Ghilardi Residence - San Nazzaro Sesia (Novara) - San Nazzaro Sesia (NO)

A focus on simplicity

In San Nazzaro Sesia, a small village in the province of Novara in northwest Italy, architect Nicola Ghilardi has designed a villa that offers a contemporary reinterpretation of the area's rural architecture.
Riccardo Bianchi
Керамические поверхности
Год реализации

Simplicity is key in this project for a villa by architect Nicola Ghilardi, winner of second prize in «The Quinquennial Tile Award 1st Edition». Located at San Nazzaro Sesia, a small village in the province of Novara that grew up over the centuries around a medieval abbey, the building extends over an approximately 200 square metre area in a large green space and consists of three volumes on a single level. Nicola Ghilardi, an architect best known for his projects for restaurants, lounges, wine and music bars and discotheques, explains: «One of the three volumes hosts the night quarters with the master bedroom and a double bedroom, each with their own bathrooms; the daytime area is located in the central volume; and the last volume houses the leisure, technical and service spaces. This layout, along with the decision to construct the building on a single floor, is designed to make the house easy to use. I wanted to create as few obstacles as possible for the owners, who although still young are approaching their maturity and are thinking of the time when they are likely to be less mobile.»
Interconnected with just a small offset, the three volumes together make up a complex that reflects the rural architecture of the area in terms of its formal linearity, the strongly projecting roofs and the use of pillars to form open loggias. «My aim,» the architect explained, «was to build something that would blend harmoniously into the context and would clearly be a part of the rural landscape. This applies to both the exterior and interior. Inside the house there are plenty of references to the local architectural tradition: exposed bleached roof beams, the dominance of the colour white interrupted only by a few tonal variations, and the sparing use and extremely simple shapes of the furnishings. Naturally this decision to return to and reinterpret the local building tradition does not affect the technological quality of the construction, which is in fact very high.»
As for the internal architecture, Nicola Ghilardi’s project offers two main points of interest. The first is the large double-sided fireplace in the living room, an element with a strong sculptural and visual impact. The white block of the fireplace itself with deep alcoves for firewood and ornaments, the copper chimney pipe that ascends vertically through the space like a symbolic reference to fire, the bright flames mixed with light penetrating from the two sides are all aspects that help to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere reminiscent of that of fireplaces from past times. The other point of interest is the floor. The architect chose a single material, a textured ceramic tile with the appearance of a dark vaguely mottled stone produced in just two sizes, the larger one used solely in the living room. Ghilardi explains: «My idea was to reinforce the sense of continuity that derives from the sequence of spaces in a single plane; to enhance the fluidity of the routes by installing the tiles at a 45° angle in staggered rows; and to create a sense of contrast with the white of the walls and ceilings. But why use ceramic tiles in place of authentic stone? Because for (almost) the same aesthetic quality, the textured porcelain tile from Monocibec’s Grandi Dimore collection — the version I chose is called Mayerling, although in one bathroom I also used the colour Rivalta — is far more resistant, more hygroscopic and easier to maintain. Furthermore, the chosen tiles have vaguely irregular profiles and narrow grout joints, which makes installation very simple.»
And then there’s the garden. This too is designed with simplicity in mind, a 1,600 square metre area centring around a swimming pool and featuring a small number of well-spaced plants and flowers for emphasis and leaving ample space for the lawn, envisioned here as a carpet with relaxing properties. This intentionally discreet setting allows for splendid views of the nearby Benedictine abbey of San Nazario e Celso and its bell-tower. Framed by the windows of the house, this fascinating presence with its monastic essentiality is transformed into a series of artworks, making it the pièce de resistance of the otherwise rarefied interior decoration.

Керамические поверхности
33.3x33.3 cm, 50x50 cm

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