A mini-loft full of surprises
«My work has always been guided by considerations of space — the space people need and the space they have.» This is how 45-year-old architect Silvana Citterio describes her approach to design. Milanese by adoption, Citterio returns to her Piacenza hillsides whenever she can, and it was in her own home there that she began exploring unusual (and clever) ways to exploit limited spaces.
In this project, fifteen square metres was all Citterio had at her disposal. Before work began, the tiny studio flat did little to hide its origins as a monk’s cell (the building used to house a monastery). In this miniscule space, Silvana Citterio has created an oasis of relaxation, a «micro-dream» as she herself defines it. Though super-compact, this open-space flat is packed with accessories; comfort is certainly not lacking.
The aim of this project was clear: to create a bright space using all the light available from the one window. The refurbished studio also had to be easy to keep clean with a minimum of effort and rich in charm and comfort. In short, the requirement was to turn it onto a beautiful home. Citterio’s idea was to create a sort of magic box’ containing everything necessary, like the travelling trunks of old that opened up to reveal sections for all possible domestic needs.
Exploiting the generous height of the room, the architect was able to install a wooden platform about one metre off the floor and hide the cooking area under it (with access provided by two fold-up panels). A wardrobe was created under the bed in a space accessed via a trap door’ near the table. Finally, steps were installed leading up to the raised platform. This area alternates between daytime and night-time use as needed: the divan converts to a bed and a small round table with chairs serves as dining table and desk. Drawers and storage cabinets have been added in all available spaces in the flat to store plates, glasses, kitchen utensils, bed linen and bathroom towels. Small shelves on the walls serve as bookshelves and space for ornaments.
The materials (white plaster walls accompanied by warm coloured parquet on the floor and platform) are predominantly light and neutral and render the studio more luminous with the help of mirrors cleverly located to give an impression of greater space.
A complete bathroom has been constructed in what used to be a simple shower area (the building’s original washing facilities were outdoors). This demonstrates an almost miraculous use of space to accommodate all the necessary accessories (washbasin, shower and toilet). White is the main colour here too, but a great deal of attention has been paid to the use of textures. The walls are covered in 10×20 cm, diamond polished porcelain tiles from Ceramica Vogue’s Trasparenze collection in the warm tone of TR Seta. Their polished surface emphasises the pyramid effect of these tiles and creates reflections and colour variations that add to the luminosity of the small bathroom.
Before going out, the lady of the house merely has to close her trunk’ to leave the apartment tidy and ready to welcome her back.
Ceramica Vogue, Trasparenze Bisello
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): 2,7
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): GB MIn
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): >40
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant