44 square meters. Is it big? Not really. But in Milan... already quite big, perhaps. ATOMAA, a studio founded in 2018 by Andrea Del Pedro Pera, Cesare Galligani and Umberto Maj, is familiar with issues related to "micro-living". Between spatial strategy and decorative tricks, the three partners know how to reveal space.
It was necessary, for this project, to reverse the table! ATOMAA took the daring step of reversing a plan which, in the eyes of the three partners of the studio, proved to be irrelevant. “What's the point of keeping a distribution that doesn't offer good diffusion of natural light inside a home?”, they wonder. The objective was therefore to deport, to the back of the apartment, far from the openings, a "technical unit" comprising kitchen and bathroom in order to free up all the windows.
“The apartment is, after all, located on the first floor of a building and overlooks an interior courtyard; capturing the little sun available was our priority”, they say. For the clients, the challenge was quite different: to turn an unattractive place into an attractive rental accommodation. Beyond this imperative, carte blanche has been given. “We therefore thought of a place of life where each function can have a specific space, without making use of too rich a rhetoric.” Understand: be simple and open. To this objective, the architects add other requirements. Among them, “flexibility”. This is an imperative linked to what they call “micro-housing”. Nothing should interfere with the volume and everything should be adjustable.
“It's a constantly changing dwelling,” assure the architects. To this practical aspect are added aesthetic considerations.
The decoration should not clutter the space. All useful elements are reduced to their simplest expression. The handles, for example, disappear in favour of holes made in the sliding doors.
Matter is also the only source of ornamentation. The grain of the wood, the alternation of different shades of oak, light and dark, or the ceramic tiles laid in a diamond pattern ensure the adornment of the place.
The partners of ATOMAA thus demonstrate, through this project, how much this aphorism of Álvaro Siza that they like to quote is indeed true: “Architects do not invent anything, they transform reality.”
ATOMAA decided to create an apartment made up of three different sequences, each with its dedicated window as a source of natural light. The whole thing can be divided and rearranged by pushing and pulling wooden panels or curtains.
For this apartment, no decoration, only materials: cupboards and removable partitions in birch plywood, painted bricks, oak parquet flooring alternating light and dark colours and, finally, 10 × 10cm ceramic tiles laid diamond in the kitchen but also in the bathroom.
A “technical block” has been created at the back of the apartment. It contains the bathroom, the kitchen, a hot water tank and the air conditioning system. It thus frees up space and, as a bonus, allows you to recompose the apartment by taking advantage of the three windows overlooking the courtyard of the building.
For more content: Text: Jean-Philippe Hugron Photos: Gregory Abbate View the project: Link View the publication: Link
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