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House Cinsc – A retreat among the peaks

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In the extreme north-west of the Italian Alps, immersed in the most unspoiled nature, Casa Cinsc is located in one of the few valleys spared by the expansion of mass tourism, which transformed the mountains between the 1950s and 1980s.

We are at almost 1,400 meters above sea level, where the roads become gradually steeper to reach the small group of houses perched on a mountain ridge. Places inhabited for generations that have maintained vast expanses of pasture meadows and cultivated land, have now returned to dense woods. An inevitable process of re-appropriation of nature that characterizes the existing valley and attracts a slow and respectful tourist flow.

The greatest value of this place can be summed up in a few words: the essence of the Alpine rural heritage and the inestimable value of the resources available, thanks to the rich natural context.

RUINS, TRACES OF A HISTORY

The first inspections revealed a ruin typical of the area, used mainly for the shelter of livestock and seasonal hay. The structure was rather precarious, in fragile balance, but it reserved unexpected discoveries.

In fact, a large stone arch and an ancient fireplace emerge on the ground floor, suggesting that before being used as a stable, the building had served as a residence. In addition, the presence of a sort of Tholos outside, less typical in the area, has given the complex more connotations.

Casa Cinsc is an act of recovery and a reinterpretation of the Alpine rural dwelling for the enhancement of a precious heritage.

AGAINST THE ABANDONMENT OF THE ALPINE LANDSCAPE

Traditional architecture that emerges from the traces of a bucolic past, characterized by the garrison of men who were able to settle in respect of a hard place, made of steep slopes, rocks and lush woods. Inaccessible and generous at the same time, it is precisely in these territories that the construction, typological and popular tradition is rooted and perpetuated, thus revealing the ‘culture of the mountains’.

BUILDING INSIDE THE BUILT

The project restores the old shape, consolidates the walls and intervenes by reconfiguring the interiors. From an exchange of volumes, an additional body arises that enriches the original layout and clarifies spaces and functions. To do this, a redesign of a space at the heart of the house - the place of conviviality, the kitchen - was used, obtaining a double height capable of providing a useful surface for the extension. In this way the environment expands, granting greater comfort and flooding the space with natural light. The entrance and living room are therefore located in the new volume, with its heels on the mountain edge, could only turn towards the landscape.

The interior is thus configured as a privileged place from which to observe the profile of the surrounding peaks. The different openings that move the facades derive on the one hand, from the restoration of the previous ones and, on the other, they revisit archetypal geometries.

Designed from the inside out, these openings offer glimpses towards the landscape which build a new geography of the domestic space. Each environment thus enters into a direct and unique relationship with the natural world that surrounds it and of which, after all, it is very much a part of.

NOT SIMPLY WOOD

In a context strongly characterized by the use of stone, we internally choose wood for the floors, walls, ceilings and main furnishings. The contrast between exterior and interior is evident: outside a hard, cold stone body, mimetic with the landscape; inside, instead, an intimate and warm environment, where timber is the protagonist. The traditional image thus remains unchanged, in strict compliance with regulatory requirements, which finds its balance with the interior environments linked to an image that draws, instead, on contemporary Alpine architecture.

This entirely wooden core fits inside the existing perimeter, tracing its shape. It is the principle of “space within space”, one of ATOMAAs tools for the reuse of Alpine ruins.

The levels, the existing and the new, appear to overlap each other. The materials; the stone with its thermal mass and the complete internal package with its frame, the wood fibre insulation and the birch plywood coating are stratified. The desired domestic comfort is thus generated by making the old ruin inhabitable.

UPON ENTERING

The first room you come across is the living room, anticipated by a sort of vestibule. This space was conceived to observe the mountain accompanied by the warmth of a free-standing stove with a contemporary language. Here the floor is in black resin, differentiating the new environment from the rest of the house, with their black stained larch floors. Following slight differences in height, we move on to the pre-existing building where there once was the entrance door.

House Cinsc is unadorned, rigorous and minimal in language, as it was when it was conceived. The textures of the walls between old and new intertwine in a single mesh, hand-rebuilt stone by stone.
The interior, through the use of a few essential materials, instead shows a wealth of volumes, levels and proportions.

The kitchen / dining room is located, as usual, in the central core of the home, the real heart of the house, from which all the rooms branch off.

In this room, primarily lit from above, small windows frame the view towards the landscape, painting dynamic scenes as the seasons change.

The kitchen is characterized by a large piece of furniture that occupies the entire double height of the room and gives a contemporary face to the interior space. The room is filled with natural light that enters from the main gable, fully glazed.

