Ceramic tiles take centre stage
Designed by architects Umberto Gerosa and Alessandro Gerosa from the practice Ferruccio Favaron e Umberto Gerosa Architetti Associati, this multifamily villa is located in the Olate neighbourhood of the northern Italian town of Lecco. It adopts a neo-rationalist style, clearly defined volumes and the juxtaposition of neutral colours to avoid disturbing the existing landscape. Alessandro Gerosa, a thirty-three year old architect, also worked on the interior design of one of the three apartments making up the building. „Given that I would be living there myself, I wanted to create my dream home.“ It is a minimalist space, but one where the minimalism derives from many different considerations, not just a impersonal design approach. „These considerations were both theoretical and above all practical in nature,“ continued Gerosa. „I wanted create a free space that would also be uniform and warm. This was why materials played such an important role. I don’t like using many different materials, I’ve never been convinced by patchwork solutions. Here I’ve stuck to wood, steel, glass, plaster and concrete for the walls, and ceramic tile. Tiles played a crucial role in the project. I was looking for a high-performance product that would be both hard-wearing and easy to clean – I tend to be obsessive about cleaning – and would have a king-size format and the low thickness necessary to accommodate the underfloor heating and cooling systems. I also wanted a warm, emotionally engaging colour and texture, a tile that could be used throughout the entire apartment to create a pleasant sense of continuity without ever becoming tiring to look at. The Industrial collection from Floor Gres, chosen in the Steel Soft finish recommended by the tile contractor Frigerio Ceramiche – which also did an outstanding installation job – proved perfect.“ The extensive use of ceramic tile creates a successful sense of contrast with the other materials, especially the wood of the parquet and the white plaster. „The effect is intentional, emphasised by the perfect flatness of the tiles and wood in the living rooms and the tiles and plaster in the bathrooms.“ The project includes a number of further interesting details, such as the suspended fireplace in the living room. With its rigorous geometric design, it serves to visually separate the tiled area from the oak parquet leading to the stairs. The use of natural light also satisfies specific design and functional criteria. Filtered by the large automated solar screens, it is reflected from the white surfaces of the walls and the ceiling, which has been intentionally kept free of lighting fixtures so as to perfectly mirror the floor. The natural light is thus intensified, making it unnecessary to use artificial lighting during daylight hours. „This decision reflects my desire to create a sustainable home,“ explains Gerosa. „Everything has been designed to optimise consumptions.“ Another important detail of the project is the sense of continuity between the interior of the house and the surrounding green space. This continuity was achieved by adopting a paving of Icon Outdoor large-format tiles from Casa dolce casa, which again coordinate perfectly with the living room tiles. With their faded look of timeworn wood consumed by the elements, these tiles stand apart from the uniform colour of the Industrial collection, their natural appearance making them the perfect link between the garden and the interior of the house.