This project focused on the renovation of an apartment in a building constructed in 1909 by the architect Charles-François Bonjour (1870–1961) to whom the City of Lausanne, Switzerland, owes several of its important buildings of the time.
The objective of the project was to modernize the apartment and adapt it to a contemporary lifestyle through two main interventions:
1) Reorganization of three rooms – the kitchen, the bathroom and the maid’s room – to create an open and generous space in the North that complements the natural living spaces in the southern side.
2) Creation of a visually open space between the living room, the library and the hallway in the South through the opening of a large interior window fitted with a glass screen facing the entrance door, between the hallway and library. The original glazed doors help bring a living light into these three spaces.
A special effort has been made to renovate the floor. Since the original cement tiles were not recoverable, new tiles have been recreated based on different variations of a historical pattern. The colors were partly selected out of a more contemporary palette. The design and layout of the borders also attempts to balance traditional references against contemporary simplification. The recreation of the historic molds and preparation of the tiles was carried out by the specialized company Tomasello srl in Palermo, Italy.
The rooms have been renovated using other traditional techniques (mineral paint on plaster, natural oil paint for woodwork, natural oil for wooden floors). Insulating double glazing has been used in the renovation of original oak windows (see Ortelli et al. 2012 for details on the technique used). Some ceiling rosettes have been added or replaced to reinforce the apartment’s – somewhat understated – Art Nouveau style.
Wherever possible, salvaged material was used. In particular the glass screen could be taken from a 19th century factory in Tournus, France, that had to make room for a Lidl supermarket. The various built-in closets of the apartment were manufactured by recovering doors that had become unused as a result of the renovation of the northern rooms.