WE REUSED EVERYTHING!

Total and almost obsessive reuse of the materials taken from the existing ruin. New life, even where the conditions of the structures did not allow them to be recovered: we reused everything! The stones of the old, disused portions of the walls were used to rebuild the new walls, the wood of the old roof to create door and window lintels.
The retaining walls of the terraces were built with portions of the excavated rock, as well as for the volume of the extension. In addition, the external paving re-uses the stone of the old stoned roof.
All this thanks to local artisans who still retain the skill of traditional stone house construction.

The volume of the services, with the kitchen wall and the two flights of stairs, is a real functional block for the use of the spaces for which it serves.
This central element acts as a hinge around which its uses flow providing functions which orbit around it.

Down a narrow staircase the main bedroom is located on the lower floor, to ensure greater privacy but above all to enjoy the privileged view from the stone arch.

The arched shape window provides a space for sitting and contemplation as the user has the luxury to gaze towards the landscape, through a unique tectonic element which mirrors and references a form which once was.

Up within the pitch of the roof, a second room is hidden on the upper floor, accessed by a retractable hatch.

Only from this height, through an opening in the wall, can you admire the landscape through the glazed tympanum.

In a valley of larch trees, the latter is the preferred choice, but where possible we reuse the older and grander timber elements, recovered from the disposal of the old floors and the deteriorated beams of the roof to give them a new function.

ROCK AND ABOVE

Casa Cinsc rises above the rock, partly determining the development of the house due to the need to accomodate the land. The existing and new walls are made of the same rock, an important presence that reveals itself intact in some of the rooms of the home. Where neither the wood nor the stone reaches, here you will find raw exposed concrete, used in a timely manner, for the structure and where it is present it does not hide, but openly dialogues with the primary materials of the house.

NOTES ON RESTORATION

The respectful treatment of historical pre-existing structures was an important and almost obligatory gesture, against the background of a very complex regulatory and bureaucratic network.
The recovery was a balancing act between authenticity and contemporaneity, an attempt to maintain the atmosphere and identity of the place also by intervening between the new structure and the old structure, thus generating a contemporary dialogue, with the aim of preserving the Alpine Rural Heritage.

It is not only the need to escape, at times, from a highly urbanized reality, a reality with a thousand opportunities and unstoppable rhythms, but it is perhaps the rediscovery of a special bond with nature, which has always been inherent in us.

Observing the Alps with the ambition of building a new scenario of possibility and no longer a simple vacation spot, reflects a prosperous area where local economies can be rooted in a new form of sustainability - by promoting sustainable tourism capable of fitting into an existing built local context and enriching it.

What, really, is this Alpine Rural Heritage? What is its richness?

The length of time now frozen, the history of the place, testified by those buildings conceived in a spontaneous, vernacular way. The creation of an anthropic landscape in perfect symbiosis with the surrounding nature. The respectful proportion between the artefact and its environment, in the creation of a system that makes the built place indistinguishable from the natural landscape. Together they simply coexist.



















Today, ATOMAA tries to interpret this trend, in a more ambitious framework, proposing this, as the first of a series of interventions aimed at reviving the local territory, preserving the anthropic balance of the place.

CREDITS

Client: Private
Typology: Alpine House
Place: Varzo, Italy
Year: 2020.10
Sqm: 142
Architectural Design: ATOMAA
Design Team: Viviana Ramires, Samantha Furlotti, Ylenia Testore, Saeid Kalantari
Photography: Alberto Strada
General contractor: Alberto Giozza
Structural consultant: Boschi-Grugni Associati
Thermotechnician: Francesco Ollio
Carpenter (Structures and wood paneling): Segheria Minetti Marcello
Carpenter (Furniture): Workshop Moor
Carpenter (Doors and Windows): Falegnameria Minoggio
Concrete Specialist: Giambattista Caldara

A Home for Readers

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High above the treetops of one of the most beautiful streets in Milan, the sun fills an apartment with light, where functionality and aesthetics compete for the throne. The house, designed and built in the fall of 2019, narrates the story of those who live within: a young couple with a passion for reading, cinema, design and music.

The architectural project is tailored to the clients’ desires with precision and dedication: the environments retain their original nature but are distorted in aesthetics and colours. A partition divides the original room used for the kitchen, obtaining - on the one hand - a compact dining room characterized by decorative wallpaper, a legacy of British domestic spaces, and - on the other - a minimal, elegant and functional kitchen.

