A renovated apartment in the heart of Padua, between abstraction and materiality

The intervention unravels amidst the folds of history in the historic center of an Italian city, bringing to light traces of different pasts in constant dialogue with the geometries and materials of contemporary design.

Renovated by Serena Vianello and Tommaso Gasparin, Casa ST is an apartment located in a historic building in the center of Padua. The signature gestures chosen by the designers are a more rational reorganization of spaces, through selective demolition of partitions and repositioning of doors – the two crossed tie-rods become the icon of this project are worth being noticed – and a precise design attitude towards what is existing and what is new.

The historical elements, such as variously crafted masonry components, fragments of frescoes, and plaster, are consolidated and exposed to create a material-perceptual narrative of what the palace has been and how it has evolved. Contemporary additions are treated as an abstract layer with white coatings in paints, panels, boiseries, and perforated metal sheets. Subdued colors are solely derived from the parquet flooring renewal and the introduction of the Pietra di Vicenza (Vicenza stone) , which appears in slabs, creating a step/seat along the edge connecting to the terrace, and in the kitchen top, as well as inert material forming the cementitious aggregate for the floors and bathroom coverings.

Vianello gasparin progetti, Casa ST, Padua, Italy 2023. Photo Marcello Mariana

Among the technological solutions targeted for energy efficiency are internal insulation, underfloor heating systems, and centralized air conditioning powered by a heat pump. All these elements are harmonized with great attention to construction details, allowing the dialogue between the old and the new to take on a leading role, unfolding along surfaces and furnishings.

As in other projects involving existing buildings, the expressive abstention favoring of the sensory interaction between materials from different eras becomes an architectural language, fitting into a widely documented and codified design category in contemporary practice.

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