Villa Sant'Ilario

Private Residence

Tuscany, ITALY - 1999

The exterior has the spare charm of a country house. The interior has the communicative force of clear gestures, spaces, light. In Lastra a Signa, near Florence, in the hills of Tuscany, an imposing late 18th century house takes on a new identity. The design intervention is decisive in the interiors, creating an absolutely contemporary atmosphere. The rooms are arranged to permit the members of the family to enjoy a certain degree of autonomy, but with many opportunities for socializing and conversation.

The regular, symmetrical layout is organized around a new central two-storey space, faced by an access balcony, creating a greater sense of space. The focal point of the spatial composition is a living area/passageway, connected to the entrance and the main staircase, around which the various functions of the house are arranged on two levels. It is a rigorous space, with a pure geometric design, culminating in the apex of the two pitches of the roof.

The linearity of the layout is attenuated by theatrical lighting effects: natural zenithal light penetrates through a series of eight skylights; the design of the skylights is also reflected in the arrangement of the lighting fixtures. On the ground floor essential white doors lead to the large cross-vaulted living room, to one of the kitchens and the spaces of study, reading and living. The ring balcony on the first floor leas to doors in wengé for access to four apartments with one or two bedrooms each, closets, baths and, in one case, a small living room.

A double glass sliding door leads to the relaxation area, complete with sauna, shower and whirlpool bath. The great formal clarity of the design is favored by the nearly mimetic insertion of casements, doors, fireplaces, lighting fixtures, panellings. This essential character is also reflected in the choice of the color white; the natural smoothed whitewash finish of the walls, the bleached oak of the floorings. Outside, a large plaza, paved in stone, offers a space for outdoor living, enhancing the image of the main facade.

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