HOUSE OF THE MONTH
A lamia structure with a guitar
Architect Nino Piccolo has restructured a very old rural building in Puglia, with inspiration for the pool shape coming from a guitar, in honour of the owners’ love for ‘The Blues’.
by ENRICO MORELLI – Photos by GIANNI FRANCHELLUCCI
Nino Piccolo, an architect with firms in Milan and Puglia, is quite passionate about the reclamation and restructuring of rural buildings, from lamia structures to manor farms. He recently reclaimed several tuff stone towers in the Plains of the Monumental Olive Trees area between Fasano and Ostuni; structures where peasants once harvested olives in. One of these simple, temporary homes, equipped with a fireplace, constituted the foundation of a new, 120-square-meter residence, completed last year for the family of an eye doctor friend, who also happens to love Blues music. The building has 1.1 hectares of land adjacent to it, with 130 one-hundred-year-old olive trees on it, as well as some younger ones, which do not have the Xylella fastidiosa bacteria (causing the olive quick decline syndrome-OQDS) thanks to the fact that, as the architect explained to Ville&Casali, “the land in this area has always been worked in a way that respects proper agricultural practices”.
In honour of the owners’ love for Blues music, the architect mapped out the area around the outdoor pool – measuring 60 square meters (12×5) – in the shape of an electric guitar from the 1960s. As is well known, the guitar as an instrument is what fans of this musical genre like to play most; an instrument rooted in the period around when slavery was abolished in the United States. “The electric guitar”, explains Piccolo, “is not present as a depiction or as an explicit image, but rather as a slight hint of landscaping, to delineate the spaces surrounding the pool area”.
The house consists of a living room with kitchen in the original part of the building, whereas the three bedrooms and three bathrooms are located in the two wings which have been added on. The dining room table is the result of a collaboration with GranitiFiandre Architectural Surfaces. Active Clean Air & Antibacterial material was used: a porcelain stoneware that actually destroys bacterial substances. A super-technological material for such a common, vernacular structure!
The exterior is split into three areas: one for lunch, one for relaxation, and another one for the kitchen-barbecue setting. All of the dehor patio areas are protected by stone masonry walls, built like theatre-wings, which provide protection against the gusty, north-westerly winds, while still allowing for a magnificent view of the countryside. On the exterior of the building, the architect opted for a play on architectural space through the creation of little stairs which, on the interior, offer the possibility for objects or furnishings to be placed here and there, thus for the spaces to be made use of in the best way.
For the interior design, the architect used objects and fabrics created together with his companion, Laura Pogliani, through their own company called Spezyale; a design atelier that handles areas of architecture, interior design, landscape architecture and textiles. “The home – as can be read on www.spezyale.com – is thought of as something like an item of clothing or a dress, which is therefore cut out and put together on many different mannequins, each one especially custom designed for every single customer”. For the interior design, Laura Pogliani used fabrics made from a very old, well-known philanthropic weaving mill in The Salento, Le Costantine (www.lecostantine.eu). The ceramic pieces come from Grottaglie, created by ceramicist Enza Fasano, the kitchen is by a local artisan, and the hanging lights (varnished iron tubes and LED light bulbs) were created from an original design by the architect himself. The resin floors, as well as the masonry heaters (hiding the serpentine) were made by the craftsman Nicola Lomartire. The paintings are by a friend of the architects’, the painter Claudio Giannini from Buenos Aires.
“The pool was built two hundred metres from the house so it won’t disturb anyone who might prefer reading or resting in the house”, as Architect Piccolo recounts. The swimming pool, furthermore, was thought up as more of a place for fun and recreation as opposed to one dedicated to just sport related activities”. Those who prefer to swim can go to the sea, which is only a few kilometres away. The swimming pool is not just for swimming as much as it is for sunbathing and cooling off. It is actually equipped with a wall that you can lean back on while sunbathing, or even while reading a book, with the possibility of cooling off from time to time by way of three wide water faucets from where refreshing water jets come pouring down at the simple touch of a button. A relaxation area was created all around the pool with conical towers inspired by the little knobs used to adjust the volume of an electric guitar. The surrounding garden was designed by Argentinian landscape architect Carina Ponieman. Lastly, an iron trellis is on its way to becoming a lovely pergola of climbing roses, creating yet another place for languid relaxation out in the countryside.