The triumph of invention

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The Gruppo Lithos project in a penthouse at Milano Marittima shows how a large space can be beautifully refurbished through skilful visual subdivision into functional zones

In a penthouse near the coast in Italy’s Romagna region, the project by architecture firm Gruppo Lithos renovates a large terrace with decorative sleight of hand in the paving.
One may sometimes be reluctant to call in an architect to deal with a small project (whether private or commercial), but the truth is that a skilled professional can overturn preconceptions with an inventiveness that transforms a problem into a resource. Proof is provided by this project by Gruppo Lithos (Sabrina Farneti, Enrico Pistocchi, Fulgenzia Ravegnani), who brilliantly refurbished the large, neglected terrace of the Palanti penthouse at Milano Marittima, long overlooked because it was too large and, as such, difficult to use. It was a real pity, because the terrace enjoys a peerless view over the sea on one side and on the Romagna town’s signature pine wood on the other.

Successful ideas are unexpected, minor masterpieces of rationality and imagination. What the customer saw as faults – “it’s large, windy and lacking in privacy” – were skilfully transformed into plus factors by the architecture firm with the right mix of style and function, effectively converting a little-used space into the apartment’s most attractive area. The surface of the terrace was visually subdivided by creating textured “carpets” of the Crogiolo D_Segni collection by Marazzi, reinvented and alternated in the Micro 3 and Micro 4 decors.

“Initially,” Enrico Pistocchi explains, “the terrace was really very large, so it lacked intimacy and appeal. Using two geometric patterns from the D_Segni collection with different decorative scales, we were able to design four “carpets” that subdivide the space and define several different functional zones, to give the project an attractive, intimate character.” The most obviously convenient of these open-air “rooms” is definitely the dining area, which can be used even at the hottest times of day because it is shaded by an elegant pergola with adjustable louvres. The decorative geometrical pattern of D_Segni, which brings the cement tile effect up to date in stoneware, reappears on the screen installed inside the perimeter railings which, distracting the gaze from the existing buildings, focuses attention on the view and also provides more privacy. “We constructed made-to-measure metal furnishings with the same decor as Tappeto Micro 3,” Enrico Pistocchi continues, “to create a detail that would run right around the terrace and embrace the space’s users.” And the Marazzi decor is used in an even more visible position on the sun screens that decorate the French windows.

Ph. Enrico Pistocchi