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A single-cell organism divided into two volumes structurally identical and  internally similar but opposite. This is the project – or “projects”? – for the restructuring and interiors of twin lofts, designed by Federico Delrosso in the post-industrial Milan of 2007. The work turned in fact on a former factory in the southern part of Milan, once an industrial outer suburb and today a residential district.

“This is a complex project, and you can read it in different ways. The most obvious result is the creation of twin lofts, with the same design as the internal spaces, because they were created by the dividing a single one long sleeve-shaped space lengthwise. But starting from the personal data of the residents (the first-loft A-is Delrosso’s own studio-home, the second-loft B- is the private home of Alessandro Sartori*, creative director of Zegna’s Z line).

I devised a project which developed the architectural details, the furnishings... the experience of the home in an individual way, in short by using materials and colours like the letters of an alphabet: to write similar, interlocutory  or opposed phrases, but always with a coherent grammar.”

“The ground floors of the two lofts, for example, each comprise the mirrored halls, open kitchens, and the apertures onto the small private gardens, a long table with high seating, a bathroom and the staircase that goes up to the floors above. Working with the same elements I created interiors with different spirits. In the first one, in fact, the staircase is the strong element, thanks to its volumes (which incorporate the bathroom), the raw material (pickled iron) with bare welds and the risers of the stairs left hollow, so that as you go up your point of view changes and the staircase is lightened and acquires the consistency of origami.  
In the second loft, by contrast, I dematerialized the staircase using crystal for the treads and transforming the supporting structure into a simple white stepped line (painted iron) which developed upwards. The bathroom is here an independent volume, somewhat mysterious, internally dark but with a surprise opening set high up...

Then the tables. They have diametrically opposite styles: linear and clearly defined the first, contemporary baroque the second. Even art lent me a hand in the construction of the specular layout of the ground floors. The party wall next to the entrance door has, in both homes, a painting by the same artist (Giovanni Manfredini). Shoulder to shoulder, in fact, I positioned two strong images in black and white, with the one almost the negative of the other. Like the colours used for the surfaces: all white for the satin-finish lacquered wood of the cabinets and work surfaces in Corian in the first; kitchen top in glossy steel and white lacquer and wengé for the cabinets in the second.

Symmetries and variations are also interlaced on the upper floors


On the first floor (living room for both) I installed a portion of glass flooring, to provide a glimpse of the kitchens below, but in the second loft this detail is enhanced because it is repeated over the shower in the ground-floor bathroom, and also in the staircase, which becomes even more transparent and visually light. In the first one instead the protagonists are the furnishings: a lounge suite with strong squared lines, Van Der Rohe’s Barcelona chair and the big mirror by Starck.

On the second floor I tried to invert not only the consistency but also the perception of the spaces. In the first I interrupted the strictly orthogonal interiors by introducing a circular bed and replacing the doors of the walk-in wardrobe by a whole wall made of soft white draperies.
Beyond the confines, the sleeping quarters of the second loft, instead has a large white roundish bathtub, some elements derived from the world of fashion, like the silver and fuchsia chair, and a highly distinctive walk-in wardrobe in wengé wood with a mirror insert.
The top level of the attic, in the first case is an all-white space designed as a guest room, while in the second it is a wellness space with small private gym.

Alessandro Sartori’s design input


“It may happen that the relations between designer and client are troubled, but in this case I think we had a happy encounter of ideas, desires and “visions” which bred a perfect harmony of intents. This harmony could hardly help giving rise to a beautiful friendship and a specular project.

I felt the need of a home/den where I could live amid elements important to me: light, buoyancy and the fluidity of colour. Federico translated these inputs of mine into transparent materials (the staircases, a part of the floor, the absence of internal walls...), an almost complete white for walls and details, and then what I called “the absences”. That is to say, some parts of floor are absent, distinctive colours are absent... these “absences” are what that will enable me, eventually, to introduce “solids”: details, objects, colours... With this project Federico enabled me to experience an imperceptible sense of freedom, made up not of what I can materially see or touch, but of the infinite possibilities I will have in living in and furnishing my loft.”

“... I like talking about this project because in the colours (white, grey, natural brown and black), in the materials (glass, wood, corian and iron) and even in the small differences in the functions, I was able to explore a symmetry that was conceptual and ironic even before being structural and designed. For an architect this is a rare opportunity,
so I used this work as an area of free experimentation for my future works.”
F.D.

 

Biography

"Architecture must have a soul - it's own soul that is echoed in every detail. Light and shadow must be delicately balanced to reach the unique and magic point. It should have an independent voice from the people who made it and those that live in it - created by man and for man. This is my mission…" F.D.

“I believe that true architecture cannot stop at the surfaces of a home, but should also develop without a break, like a Moebius strip, from the outside to the interior. In my project the exterior always finds its “natural” homolog within. But more than a simple correspondence (the void that reflects the solid) I enjoy working on two fundamental links: light and natural materials." F.D.

An architect with an international range (France, Switzerland, USA, Montecarlo, Turkey), but with a solid Italian grounding, Federico Delrosso (born in Biella in 1964; graduated from the Milan Polytechnic in 1996) within a few years has gained wide experience in the design of a very wide range of types of architecture: private housing, restaurants (for the catering industry), a rehabilitation centre, office buildings... numerous projects of interior design but also industrial design.

His early experience in the field has consolidated a talent and a distinctive sensibility for spaces, perceived in his projects as an intangible quality which Federico Delrosso calls “the emotional fourth dimension”. In other words, in his interiors as well as his architectures, the result of the masterly relationship between three-dimensional spaces and the elaboration of surfaces is always a sense of pleasant balance, typical of fine architecture.

In 2008 his design for the interior of the Restaurant Notime in Monte Carlo was among the finalists in the category Hospitality/Restaurant/Casual at the “Best of Year Award”, organized by Interior Design magazine (USA).

From 2009 to 2011 his project for a private residence Twin Loft (Milan) was a considerable media success, with publications in the major international print and online journals.
In September 2011 (a very special date for the United States) Interior Design USA magazine published on its cover his project for the interior of CaféB in New York.

Design


“I came to the design through furniture made to measure which I introduced into my projects for interiors, because
I always contextualize the object in the architectural detail. That’s how my Mima wall lamp was invented. It’s an object that literally disappears into the walls because beyond being a wire, it is painted with the same mural as the walls. When it is off you only see a fleeting trace of it. It was appreciated for these features by Davide Groppi, who put it into production in 2006, and by the ADI, so it was entered in 21st Compasso d’Oro 2008 award and added to the ADI’s historical collection.

In 2011 Federico Delrosso was invited by Doğtaş Mobilya, a major manufacturer of furniture in the Middle East, to design the Cinquanta furniture collection.

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