The Art of Living
In the Lazio countryside two old farmhouses have been brought back to life as an expression of their owners’ environmentalist views. Thanks to a restoration project managed by the Roman practice Alvisi Kirimoto, who are attentive to the reuse of traditional materials as well as the quality of contemporary living
In the hilly landscape of Northern Lazio, on the border with Umbria, the Roman practice Alvisi Kirimoto has just finished restoring a complex of rural buildings to serve as the residence for a couple of French artists, the ballet star Sylvie Guillem and the fashion, advertising and performing arts photographer, Gilles Tapie. The architects and the clients share a commitment to the environment, so much so that in 2012 Guillem dedicated the prestigious Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Dance Biennale to Paul Watson, the marine conservation activist who founded the Sea Shepherd association. So, the basic element of Massimo Alvisi and Junko Kirimoto’s approach to the project has been sustainability, expressed not just through the adoption of technologies of self-sufficiency in energy, such as photovoltaics, and to natural materials traditionally used in the area, but also in an elegant and balanced reinterpretation of two existing farmhouses, where the work is free of sensationalism and has created a clear relationship to the surrounding landscape. Dating from the first half of the 20th century, the two buildings are located on about 27,000 square metres of land still covered
with olive trees, about a hundred metres from one another and separated by a steep drop. Today the larger one serves as the residence, while the other holds the artistic workshops of the owners and the caretaker’s lodge. Alvisi and Kirimoto have made some interesting alterations to the original layout of the buildings. On the ground floor of the residence there is the day zone, the master bedroom and service spaces, while the guest rooms and the large living room are on the upper floor. At the house’s heart lies a double-height entrance, flooded with natural light and distinguished by extraordinary views of the landscape and an elegant staircase made to design out of iron and wood: as are the bedroom doors, which reutilizes some of the old roof beams. Both buildings are marked by the retention and exposure of the wooden and brick structure of the roofs and the use of terracotta tiles for the
floors, laid on mortar without glue and in a pattern of listels in the common spaces of the main residence. In the area of the workshops, the neutral shades that have been used for the plastering of all the walls give way to the grey tones of tufa, in order to underline the structural characteristics of the complex and increase the visual connection with the landscape, which is given a key role by large openings. Finally particular attention has been paid to the furnishings. Taking a cosmopolitan and contemporary approach, elements made to the architects’ own design are flanked at Villa Guillem by antique and modern furniture in the Italian and French style, with spectacular period chandeliers and pieces designed in the 1950s by Terence Conran and Isamu Noguchi. This is especially true in the huge living room, to which the windows facing in various directions lend a daily magic of shifting light
Gli interni abbinano antiquariato, design ed eleganti elementi su disegno realizzati con metallo e legno di recupero, come gli infissi e la nuova scala. The interiors combine the antique and modern design with elegant elements made to design out of...
Il casale principale ospita la residenza. Il doppio volume di ingresso è attraversato dalla scala su disegno. The main farmhouse is used as the residence. The double-height volume of the entrance is characterized by the staircase made to design.