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An eco-friendly villa on the Italian Riviera

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Wood-effect stoneware: designing a sustainable house - 1

Energy efficiency and environmental sustainability are the key concepts for the design of a private home on three floors, built on totally green principles with ultra-technological control systems, designed by architect Maurizio Varratta. The choice of porcelain stoneware from the Mystone and Grande collections, both in Ceppo di Gré variant, for many of the indoor coverings is one of the new home’s defining stylistic notes.

“You don’t often find clients prepared to trust completely to the architect for the total redesign of their home,” comments Maurizio Varratta, an architect from Genoa who trained at the Renzo Piano Building Workshop, and who has also had an academic teaching career in Italy and abroad. “But I immediately found myself in harmony with the clients, and the project took shape almost instinctively,” the architect, who has led his own firm since 1999 in projects from architectural design to space planning and product and interior design, explained.


The project involves the construction of an eco-friendly villa with high energy performance on the Italian Riviera. It involved the demolition of an old existing house and the reconstruction of an energy efficient building: from the double glazing with a high degree of thermal and acoustic insulation to the external walls, provided with outstanding energy and acoustic properties thanks to the insulating package designed, and the system of fixed and movable screens that protect the home from excessive sunlight.
The building is also highly sustainable from the point of view of its systems: its electricity requirements during the day are entirely met by the 10 kW solar panel system installed on the roof.


The villa has three floors. The basement houses the plant room, the electrical switchboards and the pool recirculation and purification equipment, a laundry room and a storage room that can be accessed from the garden via a mechanised platform lift. The ground floor, surrounded by large windows overlooking the garden, comprises a kitchen, a large living and dining room, guest bathroom and two bedrooms with a toilet area. The first floor consists of the master bedroom area – bedroom, bathroom, dressing room and anteroom –, a study, a music and TV lounge that converts into a guest bedroom with adjoining bathroom, a large terrace and two large perimeter balconies.


Materials played a key role. “We selected two different solutions for the floor coverings: solid oak wood boards, sourced from properly managed local forests, and Marazzi stoneware in the Ceppo di Gré effect, used in large slabs that provide the key to the style of the whole project,” Maurizio Varratta explains.


In particular, the Mystone Ceppo di Gré collection, in the Grey shade, was installed on the floors of the living area and on the surfaces of the bathrooms, as well as being used on the staircase from the ground floor to the basement. At the same time, the extremely large, slimline thickness (just 6 mm) slabs in the Grande Stone Look Ceppo di Gré collection were chosen for the kitchen walls.


The end result is contemporary and sophisticated. “As always, the outcome was achieved through close cooperation between the architects, the producers’ technical experts and the craftsmen who work with skill and passion to come up with innovative, or simply different, solutions, to produce results that make the crucial difference,” Maurizio Varratta concluded.