Once every so many years, we get all excited about an interior design (one that is a real problem of architecture not of furnishing), and start to hope that this discipline can go back to being the central focus of every approach to interiors, just as it was for Franco Albini, Gio Ponti and Luigi Caccia Dominioni.
Today, then, we once again find ourselves reporting on the intensity and dedication that has gone into an interior architecture project whose pluses are inversely proportional to the size of the design scheme. Similar things have happened before. Among the exceptional cases it is our pleasure/duty to recall is the carpenter who came up with some early thoughts on domestic behaviour, combining a new plasticity with the ever-necessary functionality: see Gerrit T. Rietveld and his bedroom for the Harrenstein House. Then, of course, there was the expertise of Eileen Gray, on numerous occasions, often, always, as in the 40 square metres of the Badovici home in Rue de Chateubriand, Paris, a circuit for everyday life around the physical space of rest. And how could we forget Carlo Mollino, in one of his never-constructed interiors, the study-bedroom for Ettore Caretta, 15 square metres of stratagems that turn all previous perspectives on their head, with rotations and shifts of position like functions accelerators. But, above of all, the genius of Le Corbusier, which can be taken in fragments: the madness, periscope included, of the Beistegui penthouse, the fireplaces in the Maisons Jaoul, the bathrooms in the Maison Guiette, and the many attentions to detail in his own home in Rue Nungesser-et-Coli.
What we have on these pages, then, like those earlier cases, is a mass of meticulous activity, careful calibrations of layouts and sections aimed at making and obtaining space, at offering and attributing functions, devices in architectural form that break down space into smaller parts, mark out sequences, come up with objectives (what Hélio Oiticica did with his “Nuclei” while dancing across the contemporary nature of art). Intensely dense spaces to accomplish something with, fragments in which (almost) to lose yourself, having appreciated colours, trajectories, diagonals, solutions, thickness, and countless details, with blacksmith working like goldsmiths and builders like tailors. As happened forty years ago in a house in Via Paravia in Milan, quietly built by an architect who went on the achieve international recognition, Umberto Riva.
And, as the master himself would say “it isn’t finished yet […] there are still some details […] we are still looking for some good painters and decorators”.
from: Beppe Finessi in “Abitare” n. 473, June 2007