Projects

Apartment - Milan

Exercises in style

In this recently refurbished apartment in Milan, the refined geometric patterns of the ceramic tiles expand space and create striking graphic effects.
Author
Luisa Pianzola
Photos
Denise Bonenti
Architect
Diego Grandi
Surfaces
LEA
Year of completion
2014

Our location is an apartment on the top floor of a small 1920s block in Milan, recently restructured by the architect Diego Grandi. The project has reinterpreted and updated the apartment’s interior, reconfiguring the rooms with due respect for the more valuable aspects of the past, but with a clear emphasis on modern functionality. The original floor plan has been re-drawn along more modern lines. The traditional 1920s arrangement (entrance hall with a long corridor providing access to a sequence of rooms) has been opened up to create more fluid, larger and better-connected space, with the old corridor eliminated and integrated to create a more liveable environment.
Entering the apartment, we find ourselves in an area of 40 square metres that contains the living zone and the dining zone with kitchen (the latter enclosed behind a glass partition with sliding doors). This is the heart of the home. Just beyond lie the study, a large bathroom and a bedroom with a walk-in wardrobe hidden by a bookcase wall. This new, rigorous and functional layout provides the base upon which the furniture elements, all low profile but carefully selected, are placed. Tailored architectural and furnishing solutions like a long bench in the dining area that extends the wall of the lounge, a glass partition around the kitchen and an unbroken perspective from the living area right to the bedroom create an impression of depth despite the limited dimensions of the envelope. In the same way, decorative geometric motifs give the apartment a striking graphic identity. With their full-surface colours and rhythmic patterns, the Escher-style ceramic tiles in the kitchen and bathroom play with the dimensions to create an impression of greater space.
Its exceptional aesthetic and functional value won this interior design a special mention in the 2017 Ceramics and Design competition.
But let us take a closer look at the lounge and dining areas where ceramic tiles from Lea Ceramiche’s Mauk collection play a leading role. In the kitchen, large Cuadra format tiles create a hexagonal grid that seems to expand space. Custom made kitchen cabinets, finished in the same colour as the walls, and a high-tech, linear cooking area contrast with the rhythm created by the three cold colours of the ceramic covering. On the wall, a prototype cabinet designed by the architect provides additional storage and is characterised by the unusual use of a door handle to open furniture. In the bathroom, the back wall is the element that generates distinctive character. A powerful graphic impact created by the alternating blue and grey of the hexagonal, Spina format tiles, personalises the toilet and shower areas. A system of customised metal cross-pieces characterises the washbasin area. A tub in Carrara marble, coloured worktops and a large round mirror are fixed to the supporting structure to form a lightweight, dynamic and flexible system.
Historical icons of design, like the Mezzadro chair designed by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni for Zanotta, enrich the furniture, and works of art and souvenirs of past journeys have been arranged to form the private collection of the apartment’s owner.

Tiles
Lea Ceramiche, Mauk
Type
porcelain stoneware
Sizes
Spina (25,8x13,5x8,7 cm) - CUADRA (57,6 cm)
Colours
Deep Sea, White Cloud, Cool Rain
Technical characteristics
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): conforme
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): conforme
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): conforme
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): conforme
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): conforme
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): conforme
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): conforme
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