Projects

House G&S, private residence - Naples

Neapolitan minimalism

A sober and meticulously executed home renovation project in the historic Vomero neighbourhood of Naples focused on the open-plan living and kitchen area, exploiting the contrasting/coordinating effect of the parquet and decorated hexagonal tiles to generate unique visual appeal.
Author
Riccardo Bianchi
Architect
Gino Spera
Surfaces
MARCA CORONA
Year of completion
2016

The house we look at in this article is located in the Vomero neighbourhood of Naples, originally a separate town standing on a hill overlooking the Bay of Naples and Mount Vesuvius. Until the nineteenth century the area was open countryside dominated by the splendid mediaeval fortress of Castel Sant’Elmo and with a few farms dotted here and there. Large-scale urbanisation began at the end of the nineteenth century with a project financed by Banca Tiberina, then intensified in the twentieth century with the construction of a number of works of architecture of great beauty as well as plenty of speculative building. However, the commercial neighbourhood never lost its original charm summed up by Neapolitan songwriter Giuseppe Fiorini in the following verses: “Vommero/loggia mia napulitana/‘ntulettata ‘e margherite /profumata ‘e gioventù./Ogni strada ‘na canzone/ ogni casa‘nu ciardino/ogni passo ‘na guagliona…/ [Vomero / my Neapolitan terrace / adorned with daisies / scented with youth. / Every street a song / every house a garden / every step a girl…]”. Still today the neighbourhood is in many ways a world apart and can be reached either by subway or by a more romantic journey in a funicular railway. As for the house itself, it originally had a disorderly appearance with jarring colours, surfaces covered with unsightly octagonal tiles and a kitchen whose ceramic wall tiling sought unsuccessfully to mimic the solar palettes of Capri. Gino Spera, a young but already experienced architect, undertook a radical reorganisation project and created a coherent warm and playful style that would meet the requirements of the detailed design brief: an open-plan living area, a study/guest room, three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a closet with washing machine and dryer, and an improved layout of the functional spaces. Additional requirements included technological upgrading of the utilities and redesign of the lighting system. Within ten months the house had been completely transformed. The floors were rebuilt using wood and high-quality ceramic tiles and the lights were set into the PVC stretch ceiling with translucent lacquered silk finishings featuring an electronic system for adjusting brightness and colour. The architect adopted a range of ingenious solutions. One example is the children’s bedroom linked by means of an fireplace-shaped passageway to the games room dominated by a slide which in turn leads back to the bedroom. Another example is the bathrooms. The existing one has been given a new and more functional layout with wood-effect floor tiles and stone-look walls, while the new bathroom is perfectly integrated into the home décor with imitation parquet from Caesar laid in a ship’s deck pattern. The corridor, reorganised as a living space rather than just a transit area, likewise has an attractive appearance with a wenge wood pattern set into the oak parquet, reflected on the ceiling with a row of LED lights. But the real focus of the renovation project is the lounge, an open space comprising the conversation and TV area, the dining area and the open-plan kitchen organised around an island from Veneta Cucine. The really astonishing thing here is the use of materials to make the kitchen stand out visually without separating it from the rest of the space. This includes the contrasting/coordinating effect between the living room floor (warm oak-effect tiles laid in a Hungarian herringbone pattern) and that of the kitchen, which consists of hexagonal tiles from the Terra line by Marca Corona 1741, a magnificent patchwork of floral and geometric decorations patiently composed by Gino Spera to recreate the Mediterranean appeal of the Vomero neighbourhood. It is the highlight of a perfectly executed, discreet and sophisticated renovation project.

Tiles
Marca Corona 1741, Terra series
Type
porcelain stoneware
Sizes
Esagono 25x21,6 cm
Technical characteristics
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): Ev ≤ 0,1%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): UA ULA UHA
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): ≤ 150 mm3
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): conforme
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): conforme
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): R ≥ 45 N/mm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R9
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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