The existing living room, well defined by walls, corridors and a washroom, changes its face and becomes a large open space, characterized by a colourful floor in concrete grit, which creeps into every room. The space opens, through a sequence of large portals, towards the kitchen and dining room on one side, and towards a reading-nook and bow-window, towards the other.

The act of opening continues to the study/guest room through a series of large portal doors. The latter, however, completely integrated into a long bookcase, hides panels of an intense yellow, which provide a defined division between the entertainment and private spaces.

The bedroom and the study, on the other hand, maintain their antique style, with the original recovered parquet floors. These two rooms are bound to the rest of the home through a number of arched portals which allow one to expand ones field of view and fill the home with natural light. The arch and the curve are certainly two key elements of the project: they can be found in the bathroom, in the furniture and in the internal doors in a playful interpretation of the clients’ dreams.

The bathroom is not a secondary environment: a real salle de bains has been designed with the aim of obtaining refined and tailor-made environments, coherently integrating the room intended for comfort services in the domestic space. The bathroom is divided into soft and fluid spaces that welcome a series of design objects carefully selected in partnership with the clients. The shower acts as a “passage” element that connects the master bathroom, accessible from the bedroom, to the secondary guest bathroom. This functional transition both eliminates additional distribution spaces to the services and filters the light coming from the master bathroom to the secondary bathroom, through the large integrated high level window.

The search for colour is fundamental in the design process: in this environment, pastel pink and dark green alternate elegantly, creating a bright contrast with the matte black finishes chosen for the taps, the profiles of the shower box, mirror and washbasin. Every detail has been evaluated and considered through a happy collaboration with the clients, another fundamental feature of the projects signed by ATOMAA.

The project, while not upsetting the original layout of the house, gives the new owners flexible spaces, brightness, wide fields of view and a succession of varied environments that are always in communication with each other.

CREDITS

Client: Private
Typology: Apartment
Place: Milan, Italy
Year: 2020.01
Sqm: 95
Architectural Design: ATOMAA
Design Team: Samantha Furlotti, Francesca Luci, Viviana Ramires
Photography: Alberto Strada
General contractor: EDILBM GROUP SRL
Carpenter: Workshop Moor

Upon Inhabiting: Link

Wunderkammer in Piola

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The project focuses on the construction of spaces using original materials and added elements; even if in contrast, they communicate openly to create lively environments, populated by the owners' collection of designer objects..

The internal distribution has a clear hierarchy: the large common space communicates, through three portals of the same size, directly with the main service spaces such as entrance, kitchen and hallway. These spaces, with individually distinct finishes and proportions, in turn, communicate with each other with secret passages, carved out of the fixed furnishings integrated into the walls.

The domestic atmosphere is characterized by the use of dissonant materials: the original herringbone parquet, in cherry wood, is combined without transitions with silipol tiles, an aggregate composed of spheres of pressed granite, marble and cement powders, typical of Milan’s first Metro stations, designed by the Albini-Helg studio.
In the kitchen, the green silipol is combined with fixed elm wood and porphyry shelves.

CREDITS

Client: Private
Typology: Apartment
Place: Milan, Italy
Year: 2019.11
Sqm: 111
Architectural Design: ATOMAA
Design Team: Francesca Luci, Ylenia Testore, Danilo Monzani
Photography: Alberto Strada
General contractor: Relazioni Edili Snc
Carpenter: Studio Giacomo Moor

House in constant transition

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The main project intervention was to move the bathroom from the previous location and to relocate it near to the perimeter wall, furthest from the natural light from the windows.
This presented the possibility to centralize the elements needed for fixed functional uses, such as storage furniture, the wardrobe, washing machine and entrance, all positioned along the perimeter wall, in a sort of act of thickening that wall.
The result was that the main spaces for everyday life, were located near the light sources, in a sort of continuous open and free space.

We created an ordered sequence of the three different spaces, each one with a dedicated window as a source of natural light, which can be divided and reorganized with the pushing and pulling of timber panels or curtains.

All of the custom made furniture and the timber panels and doors are made in birch plywood and treated with transparent polyurethane varnish.

From a colour and texture point of view, the apartment is characterized by a very restricted palette, consisting of white, light grey, polished steel and different examples of natural wood. The floor is finished in alternating natural and dark durmast oak, laid in a diagonal orientation.

The walls, left in exposed bricks, are painted light grey from the floor to 215 cm high, and then coated in an enamel white paint until the ceiling.

CREDITS

Client: Private
Tipology: Micro Living
Place: Milan, Italy
Year: 2019.04
Sqm: 44
Architectural Design: ATOMAA
Design Team: Danilo Monzani, Ylenia Testore
Photography: Gregory Abbate
General contractor: Ristrutturiamo Srls
Carpenter: Donghi Arredi

Palazzo Tornielli di Barengo

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Two rooms in the smaller courtyard of a historic 18th century residence, Palazzo Tornielli di Barengo, were transformed into an extension of a large law firm located in the same building. The magnificence, the stuccos and the late Baroque furniture of the main rooms are contrasted by the intimate and calm atmosphere of the two rooms in sequence, dedicated to more private meetings and gatherings, but also to moments of work in which greater isolation allows a different type of concentration. The function was almost built on the project, as the client, after a quick initial briefing, left the designers with the challenge of shaping the use of space on the design of furnishings and mezzanines that enhanced the existing spaces. Somehow, we dare to say that the function has followed, in this case, the form, even if this process has, in many ways, undergone a opposite.





The project builds, through the design of the oak furnishings, a series of (co)respondence between of the elements (mezzanines, stairs, bookcases, containers) mainly situated along the perimeters, according to a principle of mutual necessity. The first area, dedicated to reception and waiting, is covered by a plastered vault and houses a container staircase that leads to a mezzanine with low shelves and seats for consultation.

The underlying bookcase, with a fast and regular rhythm, is the daughter of the mezzanine structure. A portal-boiserie containing a service and storage room leads to the main room, whose original finishes (sown on the ground with a frame and vault in exposed brick) were maintained in dialogue with the design of the modern taste of the furnishings.

CREDITS

Client: MONTEVERDE Law Firm
Tipology: Office
Place: Novara, Italy
Year: 2016.12
Sqm: 81
Architectural Design: ATOMAA, Studio Asabesi
Design Team: Eleonora Salsa, Umberto Maj, Daniela Serini, Manuela Cruz Torres, Elizaveta Ukhabina, Simone Marusi
Photography: Lorenzo Piovella
General Contractor: Relazioni Edili Snc
Carpenter: Donghi Arredi, Projet Metal

Baiamonti

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CREDITS

Client: Private
Tipology: Apartment
Place: Milan, Italy
Year: 2018.11
Sqm: 101
Architectural Design: ATOMAA, Studio Asabesi
Design Team: Eleonora Salsa, Elizaveta Ukhabina, Alberto Spinella, Chantal Limonta
Photography: Lorenzo Piovella
General contractor: EdilB
Carpenter: Donghi Arredi

Nolita – A home for Flâneurs

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Nestled in the heart of NoLo, a new creative design district of Milan, Nolita is a roomy guest house apartment located in a twentieth century building with vintage ceiling details and original Deco floor tiles. A long central corridor acts as the main artery of the home from which, 2 bathrooms, a communal kitchen and 5 bedrooms can be found, all lightly kissed by natural light.

The design approach aims to use the existing narrative of the apartment to inform light interventions, achieving a series of spaces which reflect their own atmosphere while still in communication with each other. These interventions range from the careful choice of colour used to frame the rooms; to the selection of a number of custom designed furniture pieces; and the romantic choice of cutlery and crockery. This subtle yet meaningful attention to detail aims to show a tasteful architecture of common sense which, until now, has been trapped behind closed shutters.

Throughout the apartment, the existing floor tiles are referenced in order to narrate the atmosphere of the rooms and to influence the colour palette for each room. The decision to paint the lower half of the walls while leaving the upper part white aims to show the relationship with the existing floor while allowing natural light to reflect off the walls and ceiling. This serves as a memory of when the shutters were reopened after many years - light and colour - a gesture which is repeated every morning.

The apartment is sprinkled with a number of bespoke furniture elements, which aim to make for a comfortable stay for guests. As is the case with many Italian homes, the kitchen acts as the heart of the home, in this case providing a space for gathering and storytelling.

The kitchen is a unique element built of pink concrete with white Carrara marble. This bespoke design piece is handmade in one single attempt and its curves allude to the past, a functional necessity, while communicating with the two oblò windows above.

