Porcelain in Black & White
Angelo Emanuele Lecchi (A3 Architetti Associati)
Pogliano Milanese, a small municipality in the Lombardy region just a few kilometres outside Milan, boasts ancient origins as a Roman encampment and the site of a number of fierce battles.
It is also home to the villa we look at in this article, a new single-family residence that shares the same plot of land with a twin property in a sparsely-built residential area surrounded by greenery just a short walk from the old town centre.
“The project exploits the material appeal of its volumes, both inside and out,” explains architect Angelo Lecchi from the practice A3 Architetti Associati.
The choice of travertine for the exterior marks a return to a building tradition that reflects the location’s Roman origins. But as the architect explains: “The compositional scheme of stone is not absolute but is broken up by white plastered portions that alleviate the material texture of the facade”, while the project is further enhanced by an appealing alternation of colour and smooth/rough tactile qualities. The windows, set back from the façade, lend further dynamism to the massing, while the large first-floor balconies project like a ship’s bridge and almost appear to perforate the facade. Finally, the eaves follow the precise perimeter of the balconies, adopting the same solution and passing forcefully through the travertine infill walls.
The contemporary design of the exteriors is maintained in the choice of interior materials. Porcelain tile dominates, seamlessly covering the floors and extending from the ground level up to the first floor via the connecting staircase. “We opted for the colour black, an eye-catching solution that is not always easy to use in an interior,” explained Lecchi. “But the size of the spaces and the use of large slabs (74×150 cm) laid with black-grouted narrow joints to eliminate the visual grid effect ensured that the surfaces are luminous and have plenty of depth,” concluded the architect. The choice fell on the Marmorea series in the colour Port Laurent from Ceramica Fioranese, which uses cutting-edge digital printing technology to recreate the colours and tones of marble coupled with a distinctive variability of the vein effect.
The deep black surface is illuminated by white streaks, which create an extremely natural look while referencing the total white of the walls, ceilings and fixed furniture (cabinets and fitted kitchen). Travertine inserts produce highly effective splashes of colour and texture that allude to the material chosen for the exterior.
The white and black contrast continues in the bathrooms, where black ceramic tiles are again used on the floor (here too Marmorea Port Laurent but in a smaller 30×60 cm size). White Bianco Statuario tiles (again from the Marmorea collection) are instead used on the walls in different sizes while several decorative sections are left black.
The layout is based on a skilful interplay between spaces and volumes that make for fluid distribution paths, without compromising the design of the various functional areas (living room, dining room and kitchen), which are all visually distinctive. Sliding windows open and close the spaces without obstructing the light, while large windows set in dark frames in tone with the floor offer views of the splendid garden. The first-floor bedrooms adopt a more classic layout, while two large balconies look out onto a double roof garden.
Port Laurent, Bianco Statuario - Polished
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): compliant
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): compliant
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): compliant
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): compliant
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R9 Matt