IAA_M51 is a residential project, obtained by recovering and expanding the attic level of an elegant 1930s building, located in the Porta Susa area of Turin, and transforming it into a cozy home for a family. Thanks to the freedom with which it was able to experiment, adopting the entire toolkit of his own knowledge, M51 fully manifests Icona's stylistic signature, the epitome of its aesthetic. The initial project was supposed to be limited to a pied-à-terre for the cosmopolitan clients: during the meetings, however, more complex and deeper needs and desires emerged, which had not been focused on at first. And so it was that a minimal intervention became a major design challenge. Architecturally, the rooms on the top floor of the block of flats are completely transformed and remodeled, increasing their heights and transparency, always in search of maximum natural light. The apartment is developed, around the large panoramic terrace, separated from the interior by a large glass wall. The heights have been made more generous thanks to the new glulam roofing, covered with an antiqued roof tile covering and pigmented painted sheet metal slats, which fits perfectly into the original aesthetic of the period building. To obviate the presence of some dark and deep spaces, a sequence of more than twenty dormer windows embroiders the perimeter of the residence, each equipped with a small balcony, which gains an additional portion of the panorama. Finally, the master turret represents a volumetric addition, made entirely of glulam and clad with a ventilated façade system of VMZINC DOGHE profiles with interlocking joints on a metal substructure, which stands out from the top of the building and is generated by the extrusion of the stairwell. The turret functions as a bedroom but also as a privileged vantage point over the hillside of Turin and the city. Considering the floor plan of the project, the strategic separation of the quiet area from the living area, achieved by wisely orienting the spaces, is evident. The living area is composed of the seamless alternation of the kitchen, dining, living and terrace. All these spaces are distributed along the axis of the building's spine wall: a vestigial element around which the entire ecosystem of conviviality is organized. The power of the plug wall has been mitigated by covering it with a wallpaper in cerulean colors, which lightens its thickness, making it almost impalpable. At the height of the kitchen, the septum is interrupted, replaced by elegant retractable glass windows that can isolate the kitchen from the dining room if necessary. A large sugar-paper-colored fitted wall intersects the plug axis transversally, occupying the wall and following the trend of the pitches: the cabinet is designed with a pleasant play of volumes that manages to absorb misalignments. The whole of the living areas was conceived in an overall, holistic way, in the search for radical flexibility: it was essential to ensure the absolute modularity of these spaces through the use of movable and transparent walls, both between interior and exterior and between interior infraspaces. The mirrored part of the apartment is reserved for the quiet zone: two rooms for the children, one for guests, a playroom, a semi-independent mini-apartment for domestic helpers, the service areas. A blue-gray velvet-covered paneling wraps the central "core" of the apartment and the building and frames the entrance to the residence. The composite articulation of spaces is matched by the exceptional maniacal attention to detail: the level of customization is maximum. Almost all of the contents in the house were either designed specifically for it, or modified and customized in its function: the chairs, lamps, furniture, fabrics, stained glass, and window frames are all, in one way or another, altered and optimized by the designers' modifications and interpolations. The connecting staircase between the main floor and the turret, for example, is a sculptural work imagined and designed by Icona in every aspect as a true contemporary work. Designed in carpentry, each step is different from the other and all together develop the slender sine wave that reaches the upper level. A shutter separates each step, making it appear to be suspended in the air: this lightens the mass of the wooden material, projecting very striking penumbra plays on the decorated wall of the stairwell. The supporting element of this structure is the white-painted iron sheet parapet, which wraps the development of the staircase like a silk ribbon. The imposing marble table is also an example of the architects' aptitude for design: together with the free-standing kitchen cabinets of the same material, it lends extraordinary elegance and brightness to the adjoining rooms. The essential line of its top, the sharp geometry of the supports perfectly match the soft, retro forms of the seating. In general, there is precise and meticulous attention in the balances and counterpoints between forms and colors. The cool tones of the furniture and finishes (the marbles, the upholstery, the colors of the fabrics and wallpapers), for example, are amply offset with the warm-toned, textured, lived-in parquet flooring that occupies the horizontal plane of the residence connecting all the rooms. M51 is an incredibly well-thought-out, designed dwelling, shaped with accuracy and depth. A house-figure, encapsulating the meaning of architecture for Icona.
Icona Architetti Associati is an architecture and design studio founded in Milan in 2013 by the duo Marco Orto and Federica Poggio and joined in 2019 by Domenico Cacciapaglia as a partner. Heirs to the modern lesson of the Italian masters of the 20th century and aware of the suggestions of the contemporary, Icona claims an immersive and humanistic approach to design. Their work always originates from a dialogue: human and sensory, with people and contexts. Icona embraces a wide range of operational scales, from master plan to product design. Materials are given a central role: this is the idea of "Icona Touch," a multisensory concept in which optical and haptic come together in a single experience. The axiom of fluidity is also part of Icona's fundamentals. The ability to modulate space according to seasons and functions is the method used to create flexible eco-systems. Fluidity that, together with the curved line, symbolizes the true signature of Icona Associated Architects.
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