The « Caen House » by Beuneiche
The harmonious coexistence of formal and textural contrasts that distinguishes this private residence designed by architect Bernard Beuneiche in a way reflects the history of the city in which it is located, that of Caen in the heart of Normandy in north-west France. After more than three quarters of the city was razed to the ground during the Normandy landings of June 1944, it underwent substantial reconstruction in the years between the end of the war and the early 1960s. As a result, the city’s harmonious urban architecture made up of wide boulevards and characteristic Caen stone buildings with traditional gabled roofs now coexists with churches and ancient abbeys that testify to the city’s glorious past when William the Conqueror chose it as his residence. And despite being a modern city with a wealth of cultural offerings, Caen is also in close contact with nature, located as it is in the heart of a region with beautiful pastoral landscapes, large meadows, old-fashioned farms and traditional timber-framed houses. Similarly, the private residence designed by Beuneiche incorporates a perfect blend of stylistic identity and materials borrowed from the most diverse architectural styles. Cement, iron, wood, brick masonry and porcelain tile in the natural shades of gray and brown are combined to create spaces equipped with the latest technology to assure the utmost in living comfort. The ground floor, which houses the living area, is well lit by natural light filtering through the large windows, while at night a series of recessed spotlights and two original iron and glass lamps that pay tribute to the vernacular tradition efficiently light up the functional areas of the kitchen and the reading area, while recreating a more intimate and relaxing atmosphere in the other interior spaces. In the large open-plan rooms, a living area with fireplace and a dining area with a specially designed open kitchen are characterised by the presence of wooden beams recovered from the original structure and iron beams that continue on the ceiling vaults in the dining area, alternating with the brick cladding. The floors, enhanced by soft reflected light, are tiled with porcelain laminate in a honed finish and the 7 mm thick twin version of the Slimtech Basaltina Stone Project from Lea Ceramiche. This product, the result of an innovative porcelain compaction technology, emulates Basaltina stone and was chosen by the designer for its elegance and sophistication together with its ability to create a sensation of close contact with nature. The lapped version in particular combines an outstanding aesthetic finish with excellent practicality and ease of cleaning and maintenance.