In Rome, in the heart of the Appio Latino district, a few steps from the Caffarella Park, the Rome-based duo La Macchina Studio has transformed a 1950s apartment into a surreal set where reality and fiction coexist in a quasi-theatrical scene. Thanks to the multidisciplinary approach of its two founders, the studio celebrates the graphic sign, in a project that fuses architecture, theatre, music and illustration.
In alignment with the wishes of the clients – a young couple – the architects have, on the one hand with the help of local craftsmen, recovered the pre-existing Venetian terrazzo flooring, while on the other they have completely disrupted the internal distribution to give way to a new storytelling.
Kicking off with the insertion of new materials in correspondence with the traces of the original divisions, the living area is defined by a clear band in black and Botticino marble. The area along the corridor takes up the original design of the flooring with a pinkish binder with pozzolan powder, while the bedroom is tinged with the warm nuances of brick red microcement. The result is a combination of designs in different grains and colours that creates a “collage” effect, in contrast with the absolute white of the plastered walls.
“With Retroscena, we wanted to enhance the irreverent and surreal nature of the architectural story, which is inextricably linked to its photographic alter-ego by playing with colour contrasts, graphic motifs and unexpected incursions,” says Gianni Puri and Enrica Siracusa, founders of La Macchina Studio.
The apartment reveals itself longitudinally along the main wall, which represents the limit between private and representative space and creates a landscape punctuated by three different elements.
A white lacquered bridge wardrobe hides a small study: the reader’s refuge, an intimate, silent space, isolated from the rest of the home. A grey-blue flush-to-the-wall door that seems drawn on, gives access to the salle de bain covered in white mosaic with contrasting joints, cut by an ogival passage which gives a glimpse the back wall in peacock-colored enamel and the free washbasin standing. Finally, an arched door in classic blue lacquered wood leads to the sleeping area with clear lines and a welcoming atmosphere. The door, with its wooden profile that juts out 70cm towards the dining room, is the centerpiece of the living area and hides the kitchen furniture from view.
The living room is the largest space in the house: a yellow curtain runs along the demolished partition, outlining the areas and drawing a soft border between the different functions.
Retroscena offers a playful and fantastic vision of the house. Bold color choices and savvy design tricks give personality to the interiors, turning the spotlight on the inhabitants, protagonists of a theatrical – and architectural – piéce full of surprises.