The project designed by Andrea Marcante and Adelaide Testa to restructure an approximately 250 m² rented apartment in Via Roma in the centre of Turin attempts to meet the needs of three generations: a father, his daughters and grandfather enjoying the rituals of everyday life under the same roof while, at the same time, having their own private spaces designed to meet their individual needs.
Marcante’s and Testa’s joint project is based on very close, constant and stimulating interaction with the clients bringing their own specific requirements in line with the setting in which this house, built from 1935-1937, is located. Having discovered that the interiors had completely lost all their original features, the perception of space and precision found in rationalist architecture and metaphysical painting from that period were inevitably sources of inspiration for the project designed by the architects.
The attempt to reproduce them in different proportions and using different materials can be seen in the plaster truss at the entrance that evokes the coffered portico in Via Roma. Similarly, the distortions in perspective of the ceiling in the dining area, created using stucco work and wallpaper, pay tribute to De Chirico’s dreamy, oneiric language and the plaster cornices framing the ceiling are reproduced in new patterns capable of identifying the specific functions below, regardless of the configurations of the walls.
The evocative force of the artist, who painted distinctive features of classical cities, most notably the empty colonnades and perspectives along roads and avenues he discovered walking around Turin, also suggests the geometric patterns of the new system of metal bars spreading through the various rooms and altering how their space is perceived: frames with glass shelves holding valuable objects, which, starting from the entrance, project into the lounge where they hold books and conceal the rear doors, not to mention the micro-architecture in the bedroom displaying a sort of re-found classicism: these historical citations are hinted at and interpreted but never philological.
A remix playing on a combination of conventional systems, design inventions and modern-day features ranging from the colour scheme (pastel and florescent shades) to designer furniture (by the likes of Prouvé, Sarfatti, Mendini and Tom Dixon) and design objects.
A house/stage where all the actors move easily: bedrooms to safeguard privacy but also shared spaces designed in languages holding onto what we hold dearest and, at the same time, stimulating interaction between different generations through unusual and unexpected architectural features.
As Alfred Hitchcock said when he visited Turin in 1960 “… it is rather mysterious and intriguing and even though I’ve only just got here, it looks promising and something unexpected might suddenly happen on any of its street corners…” We would also like to invite you to discover the unusual and unfamiliar perspectives this house-stage has to offer.
Project by: Andrea Marcante, Adelaide Testa
Collaborators: Eirini Giannakopoulou, Giada Mazzero
Photographer: Carola Ripamonti