Piano Noble Loft & Round Wall Studio by Alepreda Architecture

WORDS Cheri Morris IMAGES Ottavio Tomasini

Located in Brescia, Italy this gut renovation saw alepreda architecture overhaul two apartments – Piano Noble Loft and Round Wall Studio – in a historic Palazzo fallen into architectural disrepute. The result? Space-smart contemporary spaces that pay homage to their architectural past lives.

The architects came to both apartments to find structural disasters: sagging central beams, haphazardly butchered secondary beams and unsupported chimney flues. Living spaces were greedily partitioned into a multiplicity of shoeboxes sans access to daylight.

The installation of steel columns, brackets and reinforced screed at floors addressed the structural failures, while discrete architectural responses addressing each space’s unique ceiling height restored their original grandeur. The Loft expands vertically, taking advantage of the 4.4-meter high ceiling, and the Studio develops horizontally through a series of partial-height partitions.

Contemporary wall “objects” living at a scale between interior architecture and furniture counter characterful historic fabric – decorated primary beams and coffered wood ceilings. A thickened perimeter sheetrock wall aligning with the datum established by the partial-height partitions addresses the unevenness of the existing walls, additionally creating a display shelf and cavity for appliances.

At the Loft, a mezzanine volume solves two problems: storage and an elevated bedroom overlooking the living space. Here, the sheetrock thickened solid railing doubles as a headboard and night table. At the Studio, partial-height partitions and an L-shaped volume housing the bathroom/walk-in closet imply rooms without subdivision.

Many of the furniture pieces are designed by alepreda for miduny furniture (the studio’s sister company). miduny’s furniture combines timeless form with warm materials and whimsical accents and is made in Verona by master artisans. The pieces aptly express a tension between the softness of hand-craftsmanship and the minimalist form; a mirroring of the tension expressed at the architectural scale.

Love these spaces? Check out Francois Irvine’s light-filled loft apartment in Bo-Kaap here.