Stories of Metal and Contrast
In a design that plays with contrasts, solid and voids, opacity and transparency,
h21 Studio – Christian Piccoli designed
Villa M on the site of an old building that was pulled down to make way for this home to be inserted into the landscape around San Michele to the east of the northern Italian city of Verona. The client placed enormous importance on a house that was immediately open to nature, offering a series of differing views of the surrounds but respecting the identity of place. For example, the street-facing section copies the old silhouette of the previous structure and the basic plan is the same, but at the same time, the building is not as high as its predecessor to lighten its impact. This was possible thanks to technical decisions, such as using metal for the upper floor. The street-facing section is also an introduction to the concept of contrasts – in this case openness and closure – that underlies the design. The façade that rises above the road is closed, without a single window, while the portion that opens onto the countryside, the garden and the pool is effectively a continuing series of openings, windows and doors. These decisions also weave in the contrast between opacity, created by the use of stone and panels, and transparency, through the windows and even the pool. The choice of materials is at the heart of the polarity between the lower section, with a weightiness from the use of natural stones, and the upper section, which is much lighter. For this upper part, the cladding was done in cooperation with Mazzonetto and uses graphite black Vestis® aluminum strips that are corrosion, weather and scratch resistant. For this specific project, The Skin Doghe cladding system was used as it has tongue-and-groove jointing that makes it possible to customize, both vertically and horizontally, the height of a panel. Rolling machines are used to manufacture these panels to ensure optimal flexibility and so project versatility.
In addition to the upper part of the façade, The Skin system was used for the roof and produces a thin metallic profile – a sort of rational frame – that powerfully characterizes the house and becomes one of its defining aspects.