When a scientist and an international trade professional decided to move from Italy to Geneva, they wanted to make their home a refuge.
To achieve their dream, they enlisted DaMilano Studio. The founder of the firm and the project’s team leader, Duilio Damilano, says, “When we met for the first time, we suggested designing a house with an open view that connected with the landscape outside. We thought about building it on a plot near Geneva in the middle of a forest, and after extensive research, we found it.”
Duilio is referring to a lot of land encompassing 8,300 square feet, on top of a slight plateau, where 2,470 square feet was dedicated to the house. The build was developed on three levels – the first and the second floor serve as living spaces, while the basement was designed as a garage with two parking spots.
Entering the ground floor of the house, one is immediately struck by the expansiveness of the view. Clearly built for living, this floor features a sleek kitchen, an open living room, a bathroom and a guest room. It extends out to a connecting garden, conceived by Roagna Vivai. Since the house is on a hill, different levels of the garden are linked by a big weathering-steel vase with plants inside.
Moving up, the second floor is a dedicated sleeping zone with the master bedroom, bathroom, cloakroom and studio. The levels are linked by a concrete staircase paved with glossy-white quartzite stones, which winds all the way up to the roof – a garden level full of sedum, which helps reduce the environmental impact and improve the energy efficiency of the villa.
Attention has also been paid to maximising the external greenery around the house. Along the exterior stairs that lead up to the living area, there are three large flower boxes containing trees, bushes and lavender to give the garden a touch of the olfactory and the chromatic. Meanwhile, all the external floors of the terraces are made of grey quartzite stones with a continuous glass railing, its structure hidden under the terrace floor.
The house is set on a reinforced concrete foundation with septa and pillars. While the concrete floor is covered with white tiles, the walls are made of two layers of bricks with an insulating layer in the middle. Throughout the project, the designers have combined form and function – for the big double-glass windows with insulated glazing, the frames are made of wood, while that same wood has been used for some wallcoverings that characterise the building from the outside.
Throughout the design process, DaMilano Studio has used a variety of materials to delineate the interior and exterior spaces by mixing natural materials such as stone and wood with tiles and weathering steel. With the hardware in place, the firm then turned its expert eye on sourcing statement lighting and furniture. The lighting pieces are primarily from Delta Light, Artemide and Foscarini, while Duilio and the homeowners were drawn to beautiful furnishings and appliances from contemporary Italian brands – among them Edra, B&B Italia, Boffi Cucine and Gallotti & Radice.
When asked what he feels is the greatest success factor of the overall project, Duilio says, “The transparency of this house comes from the free spirits of its owners. It’s a success because they feel completely at home.”
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A version of this article originally appeared in our January 2017 issue.
Photography: Andrea Martiradonna