Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
The House in Forte dei Marmi in Lucca, Italy by FABBRICANOVE Architetti
April 23rd, 2017 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: FABBRICANOVE Architetti
The House in Forte dei Marmi, a work of architectural office FABBRICANOVE, releases a landscape that in the past was place where explosive materials were produced, then military ones, then it was reclaimed as an agricultural land, then it was marked by the concrete of the highway.
Located between the coast and the Apuane Alps, the villa amazes with its distinct and clear features, through which the respect to the particular allocation can be recognized, where the touristic vocation contributed to the development of the place. In the chaos and in the planning approximation of big part of the contemporary Italian construction, the formula to highlight one virtuous example is simplicity.
The House in Forte dei Marmi, realized by FABBRICANOVE (Enzo Fontana, Giovanni Bartolozzi, Lorenzo Matteoli), an architectural studio founded in Florence in 2009, is the result of precise attention to the relation between the natural landscape and the built environment. And yet, attention to the clearness, the simplicity, the liveness of the domestic spaces, the constant, direct and equal interaction with the artisans, in particular with carpenters, the definition of the details that contribute to the uniform and homogeneous perception of the intervention. Actually, exactly this last point is what builds the real soul of the dwelling, thought as a sartorial work, searching for a formula that allows the identification of the whole project as one unique piece.
The context: the natural landscape and the built environment. The project begins from a very complex starting point in a chaotic urban and landscape context, in some parts even degraded. The zone of the intervention is a place, born in the end of 1800, to host a factory that stores explosive materials for civil uses (thought to be used in the marble caves nearby), then started the production of military munitions. At the end of the wars, the site became an object of allotment for touristic vocation activity of the place. The construction of the highway, that runs parallel to the coastline, has clamped the inhabited centre between the two axes and has interrupted the physical and visual relation with the agricultural areas situated behind the dwellings. The natural landscape and the built environment have become two distinct elements for the territory, without any possibility for a dialogue in between. In the last years, the administration has been working on the realization of an urban park that will include the abandoned green areas all around, currently organized in a scattered way within the margins of the consolidated urban fabric. In this particular context the new villa is inserted, being part of a parcel situated in the margins of the perimeter of a protected landscape. ”We believe that the park should become a reference for the landscape emergency for any kind of private intervention, especially if it is realized in its proximity. The villa, in this sense, is aligned to the foreseen indications in the plan of the realization of the park, considering that the realization of a dwelling was supported by a precise study of the external systems. This survey completes the best possible integration of the belonging portion of green with the dominant landscape context”, explains FABBRICANOVE.
The distributive organization. The villa, whether inside or outside, privileges clear linear solutions, offering a comprehensible reading of its spaces. The building presents two overlapped volumes: one with a square plan, on the ground floor, with flat walkable roofing, the other one is rectangular in plan, on the first floor, with single pitched roof. The dark volume, jutting with a rectangular plan, is placed on the top of the bright volume with a square plan: the first one hosts the master bedroom, the second one includes the night zone reserved for guests, the kitchen, and the living room. On the ground floor, the villa is open towards the garden and to the south‐west it hosts a patio protected by a pergola. On the south‐east part of the dwelling, there is the swimming pool. On the underground floor there is a five‐place parking garage and the technical and service rooms. The interior spaces has been conceived very carefully and this contributes to render the intervention in an elegant and precious way corresponding to a language that is not daring or lavish, but synchronized with delicate choices, soft in the preferred tonality and refined in the choice of materials and their further treatment. ”The precision of some of the works of Gio Ponti was an inspiration for us during the realization of this house, especially the interiors”, reveal the three architects.
The materials and the colours. The villa declares diverse chromatic materials and components that are always in harmony between each other, according to a complex drawing that brings back a warm Mediterranean atmosphere that can be accurately comprehended and enriched by the natural light. All the windows are wooden with natural finish, the same for the shutters to which a white lacquer finish has been added. The volume with square plan presents a plaster finish with ivory colour, ”trying to solve in the best way the contact with the ground and the relation with the pavement, bright travertine plates have been provided”, tells FABBRICANOVE. The volume with rectangular plan, elevated and sticking out, is clad with ceramic panels ”of a colour that tends to resemble the greyish shades of the Apuane Apls nearby”, they explained.
The interaction with the artisans. All the furniture are artisan and realized according to the drawings of FABBRICANOVE. For example the storage/library furniture on the ground floor in teak wood, to which the white steel staircase is supported and hence it becomes an unique object from both structural and visual point of view: some of the kick plates of the staircase coincide with the white profiles upon which the library is assembled.
