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Punto Zero: Transforming a 1970s Apartment into a Modern Oasis

Casa Isola, Messina, IT / Punto Zero Architetti

Punto Zero recently completed the renovation project of a spacious apartment located in a 1970s building in Messina, Sicily. The building itself had a reinforced concrete structure and a square floor plan with various recesses, lowerings, and openings along its entire facade, offering breathtaking views of the Strait of Messina.

Casa Isola, Messina, IT / Punto Zero Architetti

The architects, Giorgio Marchese and Arianna Nobile, faced the challenge of working with a large and fragmented floor plan, which lacked homogeneity. To address this, they made a deliberate decision to focus on a few key design elements that would create a cohesive and adaptable space. Their aim was to achieve a balance between openness and enclosure, continuity and fragmentation.

Casa Isola, Messina, IT / Punto Zero Architetti

The central island became the focal point of the entire intervention. This large capsule, positioned in the middle of the apartment, not only served as a physical element but also symbolized a separation between the private areas (such as the sleeping quarters and bathrooms) and the communal living spaces. The island was further emphasized by its cladding, which consisted of solid oak slats.

Casa Isola, Messina, IT / Punto Zero Architetti

Every dwelling is a self-contained entity, separate from its surroundings, much like an island. This concept is exemplified in the Punto Zero project, where a wooden capsule serves as a hidden guest bathroom. The interior of this capsule features a dark green grit floor and concrete gray walls. Additionally, a corner is dedicated to a home-office setup, complete with a desk for remote working. This corner can be accessed by opening two panels, resembling a book.

According to the architects, the curved and gentle profile of the capsule harmonizes with the angular shapes of the building. It complements the recesses, protrusions, beams, pillars, and lowered slabs, creating a dialogue between different architectural elements.

Casa Isola, Messina, IT / Punto Zero Architetti

Transformation is a central theme in the Punto Zero project. The island can be completely closed, emphasizing its architectural presence, or it can open up and alter the perception of space. In its open state, it unfurls like a panel, acting as a divider between the kitchen and the night corridor. The kitchen area itself is designed to be adaptable, with two large sliding panels made of light gray lacquered wood. These panels, with hints of light blue, demarcate the kitchen and dining room.

Casa Isola, Messina, IT / Punto Zero Architetti

The choice of materials in the project is carefully considered. The natural light oak parquet flooring inspired the use of solid oak for the central island. The other materials used include neutral lacquers in shades of light grey, with subtle touches of blue. This deliberate color scheme creates a chromatic contrast with the warm tones of the wood and the deep gray of the kitchen island.

Casa Isola, Messina, IT / Punto Zero Architetti

In the bathrooms, a combination of resin surfaces and grit flooring or covering is employed. In the bedrooms, distinct areas within the children’s rooms are defined by fields of color, with clear delineations on the walls and ceilings.

Ultimately, the Punto Zero project encapsulates the idea that every house is an island, whether it stands alone or forms part of a larger architectural ensemble.

Casa Isola, Messina, IT / Punto Zero Architetti

By strategically incorporating these strong design elements, Punto Zero successfully transformed the apartment into a fluid and versatile space. The restyling project not only enhanced the functionality of the apartment but also created a visually appealing environment that harmoniously blended with the surrounding landscape.

Image courtesy of Eller Studio