Minimalism with a baroque flavour
A short distance from Noto, the UNESCO World Heritage city considered the capital of Sicilian baroque whose squares and streets are crammed with astonishing examples of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century architecture, an interior design project by architect Salvatore Spataro embraces minimalism and optical white. This visually-striking project was awarded the first honourable mention in the Residential category of the competition “Ceramics and Design 2019”. At the client’s request, the architect took a subtractive approach to the functional distribution of the interiors of the villa, which opens out onto the surrounding countryside. The firm conducted “a detailed preliminary analysis of the client’s needs and of the context on both a small and large scale to develop unique, exclusive projects based on specific material and spatial research”. The client’s brief was for a unique space that would be flexible in terms of function and linear in its aesthetics. “The operation of subtraction meant that the interior is more fluid and contemporary, without frills, free to accommodate elements and details created through collaboration between the owners, the architect and local craftsmen. It features a small number of visually-striking objects”, reads the description. “The heart of the entire spatial reorganisation project is the ground-floor living area, a white, brightly-lit open-plan space enhanced by the large windows looking out onto the garden, where minimalism meets an industrial aesthetic.” This has been achieved not only through the choice of colour palette for the finishes – the cool tones of optical white and graphite grey contrasting with the bright green of the vegetation – but also through a careful choice of surface covering materials. The white lacquered MDF wall is particularly striking, a kind of contemporary wainscoting decorated with a three-dimensional geometric pattern that creates a sense of continuity between the dining and living spaces. This open-plan area communicates with the outdoor green space where olive trees and native Sicilian plants grow and is illuminated by a large sliding window. “The large kitchen island is a pure, compact volume which interacts powerfully with the space, creating a graphic effect that is further enhanced by the scenic suspended lighting,” continues the description. Porcelain tiles from Leonardo Ceramica are used to create a seamless floor covering throughout the entire home, contrasting elegantly with the white walls and coordinating effectively with the colour of the exposed concrete pillars. The upper floor, connected by a staircase with illuminated steps, houses the study complete with library designed to create “a warm, relaxing and compact space for working and reading surrounded by books, furnishings and design objects, even including a Lambretta scooter! It’s a kind of a box within a box.” The top floor houses the sleeping area complete with an elegant walnut wood walk-in closet with LED lighting integrated into the shelves and storage units. The house has been completely refurnished in a contemporary style, devoting particular attention to details and the client’s taste and striking a perfect balance between minimalism and baroque in tribute to the local area and its traditions. The Sicilian-born architect, who divides his time between Noto and Florence (where he graduated in architecture and collaborated with the firm Pierattelli Architetture, designing hotels and residential and office buildings) has strong cultural ties to his homeland. As well as designing other residences in the area, in 2014 he presented his first collection entitled “Design Meets Sicily”, a self-produced line created in collaboration with expert craftsmen and made entirely in Italy. The collection, which ranges from lamps to tableware and includes a number of more curious items such as a ceramic spinning top, offers a novel reinterpretation of aspects of traditional Sicilian culture in terms of design.
Leonardo Ceramica, Architecture
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): compliant
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): compliant
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): compliant
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant