WORDS Gina Dionisio PHOTOS Alberto Strada
This minimalistic apartment in the heart of Milan, designed by architectural firm ATOMAA, is a harmonious blend of colour, modern materials and traditional Italian craftsmanship.
This contemporary refurbished apartment, nestled within the confines of a 1960s apartment building, pays homage to the artisanal traditions of the past and places a strong emphasis on the use of materials, making them the focal point of its design.
This is no ordinary space – ATOMAA deliberately shunned the idea of ‘traditional’ rooms and corridors by creating a series of intimate interlocking areas that lie concealed behind functional surfaces.
In the open-plan kitchen, the island and sideboard in a rich, wine-red hue discreetly conceals a wide array of culinary tools, while sand-coloured wooden panels hide the sink and shelves. Every surface in this space tells a story of connection and human touch. “The embossed lacquers offer a velvet-like texture under your fingertips, narrating the moment when sand and colour harmoniously blended. The elm’s grain that envelops the kitchen transports us to the thoughtful selection of slabs artfully juxtaposed. Meanwhile, the cool and impeccably smooth concrete countertops mirror the painstaking effort of those who polished them,” says ATOMAA.
At the other end of the open-plan space lies the living area. Part bay window, part winter garden, this space features a small wooden alcove with plush seating – perfect for lazy reading in the sun. Here, the worn-out, damaged parquet flooring was removed to reveal a sculpted matrix of timber ‘bones’; an artwork unknowingly created by a skilled artisan. The new custom terrazzo paving draws inspiration from the irregular vibrations of the existing floor substructure.
At the back of the room, the natural wooden panelling and a single step in pink pigmented concrete with marble inserts define the transitional boundary between living and private spaces. Following the outline of an old bathroom window just above the living space, a new framed view opens up, with secret doors concealing areas like the guest bathroom, laundry and minibar.
The small guest bathroom features hand-crafted zellige tiles and a custom-made cement sink, while a high window lets in soft natural light from above.
Through another panel lies the compact master suite, which features a walk-in closet and en-suite bathroom modelled on a private spa. There is a sense of peace, silence, and tranquillity in this spa-like space. The walls of the shower and large bathtub are both covered with black zellige tiles, which reflect changing light throughout the day. A custom-made white cement sink, expertly crafted, lightly rests on the dark volume of the floor-level tub. On the other side of the en-suite lies a second shower and basin covered in two shades of green zellige tiles inspired by the famous tiled Milanese facades of the 60’s.