Pure Elegance: Apartment in Varese
Architect: studio duearchitetti
Location: Varese, Italy
Completion: June 2015
Light design: Davide Groppi, Ingo Maurer
Chairs: mod. Chiavarine
The apartment is located on the third, and highest, upper storey of a building in the Italian city of Varese. The façade is done in a warm shade of yellow and ornamented with typical 18th-century elements. At first view, the interior of the apartment proved to be a real gem.
Six well-proportioned rooms are distributed over an area of 120 m². The spatial arrangement is characterized by straight and diagonal axes of view which run through all the rooms to the regularly placed windows. These apertures provide the apartment with daylight on three sides and, depending on the time of day, bathe the rooms in various lighting moods. French doors with copper handles link the individual rooms of a continuous sequence of spaces. The high interior rooms are closed in by an old wooden ceiling; it was this that inspired the architects in their plans here.
The heart of their concept first concentrated on the preservation of the existing spatial and atmospheric qualities inside the apartment. The spirit of the rooms was to be preserved; indeed, deliberate, subtle touches were to accentuate it. Elegance was to be the common denominator of old and new in all spaces.
A homogeneous, seamless concrete floor runs through all the rooms in the apartment. This provides a suitable match to the wooden ceiling. What’s more, the interplay of light and shade reflected on the rough surface at different times of day is particularly dramatic. Along with concrete, elmwood can be seen in some places: its colour, grain and age are set off by the even surface of the flooring.
During the restoration work carried out by duearchitetti, it was shown how the qualities of the apartment’s age and the beauty of its patina could be placed in the foreground by means of a few accentuating touches. For instance, the sparing use of furniture, and the subtle approach with materials and surfaces serve to underscore the elegance of these spaces, where old and new join in a finely tuned dialogue.