Anja Engelshove, Engelshove Architekten
Located in a residential neighbourhood of Oberhausen, a German city in the heart of the Ruhr valley, this light-filled home immediately reveals its minimalist ethos. Using a limited colour palette with a predominance of white along with a harmonious combination of glass, concrete and ceramic tile, it conveys a sense of calm, cleanliness and purity.
The owners, a couple with children, dreamed of living in a place surrounded by trees, so nature obviously played an important part in the choice of the home’s location and design. They commissioned the project from the German architecture firm Engelshove Architekten, which immediately focused on the relationship between interior and exterior, building and landscape, public and private.
The concept involved creating a composite volume made up of layers of concrete whose solidity balances the airiness of the fully glazed surfaces. The project extends over two levels: the ground floor which looks out onto the garden through large full-height windows covering almost the entire façade; and the solid white cantilevered first-floor volume which shades the patio below and is delimited by a long terrace skirting the bedrooms.
The architecture is specially designed to enhance the perception of the landscape, as in the choice of large windows which allow the interiors to merge seamlessly with the outside world. At certain points the narrow threshold separating the interior from the exterior expands to create transitional spaces, such as the patio which looks out onto the swimming pool area, opening up the living space and widening the perspective. The sense of permeability of the envelope is maintained inside the house, where the open, fluid layout creates the sensation of freedom to move in all directions.
The partition walls, doors and windows are carefully positioned to ensure uninterrupted views, allowing the landscape to extend into and through the house. The choice of ceramic tiles played an important role in achieving this result. For the flooring the architects opted for large-size porcelain tiles with a texture reminiscent of rolled concrete. The chosen collection was X Beton from Cotto d’Este in an alternation of 90×90 cm and 60×120 cm sizes (thickness 14 mm) in the entrance hall, the swimming pool area and the terraces and a 90×90 cm size in the kitchen and living room. A warm grey colour is the common thread running through all the interior and exterior spaces, regardless of their size or shape. The multifunctionality of X Beton is enhanced by the special antibacterial technology incorporated into the collection. The tile surface is protected by an innovative antibacterial shield which eliminates up to 99.9% of harmful bacteria while being completely non-toxic and safe for human health.
The interior design project fits in perfectly with the less-is-more spirit of the architecture. The large, brightly lit spaces are dotted with a few pieces of designer furniture (the only exception being the large table made from two reclaimed planks cut from a century-old tree trunk) and furnishings that are integrated perfectly into the walls. Apart from a small number of items such as the stainless steel bell-shaped ceiling lamps used in the dining room, the lighting system is inspired by the same concept. For all their minimalism, the rooms are well-proportioned. The atmosphere is never cold as the search for sobriety has always gone hand-in-hand with a focus on living comfort and pleasure.
Cotto d'Este, X-Beton
90x90 - 60x120 cm
DOT-30, DOT-50, DOT-70
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): ≤ 0,05 %
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): ULA-UHA
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): 143 mm3
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): 50 N/mm2 A
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R11 Naturale Rett
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant