Stones, Glass and Water

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Stones, Glass and Water

Another Villa of Light designed as a ship on the countryside's golden waves. A microcosm of light and reflections.

 "A ship on a sea of waving golden wheat." This is the image the architect Antonio Guarneri uses to describe his design built according to the Villa of Light theme in the Udine area. Immersed in an ocean of cultivated countryside, the house seems to move with its bow turned towards the infinity pool, which is mirrored by the creative use of solids and voids of the residence opening onto the surrounding rural landscape.

Geopietra Magazine contines its interview with the designer to learn about this interesting construction.

Water and large windows are your trademark, but stones?

Before drafting a design I like to go to the site where the new building will be situated and 'sniff out' the characteristics of the location, observing the area and its orientation towards the sun, and try to get a feel for its overriding idiosyncrasy. In this case two things struck me - the presence of the wheat billowing in the sun and the stones emerging from the soil in the fields that hadn't been farmed. These two factors came to mind during the planning and determined the shape and look of the house.

That brings me back to what I mentioned previously about the extremely important role of a company such as Geopietra in architecture. As I said, we architects finally have an endless range of possibilities available given the breadth of solutions in the Geopietra collection, but most of all we can be more daring by using different stone arrangements that may not have been possible due to sourcing difficulties or high costs. In fact the stunning cladding wouldn't have been possible with real rustic stone due to cost and excess weight. Geopietra provided them how I wanted - large, already cut, lightweight and in just one dark colour, letting me achieve the contrasting effect I was looking after: large, heavy-set walls in rustic stone alongside the fragility of glass.

Light and water also feature a great deal in this house?

The house enables the best exposure in each room due to having carefully studied the path the sun takes inside, with detailed planning of openings and shading. North-facing rooms appear particularly massive with a few essential openings, whereas those facing south, east and west feature very large double-height windows to ensure plenty light and sun in all indoor areas, and once lit in the evening they highlight the plasticity of the entire house, reflecting on the surrounding water. Water is present here in three forms - the swimming pool, a natural pond, and rainwater in the tank. It accompanies us from the gate, where the villa is entered like a moored boat i.e. via a suspended walkway over water covered with wooden slats reminiscent of a ship's deck. On the right is the natural pond with carp and pond plants, and on the left the rainwater lapping a wooden raft where an  alfresco lunch can be enjoyed. The swimming pool to the south laps the windows that open up onto the living area, and from here it is possible to dive directly into the pool. The pool is multi-functional - the deep end can be used for diving and swimming, the central area for hydromassage, and then the 'shoreline' where the water is at its lowest. The water is reflected into the living room day and night, thanks to the sun creating a 'swarm' of reflections on the white walls and ceiling, and the nocturnal underwater light creating spectacular four-colour atmospheres.

And what's it like inside?

An open-plan design characterises the day area where the living room, which is raised above the rest, is lapped by the water from the swimming pool to the south in full view of the wheat, and represents the 'navigating station' at the bow of this ship. The rooms are arranged for spatial continuity with a conservatory with grasses and citrus fruit acting as a filter between them, which not only has an important role as a sun house and shaft of light for the surrounding rooms, but also acts as a filter to the outside. The furnishings were designed and styled with the house and fit perfectly with the architecture. In the evening everywhere inside the villa is dominated by strip LED lighting, which emerges from gaps in the ceiling and walls, and the black of the laminated iron on some items of furniture contrasts perfectly with the warm colour of the Roman travertine, specially treated but not smoothed, which provides continuity between indoor and outdoor areas.

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Arch. Antonio Guarneri

Antonio Guarneri was born in Udine on 3 August 1960. He graduated from the Higher Institute of Architecture of Venice in 1989, with a score of 110/110 with a thesis entitled: project for the recovery and conversion of former children’s holiday colony in Milano Marittima into a tourist service centre – recovery of the estate by upgrading rational architecture as a strategy for urban and environmental renewal. In 1991, the project was awarded the 1st prize as the best project of the Cervia area. Since 1990 he has worked as a freelance architect in architectural design at its own Studio di Architettura&Ricerca in Basaldella di Campoformido in the province of Udine. From 1989 to 1991, he worked in collaboration with the Miami-based design office for the construction of a hotel & casino in the Caribbean, which enabled him to know first-hand the advanced construction techniques in American building construction. From 2000 to 2004, as side profession, he held the office as Operations Director of the Medieval Archaeological Museum of Attimis (UD) of his own design.

The prevailing architectural design activity is intentionally and passionately focused on the creation of private residential villas that are known as the “Villas of Light”. One of the distinctive features of his villas is that the high aesthetical value is enhanced by affordable construction cost. This is the result of a 35-year-long ongoing commitment to researching new technologies, materials and construction techniques, which has enabled architect Antonio Guarneri to create “Ville di Luce Ing&Arch and Tech”, i.e. a new integrated construction system that ensures high architectural and construction quality at low construction cost, using a set production/construction process mainly based on the choice, adoption and application of selected materials, state-of-the-art technologies and nanotechnologies.