixed and mobile custom-made furnishings are projects that summarise the Studio’s work on material deduction, point of view and perspective, as in the case of the XYZ table.