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«The ho­meo­w­ners didn’t want to di­vi­de up the spa­ce», said ar­chi­tect An­drea Mar­can­te who wor­ked on the pro­ject wi­th Ade­lai­de Te­sta. «But we wanted to de­fi­ne it in our own way». Me­tal fra­mes, co­lour bays, va­ni­shing poin­ts and gra­phics crea­te an ar­chi­tec­tu­re wi­thin the ar­chi­tec­tu­re. A Tu­rin ho­me’s pa­st is re­di­sco­ve­red and its fu­tu­re em­bra­ced. Ele­gant, com­for­ta­ble, true to itself

A blank sla­te. That was the fir­st im­pres­sion of architects An­drea Mar­can­te and Ade­lai­de Te­sta when they en­te­red this apart­ment in the heart of Tu­rin. «The Agnel­li fa­mi­ly li­ved he­re before they mo­ved to the hills», Te­sta said. «It’s a 19th-cen­tu­ry buil­ding wi­th an ar­chi­tec­tu­ral­ly si­gni­fi­cant ex­te­rior. But the apart­ment, whi­ch had so­me work do­ne on it years ago, had been emp­ty for a long ti­me. No­thing about the apart­ment re­cal­led the pa­st, nor its ori­gins». Thus, a com­ple­te re­de­ve­lo­p­ment pro­ject was laun­ched. The pu­re­ly ar­chi­tec­tu­ral si­de was re-exa­mi­ned as clo­se­ly as the fur­ni­shings, de­co­ra­tions and ac­ces­so­ries, not to men­tion the pla­ce’s ove­rall cha­rac­ter. A re­sto­ra­tion that evol­ved in­to the re­con­struc­tion of the spa­ce’s per­so­na­li­ty. The architects took it one step at a ti­me and al­ways wor­king si­de by si­de wi­th the clien­ts, a new­ly­wed cou­ple. The 160-squa­re-me­tres ho­me pre­sen­ted a challenge from the get-go. Li­ving areas tra­di­tio­nal­ly fa­ce the street whi­le be­drooms over­look a buil­ding’s interior. In this ca­se, the lay­out was re­ver­sed to take ad­van­ta­ge of the light. The li­ving areas are ad­ja­cent to the in­ner cour­tyard whi­le the be­drooms are vi­si­ble from the main faça­de. This was no small mat­ter. «We be­gan wi­th this com­ple­te ove­rhaul», Te­sta ex­plai­ned. Thus, the lay­out’s two di­stinct areas de­ve­lo­ped clear iden­ti­ties. The slee­ping quar­ters ma­xi­mi­ze the spa­ce’s func­tio­nal aspec­ts whi­ch in­clu­de a loft that has been tran­sfor­med in­to a stu­dio and dres­sing area. Mea­n­whi­le, the hu­ge li­ving room ap­pears to be an open spa­ce. But isn’t com­ple­te­ly. «The ho­meo­w­ners didn’t want to di­vi­de up the spa­ce», said Mar­can­te. «But we wanted to de­fi­ne it in our own way, mar­king off areas for the kitchen, di­ning table and so­fas. Ob­viou­sly, we ca­me up wi­th so­lu­tions wor­king to­ge­ther wi­th our clien­ts. The way in whi­ch we de­si­gn is al­ways col­la­bo­ra­ti­ve, never dic­ta­ted». From the small, en­clo­sed en­tran­ce, a me­tal fra­me veers off that in­di­ca­tes the kitchen area, vi­sual­ly de­li­nea­ting the spa­ce. Then the dif­fe­rent li­ving areas can be iden­ti­fied as you mo­ve around the room. «This ele­ment pro­vi­ded the fra­mework that the ho­me lac­ked. But it al­so plays wi­th per­spec­ti­ve th­rou­gh va­ni­shing poin­ts that gui­de the eyes to whe­re we be­lie­ve the fo­cus should be». Whe­ne­ver pos­si­ble, the Tu­rin architects en­joy crea­ting what they call «ar­chi­tec­tu­re in the ar­chi­tec­tu­re». Indoor spa­ces that are plan­ned down to the smal­le­st de­tail. Fol­lo­wing a si­mi­lar de­si­gn prin­ci­ple, the apart­ment’s ter­raz­zo floo­ring de­fi­nes the va­rious areas and gui­des you th­rou­gh the spa­ce, thanks to a two-co­lour de­si­gn that cur­ves gen­tly whe­re ne­ces­sa­ry. The spa­ces’ light colours are plea­sing to the eye. It’s a per­so­nal choi­ce that esta­bli­shes a wel­co­ming, re­la­xing, ca­sual feel. But the rooms’ har­mo­ny is al­so the re­sult of a stra­te­gic so­lu­tion. «The pro­ject is ar­ran­ged in ver­ti­cal layers», re­vea­led Mar­can­te. «The­re are th­ree le­vels. The fir­st is the fur­ni­tu­re, the se­cond is the me­tal fra­mes, the third is the or­na­men­tal moul­ding and trim. This ma­kes the spa­ces ap­pear lar­ger than they are. And thus, it’s pos­si­ble to see in de­tail tho­se aspec­ts that evo­ke the buil­ding’s la­vi­sh pa­st – the pla­ster moul­dings and the ter­raz­zo floo­ring that seem an­ti­que. But a mo­re ca­re­ful exa­mi­na­tion re­veals that the­se are well-do­ne rein­ter­pre­ta­tions. The cei­ling de­co­ra­tions are off-cen­tre wi­th re­gard to the room but abo­ve the table; the floo­ring has a clear­ly contemporary de­si­gn. Thus, this was a com­ple­te re­no­va­tion. «The ho­me of­fers gui­de­li­nes, not re­stric­tions», sum­med up Mar­can­te. «Our work lea­ves lo­ts of spa­ce to fill as you wi­sh; amid­st su­ch har­mo­ny, dis­so­nan­ce is al­so mo­re than wel­co­me. That’s why we an­xiou­sly awai­ted this mo­ment when the apart­ment would fi­nal­ly be li­ved in». The Tu­rin cou­ple ju­st re­cen­tly cros­sed the th­re­shold in­to their new digs. Wel­co­me to your new ho­me, new­ly­weds. Its fu­tu­re is in your hands.

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