The gently rolling, leafy hills of the Tuscan countryside near Lucca are the setting for this typical two-storey farmhouse, with a rustic outhouse. The farmhouse is late 19th century and the outhouse is more recent, but the design solutions adopted fit both perfectly and manage to maintain the basic original volumes. For the farmhouse, the original structure and materials were kept, while the internal layout was partially redeveloped to increase its contemporary functionality. The work on the outhouse was more radical, taking this two-storey structure - a floor and a basement, following the slope of the land - and turning into a far more contemporary building. The large garden with its old olive trees is characterised by the swimming pool adjacent to the outhouse and a pergola area with long wooden benches and a table. The areas around the buildings and pool have been paved, but plenty of green, gravel and natural plants adorn the remaining space.
The farmhouse retains some typical rural architecture traits. The composite nature of the walls has been preserved, with a mix of bricks and stones. This is then highlighted, from the exterior, by using thin steel windows and doors, which have been updated but are in the same places the original ones. The upper floor, with a bedroom, preserves the honeycomb brickwork pattern that filters the light coming in through the internal glazed walls. The effect is quite remarkable, practically fragmenting the light into different directions and producing differing visual effects.
Two small external volumes, on the ground and upper floor respectively, were also refurbished to produce little bathrooms. The uneven walls have been turned into the hallmark of the interior, while the openings in the internal perimeter are characterised by variable geometry. Inside, the sense of flexibility and the meeting of contemporary and tradition is evident in the combinations of new plastering and original materials, in the re-use of wooden structural elements and in the whitewashed ceilings. As noted, the uneven nature of the bricks and stones becomes a highlight.
The visual development of the ground floor is longitudinal, unifying the living area, the dining area - marked by the central table and light fixture - and the kitchen. Furniture is then used to create contrasts. The upper floor has three bedrooms.
In the outhouse, the interiors are all truly contemporary. The building is rectangular, long and narrow, it is self-catering and independent of the farmhouse, but simultaneously complements it. On the ground floor, at opposite ends, a bedroom and a living-room overlook the pool. The central section contains the bathroom, a flight of stairs down to the basement, and the kitchen/dining area. The basement has a further bedroom, bathrooms and, on the opposite side, a large area for relaxing, with a spa bath and sauna with cedar benches. The floor is concrete and uniformly connects the interiors, contrasting with the smooth, light-coloured walls. The inbuilt furniture, all black, come in different shapes and ties in with the bedroom in the basement; black is the dominant colour for the bathroom and the kitchen equipment.
This design is a skilful synthesis of contemporary and traditional elements carefully selected to deliver an end result - a new identity for a traditional farmhouse - that is full of character, functional and harmonious.
Location: Lucca Province, Italy
Gross Floor Area: 320 m2
Architects: MIDE architetti
Structural: Daniele Nesti
Door and Window Frames: Palladio
Outdoor Flooring: Marmi Faedo
Photography: © Alessandra Bello
Mide Architetti specializes in a range of areas, including urban design, architecture, and interior design. Its design approach is characterized by a simplicity of lines and volumes, attention to detail, and the careful selection of finishes and materials.
The firm’s architecture grows out of a functional analysis of the client’s requirements and an “emotive” interpretation of the place. The final design forms a response to the nature of the site, whose features are interpreted and translated into new architectural solutions.
Through the input of qualified experts, Mide Architetti’s work is also distinguished by the close attention paid to environmental sustainability and energy efficiency.
The practice is also involved in ongoing research through its participation in national and international design competitions. In a short space of time, the firm’s designs have earned major recognition and been featured in publications.