A loft with attitude

Location: Vicenza
Designer: Arch. Michele Slaviero
Project: Ristrutturazione ad uso abitativo
Committenza: Privato
Periodo di realizzazione: 2011-2012
Profili in acciaio per serramenti: Palladio SpA, Treviso
Serramenti in acciaio: L.A.F.A. Snc di Favaro W. & C. Maerne di Martellago, Venezia
Foto: Arnaldo Dal Bosco
A large empty space, which is occupied by separate distinct volumes, like containers or boxes left there by chance. Each volume has its own function, shape and colours which create a very distinctive outcome.

At the gates of Vicenza stands an old factory that was built in the 50s, which caught the attention of this client who, fascinated by the Spartan finishes and visible technology, decided to convert it into a very unusual loft. It is situated in a very varied setting, which has undergone extensive improvement work over recent years.
The new image was gradually designed for the area together with the client, who firmly believed in maintaining the reference to the original constructions, but including features of a modern metropolitan world. The result is ironic and entertaining.
It has been designed as a large empty space, which is occupied by separate distinct volumes, like containers or boxes left there by chance. Each volume has its own function, shape and colours which create a very distinctive outcome.
The first step in the project was to reorganise the entrances to the home, with a new pedestrian entrance in the centre and two new garages to the sides. The new galvanised iron and translucent glass entrance door leads to the hall, which then opens onto the living area, divided by large columns that hold up the ceiling. In the background the previous open stairway has been maintained, with renewed supports and rails, which leads to the first floor to a long, narrow gallery. A new volume opens off it which incorporates the bedroom, while the corridor and common area are left open to the main volume. The ensuite master bedroom is to the front, with the bathroom on one side and walk-in closet on the other, while on the opposite side of the shed an outdoor area has been created by removing part of the roof.
A very strong, distinctive language full of the fascination of the 60s, which is also found in the details: the shower cladding for example, where old magazines have been used, or the switches, and the technology left on view as before, or the rough finishes and artisan wood and iron working. All this, plus the use of certain elements that distinguished the previous building: the old iron frames and translucent glass have become sliding partitions, or the metal door of the old boiler room which is now a sliding door to the utility area, and a continuation with the large door that opens onto the street, which has been changed and is now a part of the living area.
The outside frames also play a fundamental role in defining the overall image. Their strong presence is given by the material used, the assembly method, the artisan handles, the barrel plates that hold the blackout system. All the previous openings have been altered to some extent; on the first floor to create the box for the roller blackout blinds, and to create a bottom low plinth. On the ground floor the windows have been made larger, lowering the sills to floor level and without the top roller blind box.
A variety of materials have been used in the project which are united by their simplicity, typical of materials normally found in the workplace, workshops and large factories. They are in counterpoint to certain highly sophisticated state of the art technologies used inside. The extensive use of colour with varying shades of grey alongside very bright colours helps make the atmosphere very cheerful, dynamic with two directly opposite worlds – that of factory working life on one hand, and private life on the other – which meet and blend in a carefree, bubbly and harmonious way to give life to a single symphony.

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