A small dental studio, located at the top floor of a Milanese bourgeois building, was converted into a two-storey apartment. Despite its small size, further reduced by the strict separation between existing rooms, the space had good potentials mainly thanks to the presence of windows on three different sides. The chance to reuse and renovate the attic level allowed to add an upper level to the existing floor. On the new floor the office corner and the bedroom with a walk-in closet are located.
Thanks to the good orientation and position of the apartment, at the edge of the building, natural lighting was further developed by opening two skylight in order to add a zenithal source of light. The space, fluid and without any partitions, is lit everywhere by two sources of light: beyond direct daylight, the accurate use of translucent materials and mirrors provides also indirect lighting.
The project is characterised by a great continuity and transparency of space: the only opaque element is the service block at the core of the lower level. This central block became a fulcrum between the living room on south and the kitchen and dining room on the north side. It also contributes to bear the white steel staircase, which is emphasized by the blue-grey colour of the walls. The partition between the bedroom on the upper floor and the kitchen on the lower level is made out of polycarbonate panels, so as to increase the brightness of both rooms and to create a sort of lantern effect at night time.
The two walls of the narrow entry corridor, which was originally completely dark, have been treated in two different ways to give the impression of a broader space: on one side, the horizontal mirror strip doubles the corridor’s width; on the other, the wallpaper Woods by Cole&Son, representing a bush, increases the enlarging effect and adds a natural corner within a very urbanised context. The coat hangers are placed exactly on the knots of the trees in order to emphasize further this playful wooden-wardrobe.
The attic floor, characterised by a timber structure, is accessible from the living room by the steel folded staircase, white enamelled. On the upper level, the stair separates the bedroom from the office corner characterised by a wide desk which looks onto the double height of the living room.
Some essential details are carefully designed: the load-bearing part of the staircase is camouflaged in order to make it looks like a folded light sheet of paper on a darker background; the edges of the upper floor are closed by a thin steel baseboard, which in proximity of the staircase is folded and it works as parapet and as beam for the desk.
The artificial lighting, excluding the pendant bulb on the dining table and the Parentesi by Achille Castiglioni, is always indirect and the light sources are placed within dedicated recesses perfectly integrated in the geometry of space.
The kitchen is custom-made: a lower block, containing all the equipment, is located on the shorter side, so that is possible to cook looking outside the window; on the other side is a less wide block with two different linear cabinets and a lower unit which works as a bench. The different functions of the two sides is emphasized by the different colours of the kitchen tops which overlap on the corner. The dining table is a heavy multi-layer wood panel supported by two movable sawhorses, with two possible arrangements: lengthwise, using the bench and having eight seats, or orthogonally leaving more space for the kitchen. The Danish chairs of the 1950s – original Industrial Marko – were woven lined with two colours to balance the chromatic set.
In every room, the combination of shiny and smooth materials of the furniture is balanced by warm materials as woven, leather and wallpaper; cabinet handles are made out of grey woven bands.