130 FRAMING THE FUTURE
«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.