The design of this multi-storey apartment block explicitly draws inspiration from the idea of luxury, a guiding principle that shapes and determines the architecture of the complex. Luxury translates into spacious living areas. And all the apartments are spacious, but increasingly so as you go higher in the building, with the top floor housing a single unit that is practically a 6th-floor villa.
Luxury also translates into the finishing materials. Natural travertine marble has been used for cladding and flooring in both the indoor and outdoor shared areas and the stairs. Natural oak is used for the sunscreens, the windows and some other indoor sections of flooring. Burnished copper is used to clad the horizontal structures of the building and defines the rhythm of the whole composition, combining the effect of the metal string courses with the shine and precious nature of this material.
The gym, sauna and Turkish bath on the ground floor are a further touch to cater for top-quality living. The lobby can double up as a mini-art gallery, adding character to the communal areas in the apartment block.
The building also clearly seeks a unique identity. The orientation ensures spectacular views out across Lake Lugano from the eastern side of the complex, helping to achieve the desired identity. The layout of the living units also follows this approach. The large living areas - open and flexible - enjoy the best view, with the kitchen connected to them, while the bedrooms and studies face the other side. The overall organization of space is longitudinal, oriented towards the lake. The overhanging crystal cubes are the true highlight of this architectural composition. They extend the living spaces, almost as if they were modern bow windows, reaching out into the landscape, framed by copper panels that clad the projecting platforms, the cubes and the balconies.
The façade shouldn't just be interpreted one dimensionally. The elevation has a chessboard layout, with the different pieces offering a variety of patterns. The copper cladding, with a string-course effect, is part of a complex interplay involving different elements that all add to the composition: the wooden sunscreens that can be opened vertically; the transparent surfaces of the glazed balcony railings; the full-height of the crystal glazing for the overhanging volumes; and the haphazard use of roller blinds. The transparent overhanging balconies and cubes - almost rooms suspended beyond the complex - give the façade dynamism and depth. On the top floor, one of the glazed volumes has a swimming pool, creating an interplay of colour, with the reflection of the water and the sky.
Placing the stairs at the back of the building made it easier to arrange the living rooms on the side with the best view. The western elevation is covered by sunscreens that create a regular chequered pattern and by elegant balconies with glazed parapets. This side also protects the inner courtyard, which doubles as a light well for the entrance.
Location: Lugano, Switzerland
Client: Diletta – Alessandro Lo Monaco
Architects: MPA Moppa Papiani architetti
Structural: Studio F. De Bernardis
Electrical System: Alpiq
Photography: © Andrea Martiradonna
MPA Motta Papiani Architetti
Giuseppina Motta and Luca Papiani were both born in 1969 and both graduated from the Politecnico di Milano. In 1999, they set up MPA Architetti in this city. In 2012, they opened a second office in Lugano, Switzerland. MPA Architetti’s designs range from private residences to the conversion of ex-industrial buildings. Projects at Via Savona 97, Via Stendhal 36, Via Morimondo 26, and Via Bugatti 15, all in Milan, are examples their restoration work. In 2009, they began the design of the Lomocubes project in Lugano, which was completed in the summer of 2013. Current projects include a residential building in Canobbio and a residential complex of twelve villas in Morro de Sao Paulo, Brazil (currently in the planning stage).
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