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    Picture: Michael Sieber

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Architect sees red for house design

Jeez Abbott
Thursday 10 Jan 2019

An architect tasked by his family to design a home was given free reign on creativity.

The result was a multiangular scarlet skin wrapping around the private house in Altamura, Italy — now entitled Gentle Genius.

The design by Giacomo Garziano, founder of Amsterdam-based studio GG-loop, is a testament to the architect’s passion for breaking with design conventions and represents one of the most dramatic residential renovations in recent times.

The architect’s parents asked Garziano to unite two sections of the house they have lived in for the past 40 years. The original building, constructed by Garziano’s grandfather in the 1950s, was extended in the 1970s. The architect’s bold choice of color and geometric form was driven by a desire to deliver architecture that strikes at the senses, with the façade’s crimson hue representing “the strength of the genius”.

“Red has the longest wavelength of the visible spectrum and can be associated with the longest sound waves that, rather than touching our ears, are felt in the torso,” explained Garziano. “Hence it touches the instincts of the viewer, it is not linear; it is multifaceted perception that reaches out from the walls, transforming a residential building into a sculpture.”

The building envelope stands in striking contrast to the pastel colors of neighboring houses, its diamond-shaped panels forming a fluctuating façade that creates a rupture within the urban fabric of Altamura. Garziano applied plaster, paint and resin to the exterior, creating a shimmering appearance that changes as the sun moves throughout the day.

“We wanted the building to vibrate over the whole day,” said the architect, “turning from red to blue thanks to the glossy finishing and from red to gold thanks to the more subtle golden vibrations of the glitter.”

The building’s appearance as an artistic installation is a reflection of its unusual duel program; as well as a private residence, it also accommodates the Italian office of art collective Elephants and Volcanoes. Accordingly, the interior renovation of the building was conceived as a separate but equally outlandish project entitled The Infection, relating to new life, the restoration of space and the healing power of architecture.

“Based on the Voronoi diagram, the furniture spreads its cells along the walls of the apartment, embracing and purifying the entire space,” the architect continues. The honeycomb-like network of integrated shelves, cupboards and other furnishings is emphasized with the aid of neon backlighting, creating an otherworldly environment.”

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