Xavier Fromont’s architectural studio is located in Douvaine, in Haute-Savoie, and it is like a manifesto for the philosophy the architect and his wife - the co-creator - share. They sought to create a space for working and living, where personal wellbeing is foregrounded and the setting has a serene, natural feel.
In designing the interiors, the architect went for “unprocessed” materials like white OSB, concrete, metal and glass. On the outside, the building makes no effort to blend into the surrounds, but rather creates comparisons by interacting with it. The use of materials is evident, forming a playful dialogue with the setting. The dark parallelepiped volume rises on a large lawn, recalling a big, solid and harmonious sculpture. Yet, this monolithic initial appearance is immediately undercut by the placement of a series of wavy light metal strips as a sort of cladding that reflects shiny light and the surrounding colours.
The external cladding in opaque black REFA FX.12 aluminium panels not only helps foreground the wavy stripes, but also adds another changing aspect. The individual panels have irregular longitudinal and horizontal borders that produce a surface with many different facets that mutate as the light and weather change.
The borders for these panels are not only an aesthetic touch, but also improve the performance of the building as they reinforce the panels, thus increasing stability without adding thickness. The cladding is fixed in place using a 40 cm cavity wall made with glulam panels and filled with an insulating material, thus helping to improve insulation and make it an Energy-plus-house, as the architect desired.
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