Simone Micheli's 'urban retreat' in Florence

A house permeated by light that shows its historical origins

by Malcolm Clark
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 Simone Micheli's 'refuge' can be found at the foot of the hills of Settignano, a suburb of Florence, guarded behind the façade of an early twentieth century building. The architectural design “is nourished by the views and the perspective views of these hills that enter and are reflected on the many mirror-like surfaces.”

“I designed this house as a flexible and peaceful free space within which everyday life can be carried out simply, a place to meet friends in an anti-conventional way. I thought of creating a candid volumetric environment punctuated by brilliant green and orange shades that represent the materialization of the sense that Roberta and I give to life. I imagined to build a hospitable place like metropolitan shelter-cave where you can relax and find yourself through the relationship with desired empty variables. It is a house penetrated by the light that radiated at different times of day, shows the historical origins through the development of its rough surfaces and declares its desire to approach our time bubble through its desired spatial, lighting and colour interactivity.”

A breath of fresh modernity has undermined pre-established orders of a century earlier: two small apartments with completely different languages and finishes (“Blade Runner” VS “A tea with Mussolini”) have been merged together in areas and volumes that are intertwined with a true “percement” by removing plaster, floors, false ceilings, part of a floor and some portions of the dividing walls.

Bold structural engineering consisting of IPE beams and laid reinforced concrete pillars has overcome the many limits imposed by the full walls of the building and by the recent anti-seismic regulations and managed to create an open and light environment by connecting all the rooms in large open space sequences.

The apartment is now distributed on three levels: the generous heights under the roofs have permitted wide full volumes of the living area and the long gallery lofts running above the sleeping area.
The original material of the walls has been brought back to light rediscovering, old bricks and the deep scaffolding holes amongst the stone: a memory of building techniques inherited from the Middle Ages.

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    CASA con vista e cuore 13

    CASA con vista e cuore

    Florence / Italy / 2013