The attention to the detail derives from a tight relation between designers and artisans, carpenters in particular, who appear as equal protagonists in a mutual contest that creates unique and original solutions for various custom‐made furniture in any intervention. This kind of design approach is a consolidated attitude of the three architects that re‐occurs in their other works in different scale. For example in the recent restoration of a loft in the centre of Florence (2015), or this of Villa Alma (2011) in Pieve di Santo Stefano (Arezzo, Italy), and, still in a different scale, in ”Luna 9” (2009), the storage wall resulted the winner in the competition ”La case del III Millennio”.
The territorial and landscape context. The area of the intervention is located in the proximity of the highway Livorno ‐ Genova. The diffuse presence of scattered dwellings inside the area, besides the existence of an infrastructural system already well outlined, makes these green zones very patchy and less significant from environmental and landscape point of view. Nevertheless, the lot results subjected to the environmental protection and therefore it is necessary the authorization of Superintendence. The project of the villa provides a precise study of the external systems, concluded with the best possible integration of the its own portion of green within the dominant landscape context.
Basic volumes. The volume with bright tone, on the ground floor, presents its main elevation directed to south, south‐west; on this facade are introduced large openings. Functionally, it is characterized by living spaces, in other words ‐ the living room, the kitchen and some of the bedrooms. The volume with a rectangular plan, of darker tones and characterized by the vast loggia and glass railing that allows visual continuity to the green and lightens the mass, is added and overlapped partially on the down‐standing volumes; the same volume hosts the night zone with the master bedroom. The composition in plan results in the shape of ”L” and generates a patio with a pergola close to the main entrance: it is an open‐air living space that put into relation the garden with the house. On the underground floor, accessible by a vehicle ramp, there are the garage with five parking places and the service and technical rooms. The pedestrian entrance is positioned on south‐west, along the street.
Cladding materials. The volume on the ground floor is clad with a plaster finish of ivory colour in order to solve in a chromatic way the relation between the pavement in bright travertine plates. The overlapped volume, with its loggia, is instead clad externally with ceramic panels ”Laminam” of a colour that tends to resemble the greyish shades of the nearby Alps. This cladding, characterized by a thickness of a few millimeters, allows the pose of panels with big dimensions: an aimed choice that allows the distinction of the volume of the first floor, characterized as an upper placed volume. All the interior of the loggia is clad in resin with bright tone (dove‐grey) in order to distinguish from the external cladding. The patio, the walkway entrance and the zone around the swimming pool are realized in decking, more precisely in essence teak. The perimetral pavement of the building is covered in bright travertine.
PROFILE OF FABBRICANOVE
FABBRICANOVE is an architectural and urban office founded in 2009 in Florence by Enzo Fontana (1974), Giovanni Bartolozzi (1979) and Lorenzo Matteoli (1977) with the objective to examine design languages and new essences of the contemporary project and to activate a debate for the fundamental transformations that concern a big part of the current urban reality. The studio uses as a main research tool the design competition, through which it examines thoroughly the topics that review the city and the public space.
In 2009 the studio won the international competition for the requalification of Forte San Pietro di Livorno. The winning project presents the restitution of a space with strong public vocation by transforming the fortress in a museum park, designed as an urban joint between the maritime station and the historical centre. Still in the same year FABBRICANOVE won the competition for “La casa del III Millennio”, organized by CNA of Prato and Arezzo, with the project ”Luna 9”; while in the edition in 2011 the studio was selected for the design of the table ”alfa 001”. In the next years the studio have obtained important positions in several international competitions, among which it is the honorable mention in the competition for the realization of a didactic complex in the municipality of Malles (Bolzano, Italy).
FABBRICANOVE has developed a numerous public assignments, activating a fruitful experience in collaboration with public administrations. Among the most recent projects there are the restoration of the monumental complex of Santa Chiara in Sansepolcro (Arezzo, Italy), a work that was just inaugurated, the renovation of the monumental complex Town Hall/Theatre di Pieve S. Stefano (Arezzo, Italy), the restoration of Palazzo Montanelli della Volta in Fucecchio (Firenze, Italy). All the interventions are upon protected buildings in accordance with T.U. for Cultural Heritage. The studio has also recently coordinated The Urban Implementation Plan for the new headquarters of Cooperativa Muratori e Cementisti (CMC) in the field of urban requalification of the wet dock of Ravenna (Italy). Furthermore, FABBRICANOVE is committed with numerous private commissions, among which the project for reconversion of the historical college ”Alla Querce” (Florence, Italy) in an accommodating complex, the Auditorium of San Cataldo Credit Cooperative Bank (Caltanissetta, Italy), a winery of 4000mq in Baratti (Livorno, Italy), the extension of a Health Assisted Residence located on the seafront of Savona.
Concurrently with the professional activity, the members of FABBRICANOVE performs didactic activity as professors in architectural design courses at the Faculty of Architecture in Florence and at Kent State University in Florence.
Contact FABBRICANOVE Architetti