MEET THE ARCHITECT: A TALK ABOUT SUSTAINABLE AND SENSORY DESIGN
The protagonists of this interview are Alberto Maschietto and Sandra Dal Zin. He, entrepreneur and artistic director of one of the most important retail brands in Italy. She, interior designer and product consultant for some of the leading brands in the design sector. Companions in private life, they share a passion for sustainable architecture and sensory design.
Their design approach starts from listening to the client and observing the environment in which they intervene, giving particular attention to how light and color interact with each other: an investigation that looks not only at the visual aspects of the space, but even to the sensory and emotional ones. A work of continuous introspection, aimed at creating comfortable, elegant and essential environments.
In the J-Penthouse they demonstrated how the right intuition can radically transform a place with a simple and not at all obvious gesture: the dressing of the walls with a new skin that acts as an architectural device, designed to be as elegant as it is functional, until it becomes the common thread that unites the various heterogeneous elements that populate the environment. Thus, starting from the kitchen, the project develops around the entire perimeter corridor, and then explodes into the living area: the heart of the house, characterized by an incredible panoramic view of the sea, the lagoon and the surrounding pine forest.
What made you decide to use wood in the J-Penthouse project?
When designing a space, the guidelines for the project are defined by listening to the client. In the design of the interior of J-Penthouse, the owners’ focus on the use of sustainable and natural materials made it natural to opt for sustainable wood as the central material in the project. This focus translated as well into the choice of paints and fabrics for curtains and furniture.
Wood is an exceptional material in architectural design because it is a living, natural material. Two elements are never completely identical to each other, and this transmits chromatic and tactile vibrations to the space. In this case I was looking precisely for the relationship with nature: from the large windows that close the perimeter of the building it is possible to enjoy both an incredible view of the sea and appreciate the nearby pine forest, and thanks to the wood it was possible to bring this dimension into the interior of the house. When working with natural materials, micro-variations add an extra layer of value to the space and help maintain the relationship with the human scale.
One of the most interesting aspects of this material is that by combining different woods it is possible to create an orderly space, while at the same time exploiting a wide range of colours to regulate the intensity of light and generate the most suitable atmosphere for the designed environment. In addition, wood is a material with a strong sensorial character and this is very important in the design of a domestic environment. The home is a space which is perceived not only through sight but also through touch: the sensation of touching a wood surface or running a finger along its grain are experiences which become part of the dimension of everyday life, And this profoundly defines the quality of life of the designed environment.
What are the possibilities offered by using the Strike cladding system?
Wood is a material that offers many expressive possibilities, giving space to the designer’s imagination. It is also a material that allows you to find the best response to conditions that are not obvious.
For example in the J-Penthouse project there was a particular situation: the large glass walls brought very strong natural light into the interior, and the interior design project had to solve this condition by taking advantage of it.
The decision to clad the central core of the flat in a dark colour contrasting with the ones of the exterior made it possible to absorb the intensity of natural light, giving elasticity to the existing structure. The introduction of a slatted element emphasised this contrast, generating light and dark effects which enhance the regular profile of the other surfaces defining the geometry of the interior space. Thus the wooden cladding of the interior walls has become a dress, capable of dialoguing with the textile surfaces that screen the perimeter glass walls.
As well as designing the interior, the use of an irregular surface also helped to control the acoustics of the space: a slatted wooden surface has excellent sound absorption characteristics and this contributed enormously to the acoustic quality of the large rooms in the project. In addition, wood is a flexible material, perfect for the design of dry structures. This gave me the freedom to insert new lightweight elements into the existing architecture and design the most suitable setting for each room in the house.
What is the added value of customisation in an interior design project?
The possibility of customising the products used in the project has given us maximum freedom of expression at the design stage, allowing us to maintain a spatial coherence that cannot be achieved with standard “catalogue” elements.
The work has been almost artisanal from the point of view of detail, but with an industrial logic from the point of view of production and management of the order. Working on a made-to-measure basis, it was possible to transform a multiplicity of constraints into design opportunities: transforming technical compartments into aesthetic walls, camouflaging the access doors to the service lifts and designing complex elements such as the wall of the living area integrated with a TV, suspended cupboard and display cases, or the door separating the living area from the bedroom area. In the same way, it was possible to enhance the wooden essences used in the project by inserting valuable metal elements and surfaces.
Thanks to careful technical planning, no reworking on site was necessary: this guaranteed maximum simplicity during installation. This was also possible thanks to the support of a design team that worked alongside us during the design of the different project components, helping to find the best solution for the various requirements that arose, and allowing us to bring the preliminary design to the executive one in the best possible way.
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