The refurbishing of a Dubai penthouse has created an ultimately representative, elegantly comfortable, and luxurious residential space. The intervention consists in a renovation of an existing attic. The square footage of the penthouse is moderate and it is part of a complex of connected family residences. This space has the objective of receiving informally and makes itself available to the needs of daily use of some family members. The irregular plant of the Penthouse is surrounded on different sides by a large terrace which allows the use of the outdoor space and is a filter between the city and this private space. Inside the penthouse the plan remains open: there are no enclosed spaces, but the definition of the spaces manifests itself in a sculptural way through material walls. Portoro Gold, Marrone Emperador and Arabescato Vagli treated with different finishes interact with each other, also demonstrating the owner's great passion for stone materials. Some pre-existing elements such as the irregular geometrical skylight are kept and exploited to counter the rigorousness of the project. The dramatic entrance greets guests with the powerful presence of marble and invites them to walk through an optical path of volumes and interpenetrating areas. A double marble wall acts as a sculptural blade separating the main corridor from the dining room and dividing the central stair that spans the different levels of the house. Duccio Grassi conceived the partitions as individual pieces, separate from the perimeter walls. He treated them with different surface finishes, creating monolithic presences that connect and, at the same time, divide each room of the penthouse, which is devoid of doors or barriers. All the furnishings come from Italy: contemporary lines, essential and at the same time enveloping, they are inserted gently in the sequence of vertical stone elements. The entrance console designed by the architect specifically for this project is handcrafted in brass and communicates with the suspended elements. Marbles and metals are reflected in a play of light and shadow. The studio wanted to create a unique design for their client, its powerful elegance communicated through the expressive language of its materials. The warm effect of the wood wall embraces the rigor of the different types of marble, such as the Brown Emperador and Portoro Gold for the central blocks and the Arabescato Vagli used for the floor. The sculptural ceiling above the dining table is embellished with gold leaf that adorns the architectural element as if it were a precious piece of art. Each room is enriched by the presence of Italian furnishings crafted in natural tones that bestow a refined and cozy atmosphere on every space. Grassi further enhanced the project by adding signature custom-made pieces, such as the marble dining table and the brass console in the entrance area. The architect represented the authentic soul and expressive message of his product through the materials. A sober and daily luxury, which could also be considered rigorous, fits into the family tradition and the passion for the echo of the ancient Egyptian civilizations. The ingenuity of metals, the lyricism of marble, the severity of stones, the frankness of clay, the warmth of wood, and the softness of fabrics are discretely and individually explored and interpreted through volumes and planes. Duccio Grassi works and experiments constantly with curiosity and intelligence, with the aim of selecting for every project the perfect finishes that are able to precisely express the message that will be read by the end user of the space. Knowledge of the aesthetic and formal possibilities of a material can lead to unexpected results. To be familiar with and know how to use all the existing varieties of different stones, to deploy them in the best possible way for the surfaces, is part of Grassi’s professional culture. To find a master craftsperson capable of treating a metal with acid etching, opacifying it, giving it a certain texture, is part of his approach to architecture. He is indeed a pioneer of solutions and inventions, where a perfectly studied technical detail is the device that makes his design stand out.
Duccio Grassi inherits the approach to interior design from a family background rich in artistic stimuli, defining a rigorous and emotional style, with particular attention to volumes and materials. Since the 80s Duccio Grassi works with the Max Mara group, contributing to the definition and the innovation of retail design, with buildings in the main world capitals, as well as stores and innovative concepts for the various brands of the group, for which it still develops concepts and designs in the most prestigious locations. Duccio Grassi has developed projects for buildings, stores and showrooms for various international brands. Recently, DGA has created the new world store concept for Ray-Ban by Luxottica, as well as concepts in China, Russia, and Thailand. The vocation in the retail field over the years comes up with projects of shopping malls and headquarters in the Middle East and other parts of the world, while currently it is also developing luxury villas and exclusive hotels.