Maria Claudia Clemente and Francesco Isidori, founders of Labics, tell us about the project to renovate this large apartment located in the historic center of Rome. Among the various aspects that make this project interesting, one of the main aspects is the distribution of the various residential areas that are placed in series between them, canceling the concept of private space and connection space
Pantheon House, 2015/2016, Rome
Can you tell us about the Pantheon House project?
The intervention consists of the renovation of two floors in a 17th century building located in Via del Pantheon. The project strategy is based on the interpretation of the characteristics of the place in typological, spatial and material terms and taking into account the character and the personality of the clients. The first approach was to revive, on both levels, the original spatial structure, characterised by a sequence of rooms, one inside the other, without a distribution hierarchy between open and closed, public and private. In this way a totally open house was achieved, in which the spaces are largely shared, an expression of an extremely cohesive family. To reiterate the original structure of the space, the threshold between one room and another was reinforced by the presence of a portal – in marble on the third floor and in brass on the fourth.
The second tactic was to try to combine the traditional dense Roman materials with the abstraction of Japanese culture, which the owners admire. This was the stimulus in trying to a bridge the gap between Roman classicism and the Eastern world through a reasoned use of materials and textures, putting together on one hand the lightness and reduction of signs and on the other the use of materials traditional such as marble, brass and stucco. Lastly, the third strategy was to integrate all the fixed furnishings – the necessary containers – into the blind walls of the house to create a “void”; a geometric frame, reminiscent of the Japanese shoji, that modifies the spaces according to needs, thus creating a continuity between the settings. Even the staircase, a new link between the daytime and night-time floors, of notable of lightness is a conception courageously suspended amidst the void, anchored to the floor with a light brass structure.
Pantheon House, 2015/2016, Rome
This project although objectively contemporary has a Decò taste, would this be a correct interpretation?
It is a possible interpretation, but it was not in the initial intention of the project. Certainly, the use of brass and marble, together with some objects chosen by the clients – think about Seguso lamps or Sputnik chandeliers – have contributed to this feeling.
For us, some of the objectives, which are the basis for the project are important: on the one hand to interpret the idea of the house as a place for sharing, in a modern way that respects the historical spatial structure. The result was that of an extremely innovative house: a house without corridors, without a hierarchy between public and private, without subdivision between serving spaces and served spaces. The second objective, regarded an experimentation of the expressive possibilities of traditional materials like marble, stucco and brass, used in a contemporary way.