Antonio G. Martiniello is an Italian architect from a village outside Naples. After his studies in Italy and Austria he came back to Naples in order to begin his professional career.
Instead of having to commute though from his house to his office, he decided to create a space that is partially a living space and partially a workplace. To be precise, 2/3 of the whole surface is used for residential purposes and 1/3 as an office, with some of the rooms being functional for both usages.
This whole living and working under the same roof idea might seem a bit odd at first, but it is actually quite nice to see a man that is not to put his work life in parallel to his personal life. In other words, it is promising, if not inspiring to see someone not afraid to fuse those two worlds into one and ultimately saying that my life is my work and vice versa. In my eyes there is no contradiction in this attempt to merge together two things that many people do not like (at least in some cases) to be “in touch” and try hard to separate them.
What is actually emitting a very strong aura of diversity is the way this whole project is implemented. While the two functions remain distinct in a spatial manner, with the exception of a small percentage of overlapping usage of rooms, there is a unifying principle of differentiallity going through all 400m2 of the floor plan.
To put this into context we must first mention that the whole place is located in an 18th century palazzo in Naples. The later was abandoned for about 80 years with the exception of minor repairs after an earthquake in 1980. When Martiniello began his restoration on the 3rd floor of the palazzo, which was going to finish after a year, the place was in a really bad shape. After fixing the absolutely essentials, like plumbing and electric, it was time for the restoration of walls, floors and ceilings.
The architect took the decision to rescue whatever could be rescued and replace parts that where completely damaged with new ones. In this way, and in some occasions, a very special type of “lacuna” emerged, a type that is using the old (wallpapers for example) as a background in order to put on display the new. In other cases the exact opposite happens. The carefully selected furniture are very simple and aesthetically quiet and thus the beautiful wallpapers, frescos, ceilings or floorings become the protagonists in this play.
Many of the following pictures will prove this principal and also the love of the architect towards furniture designs from the modern era. Among them we can recognise the Pantone chair (pic. 4,12), Eames’s dining chair (pic.5), Le Corbusier’s lounge chair (pic.8), Eero Saarinen’s famous Tulip chairs and table (pic. 9) , Alvar Aalto’s stool (pic. 12) etc. most of the decorations also follow this path of conflict with the –more than 200 years old- “shell” that accommodates them. Someone can find frescos from the 18th century surrounding various works of contemporary art from Italy or Latin America. Even office equipment are selected to be in accordance with this logic. The minimalistic design of Apple’s computers and the all-time classic Tolomeo lamp of M. De Lucchi and G Fassina coexist with complex marble cladding on columns and a floral wallpaper and floor tiles.
In conclusion, there are many counterpoints in this attempt to fuse a working place with a living space. The architect managed though to balance all these contrasts and incorporate them into one unified whole that highlights its diversity and moreover its proud of it. From my point of view it is a very successful effort, teaching us not to be hesitant of mixing many things together, no matter how different they might seem to be.
-by Spyr_s Margetis–
first seen on : Interior Design
pics by : Interior Design