CREDITS

Client: Private
Typology: Guest House
Place: Milan, Italy
Year: 2018.09
Sqm: 157
Architectural Design: ATOMAA, Studio Asabesi
Design Team: Umberto Maj, Eleonora Salsa, Samantha Furlotti, Simone Marusi
Colour Consultant: Marta Lavinia Carboni
Photography: Sara Magni
General contractor: ASDM di Erriu Antonio
Carpenter: Donghi Arredi, Projet Metal
Bespoke Concrete Furniture: Caldara Giambattista

House for an antimatter physicist

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When your client is a genius, you may be asked: how can we change the idea of an unhappy past, avoiding the tabula rasa?

how can we make everything fit? a real kitchen, a room for conversation with a hearth, a reading room, a study with a map of the world, an alcove with a private bathroom, a two-seat Jacuzzi?

Could we also add a bunk bed for the children (with dedicated bathroom of course) and a genkan; (玄関) where one can leave ones shoes and walk barefoot?

CREDITS

Client: Private
Tipology: Apartment
Place: Milan, Italy
Year: 2017.12
Sqm: 90
Architectural Design: ATOMAA, Studio Asabesi
Design Team: Eleonora Salsa, Daniela Serini, Elizavetha Ukhabina, Federica Rigon, Simone Marusi
Photography:Sara Magni
General Contractor: Relazioni Edili Snc
Forniture: Donghi arredi, Projet Metal, Schiffini with Jasper Morrison, Kriptonite
Spa & Wetroom: Preformatiitalia

Follow the sun

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The redistribution of the service spaces has the purpose of expanding the living area as much as possible, and in turn, towards the part of the dwelling illuminated by direct sunlight. The beautiful south-west exposure welcomes, through the opening of the three large windows in the living area, the maximum amount of light available, inviting the sunset into the living room.

The primary living space is composed by a series of different elements; from the wall of the equipped kitchen, to the island, to the dining area and to the living area. On one side, the furnished entrance core extends and houses the small study area.

The serving spaces overlap the elements of circulation and entrance, of whom they build edges and borders. In the hall of entrance, a functional wall, made by white polished bespoken furniture, contains a place for jackets and suitcases, cleaning tools, and a hidden door to access the private area.

CREDITS

Client: Private
Tipology: Apartment
Place: Milan, Italy
Year: 2017.09
Sqm: 71
Architectural Design: ATOMAA
Design Team: Danilo Monzani, Andrea Zammataro
Photography: Luca Broglia, Claudio Tajoli
General contractor: Ristrutturiamo Srls
Kitchen: Scavolini

Traits d’Union

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Developed as a four-handed project by ATOMAA and Gian Paolo Venier Design, this Milanese apartment of 150m2 draws on the identity of the building in which it sits, while re-interpreting its early 20th century atmosphere.

Fully tailored to the needs & tastes of the owner, a young professional, the intervention redefines the original layout - which counted 3 bedrooms, a small sitting room and a studio - and gives birth to a net distinction between the living and the sleeping areas. The new environments - a bedroom, a large lounge and a studio/guest room - benefit from the renovated arrangement in order to accommodate a contemporary lifestyle. Fur-thermore, thanks to an equipped entrance, the bedroom assumes its true private dimension, enriched by an en-suite bathroom.

The recovery and restoration of vintage materials – such as the parquets of the living area - are accompanied by a meticulous research about coatings and joinery with a contemporary style, yet remain in tune with the original character of the building. The floor - made of terrazzo alla veneziana - runs from the entrance to the kitchen and features brass inserts, which are also evoked in the furnishings and in the bathroom complements, becoming one of the ‘aesthetic trait d’union’ of the apartment. The use of ‘made to measure’ wall cabinets results in large hidden equipped volumes with decorated surfaces - vertical wooden slats - leaving the stage to more intimate furnishings and objects.

Inspired by the curious and cosmopolitan spirit that characterised the beginning of the twentieth century in Europe, the interior design presents a stratification of objects that span from Déco vases to chairs in Indonesian woven straw, to artisanal Italian and Chinese products, passing through vintage lamps from the 40s and rosewood sideboards and cabinets from the 60s.

TRAITS D’UNION has been described as “a cultural and temporal melting pot, enriched by precious fabrics and custom furniture and accessories. For an interior of vintage charm, that does not renounce to a younger and more contemporary attitude.”
Olga Mascolo, Domus

CREDITS

Client: Private
Tipology: Apartment
Place: Milan, Italy
Year: 2017.06
Sqm: 150
Architectural Design: ATOMAA
Design Team: Tommaso Meena
Furniture and Light Design: GPV Design
Light Consultant: David Scognamiglio
Photography: Alberto Strada
General contractor: EdilBM Group srl
“Terrazzo alla Veneziana”: A&L Croci snc
Bathrooms: New Milestone Design
Air condition: ClimaB