A house open to the outside world
Gaetano Lixi - Studio Cinquantuno-Undici
«All motion, of whatever nature, creates,» wrote Edgar Allan Poe. The phrase acquires special resonance in this house in the lower Stampace neighbourhood of Cagliari, a belvedere offering a splendid view of the sea. The «motion» in this context is the sense of continuity between the interior and exterior, a unique kind of fluidity that is tailored specifically to this project and becomes the distinctive feature of the home. One of the city’s four historic neighbourhoods, Stampace is considered a kind of open-air salon, formerly populated with artisanal workshops and home to several Baroque churches. It is therefore hardly surprising that architect Gaetano Lixi from Studio Cinquantuno-Undici should have decided to give the outdoor space the leading role in the design narrative. «Le Corbusier was the architect of roof gardens,» he explains. «He designed and built open-air rooms that became the crowning element of the buildings. The climate and environment of the city of Cagliari are perfectly suited to this design feature popularised by the great French architect. The terrace space with its open-air roof is without doubt the most striking part of this project.» But how was this result achieved? «A rooftop volume was remodelled and connected to the apartment below by means of an internal staircase,» Lixi continues. «The outside of the building was renovated with a floating floor and wall coverings to ensure maximum functionality of the terrace and to enable the client to enjoy splendid views of the city. We channelled the stark 1950s finishes of the existing apartment building to create interior and exterior spaces that would ensure the maximum functional and visual permeability. The surface coverings are the cornerstone of the project. The Rewind collection from Ragno, chosen in a 60×60 cm size for both the interior and the exterior, provides a uniform shade of grey that serves as the backdrop for a simple, elegant interior while at the same time blurring the distinction between «inside» and «outside». The only difference in the choice of tiles is their thickness. While the interior tiles are 12 mm thick, those chosen for exterior use have a thickness of 20 mm to ensure maximum resistance to stress and wear. «The choice of surface coverings was dictated by the need for neutral, natural-coloured materials that would interact with the green of the vegetation and provide a backdrop to the sky and the 360° views of the city, the lagoons, the sea and the distant mountains,» explains Lixi. This soft, pasty surface with its almost organic, natural look is ideal for the living room complete with relaxation corner, kitchen area with dining table and a small home office. It is also used on the terrace, which is divided into various functional areas and protected from the sun by an original shading system.