Umberto Riva, Casa De Paolini, Milan, Italy, 1985

Umberto Riva, Casa De Paolini, Milan, Italy, 1985

Umberto Riva, Casa De Paolini, via Antonio Tan­tar­dini, Milan, Italy, 1985. (view on google maps

The renovation project of the apartment is located in the attic of a Milanese building of the 1920’s.The architect designed the new layout by keeping a strong dialogue between the new and the old spatial layout. It was designed with P. Za­nella

A particular attention is given to, especially in the kitchen where there is an entire wall built in glass bricks, the use of plants and flowers participate in highlighting thresholds and limits of the spot.
The corridor is marked by a central column that defines two passages towards the living room where a system of rotating tables are also designed as integrated furniture. This rotation allows the vertical space to be optimized in its use since the ceiling is quite low.
Another characteristic of the house is the library: completely finished with beech wood. In this part of the apartment an easel like structure links the two sides of the door-window and holds an inclined light blue glass sheet. As common thread in the design of Casa De Paolini Umberto uses light and materials. Light guides the eye of the user highlighting every single detail of the furniture. Moreover, thanks to a clever use of materials such as translucent glass and light marble, its reflections give depth to the space. Other materials that participates in making the space vibrating are the application of northern woods and the delicate chromatic shadows of the vertical plastered surfaces.
Therefore the project aims at accentuating the formal complexity of the former space. The furniture is not only a container object, but it participates in the structure and form of the space. The living room is the heart of the home, the hub of the entire space. A steel frame supports a system with fixed panels and rotating shelves, four skylights illuminate the white marble floor tiles. The kitchen is orientated towards the living room but the two spaces are separated by a wall with glass at the top. Oblique angles are a constant detail in the design along with a great brightness (light colours of the floor, walls and finishes) and transparency (glass blocks).


Reviewed March 2017 by:

Sofiane Décombas-Deschamps

Darija Malesevic

Valentijn Veragten

Lode Borghs