September 10, 2012
A dyeworks in the nineteenth century, a carpenter’s workshop in the fifties, today ‘Box House’ is the residential loft of an architect whose design language and signature style is the fusion of modern and antique. Alessandro Capellaro and his partner Sabrina Bignami of B-arch architecture studio are both interested in the integration of contemporary language into historical contexts.
The architect has the challenge of foreseeing the potential of a space that might look very different from the final project, renovating it in a modern key, and adapting it to modern aesthetics and ways of life that still preserve the charm and essence of the historic atmosphere. As soon as Capellaro saw this space, he knew he wanted to transform the ex-industrial carpentry area into his own living room. “Behind the saws and planers that submerged from the wood, I saw an open space, free from conventions and full of memories.”
His design aimed to free up the space, removing partitions and replacing extant small windows with much larger ones that go all the way up to the vaulted ceiling, in order to create extra large, bright space. But the memory of the old carpenter’s workshop is not dismissed, but it is indeed evoked in a new, original and fun way through the distinctive furniture which is the true, leading character of the house. Three hundred wooden boxes – authentic ballot boxes from the 1940s – are arranged in every room, acting as creative boiserie in the dining room, a mobile counter in the kitchen, as a cupboard, couch, desk, and even bed. Sensing the enormous creative potential in these boxes, the architect purchased them en bloc at an auction with the intention of turning them into shelves or real base modules with which to design very personal furniture.