The main objective of the project has been to realise a house made for family intimacy. For this reason, the main floor, intended for the common areas of the villa, has been thought as a space where the separation in rooms is minimized, so as to favour life together. As a matter of fact, the living area is conceptually divided into two “areas”, one formal, one informal, not through walls, but only through the arrangement of furniture and the design of suspended ceilings.
Besides hosting the areas intended for the family’s daily life such as the entrance, the living room, and the kitchen, the ground floor also comprises a guest room for the relatives who live in other towns; downstairs, a proper basement and an above-ground area host an office, a second guest room, the laundry with the technical and systems premises, and a hobby room for children. The master bedroom and the two children bedrooms are all situated on the first floor, reserved exclusively to the intimacy of the family members.
An external pavilion situated on one above-ground floor at the side of the swimming pool is reserved to the guests, with a real guest house, equipped with a bedroom, a living area with a fireplace and a small, non-separated kitchen. An external path leads to the Spa and the wine cellar in the basement of the guest house. The pavilion hosting the guest house extends through a fascinating colonnade, where the entrance of the Art gallery, personally managed by a curator, is situated. However, the Gallery is not the only place of the villa devoted to the prestigious collection of the client, as many walls of the house are embellished by artworks for which a dedicated and accurate lighting has been studied.
Outside the villa, the swimming pool is the centre of attention, with its barbecue and leisure areas, rich in flowering and fruit trees cared for with extreme accuracy and passion, even by the owners in person. The external area extends longitudinally with a 20% declining slope in its west part. For this reason, as the land gets steeper, it has been decided to increase the number of plants, in what seems to be an attempt to have the land returned to its natural state, creating a continuation with the wood of hornbeams and white poplars situated below.
The most suggestive, and concomitantly imposing, natural element is represented by the centuries-old olive tree, planted, on the one hand, to be a monumental point of reference counter-balancing the presence of the guest house on the opposite side and, on the other hand, to establish a connection with the local territory: the olive tree is a highly symbolic plant in Albania (just as it is in Italy and throughout the Mediterranean area). The olive tree of the villa garden was originally situated a few hundred metres from the point where it has been replanted, and it is estimated to be 500 years old.
The villa is surrounded by an unspoilt natural environment which does not present any invasive infrastructure or architecture, turning every point of view from the house on the outside into a picture. As a matter of fact, although it is part of a compound, most of the house façades have a very large visual depth, which has suggested the use of certain chromatic patterns, colours which draw on the territory’s nature in the various periods of the year, in a sort of attempt to capture a piece of landscape and bring it inside the villa.
For example, the green sofas in the formal living recall the fields of olive trees in the hills, the pink colour of the seats in the master bedroom and of the curtains in the living room are expression of the colour of flowers in spring, the yellow at the entrance reflects the citrus trees, whereas the combination of grey and blue of carpets and of some seats recalls the Tirana Lake, the caramel corridor on the first floor suggests the colours of sunset, etc. A specific chromatic research has also been carried out in connection with the artworks to be placed in the space under consideration.
A neutral colour has been used for façades, with an emphasis put on the architectural elements by the Lecce stone, also used for the floor and the pool, creating a soft contrast with the surrounding green. The villa complex that mirrors in the big swimming pool constitutes a particularly suggestive scenario. In the design phase, particular attention has also been reserved to the choice of the tree species, with the intention of representing the various seasons through colours. The trees, most of which are from the Mediterranean area, interact with the surrounding natural green.
Lighting and Technology
Both the main villa and the Guest House have been conceived with a latest-generation home automation system created by BPT, which integrates the most important functions for home control, including internal and external lighting, shutters, video-surveillance system, air conditioning system, door closure system, etc. The centralised heating/conditioning system is of the VRF type by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Moreover, considering the heights of the ground floor, a floor heating has been integrated for greater efficiency.
As regards the lighting, several accurate and specific lighting solutions have been developed for each room. In general, we have enriched the spaces on the ground floor and on the first floor with decorative and spectacular, sometimes suspended, lamps. On the contrary, downstairs, where heights are substantially reduced, a more technical and linear lighting has been preferred. Technical lighting has been curated in cooperation with Zumtobel, studying a system of visual exclusion through the arrangement of grooves in suspended ceilings, to insert accurate and adjustable lights. Source by Studio Marco Piva.
- Location: Tirana, Albania
- Architects: Studio Marco Piva
- Landscape: EGO Architecture – Egest Goxhaj & Partners
- Client: Private citizen
- Area: Plot of land of 11,200 square metres
- Area Villa: 640 square metres
- Area Guest House: 280 square metres
- Year: 2016
- Photographs: Andrea Martiradonna, Courtesy of Studio Marco Piva