This was a refurbishing and renovation project for a two-level apartment on the top floors of an elegant Art Nouveau apartment block in the centre of Milan. A building of this kind called for careful consideration about how to incorporate contemporary style into an historic space, to ensure that old design and the new layout coexisted in harmony.
- 500 sqm
director of the project Flavio Albanese —
founder & partner
Flavio Albanese (1951), is founder and president of ASA studio albanese. A self-taught man whose training did not follow the more usual academic route, he began to show interest in shapes and design as a very young boy, and he gradually added many strings to his bow in all sectors of architecture and design. He has held courses at the École Polytechinique Fédérale in Lausanne and at the Art Institute in Chicago (1980), at Yale University (1983), at the University of Architecture in Delft (2005), at the University of Florida (2006), at the Fundacion Proa de Buenos Aires (2008) and frequently at the most important Italian universities. He has also held two workshops at the international summer school of the Architecture School in Venice in 2009 and 2010. He was a member of the Confindustria Vicenza committee from 1998 to 2001, the Domus Academy Scientific Committee (2004-2005) and the MIart Committee of Honour (2009 and 2010), director of the Officina del Porto di Palermo (2006-2008), vice president of the Andrea Palladio Architecture Firms International Centre (2011-2015) and president of the Fondazione Teatro Comunale Città di Vicenza (2010-2016). From 2007 to 2010 he was asked to head Domus, the prestigious international architecture, design and contemporary art magazine. In 1971 he inaugurated his first design studio in Vicenza. In 1987 his brother Franco joined the business, founding ASA studio albanese. The studio's projects were published by the most most important architecture and design magazines: the Neores project was selected for the Mies van der Rohe Foundation European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture, and ASA studio albanese took part in Venice's Architecture Biennial in 2004 and 2006. Flavio is an avid reader and bibliophile (his library, which is open to the rest of the firm, contains more than 15,000 volumes) and he is a connoisseur and collector of contemporary art.
partner, CEO & executive director
Franco Albanese (born in Vicenza in 1958) has worked in the world of architecture and design since 1976. He graduated from the Architecture School in Venice in 1986 and the year after he founded ASA studio albanese in Vicenza with his brother Flavio. Since then he has been the firm's CEO and Technical Manager, and this role has led him to playing his part in the creation, development and execution of the most important projects. As designer and operations manager he oversaw: the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Padua (1997); “Neores”, the production site and headquarters of Sinv Spa in Schio, Vicenza, (selected for the Mies van der Rohe Foundation European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture in 2003); the project for the Town Hall of the Municipality of Grumolo delle Abbadesse, Vicenza (1999); “Morimondo 17”, the industrial reconversion of the Sinv spa premises in Milan (2000); the headquarters of Margraf in Chiampo, in the province of Vicenza (2006); and the redevelopment of the “Cava di Mursia” on Pantelleria (2010). He also supervised the design of the Mestre bypass (2004), the “Rocco Forte Verdura Resort” in Sciacca, in Sicily (2005), the expansion of Pantelleria Airport (2006) and the new Rinascente in Palermo (2007). In recent years, he has increasingly concentrated on reconverting urban industrial areas, which has become a key theme of ASA studio albanese's philosophy.project administrator Benedetta Nicolich
Benedetta Nicolichteam Lisa Bisarello —
Lisa joined Asa studio albanese in 2001 as personal assistant to Flavio Albanese, before becoming an interior designer and working on projects ranging from furniture design to patterns for fabrics, as well as on interior design projects. She received her High School Diploma in 1994 at the Canova Techical Institute for Surveyors in Vicenza, and before joining Asa studio albanese, she worked as an interior designer for a building firm from 1994 to 1996, and from 1998 to 2000 at the prestigious Fontana Arredamenti showroom as a sales assistant and interior designer. Personality-wise, Lisa is sensitive, meticulous, strong-willed and down-to-earth. She prefers still water, and her favourite proverb is "Where there's a will, there's a way".
final and working stages of projects, coordinating operations on site for the professionals who physically create the project and working with clients on their choices to ensure that the firm's vision for the project is in keeping with the clients' wishes. For the firm Nicola has been involved in projects that include the Rocco Forte Verdura Resort in Sciacca, the Hybrid Tower in Mestre, the Villa Coeur Jolie in Cap d’Antibes, as well as many other projects. Before joining ASA studio albanese, he worked at Studio Altieri in Thiene, in the contract field in workplace interiors with Adotta, and again as designer with Studio Gabbiani & associati, tackling projects of different sizes, including hospitals, shopping malls, infrastructure and restoration work. He lives in Vicenza with his wife and son. He's a keen pre-master swimmer and when he isn't diving into the firm's design projects, he's diving into swimming pools. One of his favourite books is "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu. One thing he couldn't live without is a pair of well-crafted shoes.
Anna joined the firm in 1982 after graduating from art high school. She has made her own contribution to ASA studio albanese's growth and development, helping shape its distinctive style and sensibility. An interior designer with a particular flair for design and colour, Anna has always been interested in interiors, the spatial arrangement of items, and proper and elegant proportion between tones and volumes, working on projects from their concept to their design, coordination with suppliers and relations with clients. Today she is one of the pillars of ASA studio albanese, and the point of reference for the most important interior design choices. Over time her colour palette has concentrated on soft shades, and the colour she undoubtedly uses most is beige, in all its tones. Anna loves nature, animals, baggy, warm cardigans and monographs by Liagre, both for pleasure and necessity.
- Studio 03, Debra Balucani, Mario Lemorini, Micaela Marinoni
- Images credits
- Germano Borrelli, Andrea Garzotto
The apartment is located in an elegant middle-class area of Milan, dotted with palazzos and apartment blocks in an Art Nouveau style that is both austere and decorative.
The home that this project dealt with is on the top two floors of one of these, instantly recognisable due to its tall circular corner tower. The common thread running through this project and many others like it is the attempt to create balance and proportion and turn a 20th century living space into a contemporary “machine for living in”. To achieve this, it was decided to strip the first level of the existing partition, reorganising it by adding a sequence of “room-boxes” that give a certain rhythm without completely closing the spaces off. The box system consisted of made-to-measure oak panelling, with a linear, contemporary design that is also warm and functional. The round living area, located in the corner tower, was revised to recapture all the bright light, turning it into a kaleidoscopic viewpoint over the city. One of the room-boxes has a mobile bar with mirrored doors, designed with the glittering bars of the jazz age in mind. The large windows in the living and dining rooms surround the teak decking of the terrace in a bright embrace, which is set back from the façade so that it looks like an unusual room inside the house, rather than an outdoor area.
The adoption of contemporary solutions in an Art Nouveau setting is partly compensated by much use of vintage furniture from the ’40s and ’50s, as well as tailor-made pieces and retro details.
The resulting space is fluid and welcoming: a measured balance between warm and cool tones and innovation and moderation, the quintessential middle-class values.