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“Typological hybridization” is the central theme characterizing this project. On one hand, the design completes the historical building facade of the street on the piazza, reinterpreting traditional elements of the typical architecture in the historic center of Albino. On the other hand, the inner courtyard transforms into a villa with a garden, creating a unique blend of public and private spaces. Albino is a small town where everyone knows each other. Many times, we have discussed with our clients the beauty of living on the piazza, walking out to meet friends, and having coffee at the corner bar. Equally appealing is the idea of being isolated and protected in a villa that opens onto a private inner garden, where one can dine under the portico and walk barefoot on the grass.

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Piazza San Giuliano is the main square of the town, with the church of the same name in front and the 14th-century church of San Bartolomeo adjacent to the new building. The latter features numerous 16th-century frescoes by Moroni, adding to the historic charm of the area. To fully appreciate this typological variation and transformation, one must enter the building, moving from the urban and public space of the piazza to the intimate and private space of the garden. Passing through the vaulted passageway, one transitions from the plastered exterior facade, which arranges openings in a sophisticated rhythm, to the side entirely covered in Ceppo di Grè. This stone, typical of modern Milan and quarried not far from here, serves as a representative filter where the house entrance is located. Turning to access the garden, one can appreciate the portico and discover the domestic aspect of this part of the building.

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The project does not consist solely of the main three-story apartment, which largely faces inward. The building also contains a second, smaller two-story apartment overlooking the piazza, adding to the complexity and functionality of the space. Another important theme of this project is the articulation of spaces and interior volumes. The three floors overlook a sort of full-height courtyard, where the various areas of the house open. This sought-after vertical spatiality floods all the underlying interiors with light and connects the spaces and people living in the house. Vertical light contrasts with horizontal views that traverse the space and pierce the large sloping roof, forming the portico on the ground floor and the various terraces on the upper floors. The material palette is equally sophisticated and diverse, both for the exteriors and interiors. Natural stones such as ceppo, basaltina, and invisible veined stones alternate with natural oak and black-stained elm wood, culminating in raw waxed iron and colored mirrors.

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The interior and furniture design was quite challenging, aiming to create a sophisticated and representative yet calm and relaxing domestic space. One of the most important elements is the fluted oak paneling that covers an entire side of the triple-height courtyard. Many pieces of furniture were custom-designed for this house, and others were designed by our studio for major Italian companies such as B&B Italia, Alias, Porro, and Fontana Arte. This project was an important opportunity for our studio to concentrate on its preferred method of working simultaneously on different scales of the project. The idea and practice, typically and traditionally Italian, of being both architects and designers, experimenting with the leap, the continuity and contiguity of scale, moving from architecture to interior design, from furnishings to product design. This approach requires understanding the scale and being able to control and interpret it in each of its design aspects.

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