Projects

B&B Pantheon - Rome

Above the rooftops of baroque Rome

In a seventeenth-century building close to the Pantheon, architect Serena Romanò has brought the soft, timeworn atmospheres of the capital's golden age back to life
Author
Claudia Capperucci
Photos
Gabriele Granata
Architect
Serena Romanò
Surfaces
FLAVIKER
Distributor
SICA Italiana Ceramiche
Year of completion
2018

The words “baroque style” normally conjure up images of excess and affectation, of rooms filled with decorative elements and redundant details. The term itself comes from the Portuguese “barrueco”, meaning “grotesque, extravagant or bizarre”. But in Rome, the European city where the style reached one of its highest expressions, the buildings of the historic centre tell a different story, like that of an apartment close to the Pantheon that has been converted into a B&B by architect Serena Romanò. The location is the attic floor of a three-storey seventeenth century building in one of the narrow streets bordering Piazza della Rotonda, better known as the Pantheon square. The large windows facing onto the internal cloister evoke a poetic image of the rooftops of Rome during the period of its maximum splendour, when at the same time there was an unbridgeable divide between the luxury of the ruling class and the poverty of the wider population. The houses in the old town, mostly inhabited by ordinary people, were consequently very simple and often constructed using common materials such as terracotta and cement. To respect the location’s legacy, the architect sought to make only minimal changes to the apartment’s original floor plan, maintaining the layout of the rooms and the height differences between the entrance hall and the rest of the house. She also chose products and solutions reminiscent of the materials of the Roman tradition, preserving their typical palette of natural colours. A long, brightly lit corridor runs through the entire apartment, connecting the entrance hall with the living room and the bleached oak kitchen separated by a window. The two bedrooms, one with an ensuite bathroom, are located behind the living room with its large windows. “The project involved a painstaking focus on materials with the aim of preserving the history of the building,” explained the architect. “The materials were reclaimed from the apartment itself and the parquet was restored and reused in several of the rooms. The chestnut beams in the corridor and living room were revealed by removing an old reed and plaster false ceiling that covered the entire original ceiling. The old gloss paint was removed and the beams restored to their former glory, revealing the characteristic beauty of old chestnut wood.” The tiles played an important role in the interior design project and were chosen according to their ability to recreate the look of cement and terracotta. With this in mind, the architect chose the Backstage collection from Flaviker, which was supplied by Rome-based retailer SICA Italiana Ceramiche. For the bathroom, she opted for the colour Spicy (in a 60×60 cm size along with 60×120 cm for the walls) and the colour Bisque (8.5×35 cm) in a herringbone pattern, while the kitchen walls feature the colour Ash in 60×60 cm and 8.5×35 cm sizes installed in a pattern reminiscent of stack bonded brickwork. The same principle was followed for the choice of taps and sanitary fixtures, which maintain the style of the existing solutions, as well as the bedroom furnishings and accessories such as the copper-finish lamps and bedside tables. The establishment as a whole displays a sober elegance achieved through the use of a small number of carefully chosen objects and decorative elements, reminiscent of the delicate interiors typical of Flemish baroque paintings.

Tiles
Flaviker, Backstage
Type
porcelain stoneware
Sizes
60x60, 60x120, 8,5x35 cm
Colours
Spicy, Bisque
Technical characteristics
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): < 0,3%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): GA /GLA
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): conforme
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): conforme
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): ≥ 45 N/mm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R10
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): conforme
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): conforme
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): conforme
Certifications and awards
LEED
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