We will call our client Emma for discretion’s sake and also to maintain a certain emotional distance.
Emma inherited an apartment from her father, the house where she lived when she was a girl and where her mother continued to live until ten years ago.
Even when the whole family was there, the apartment was too big for the four of them. Emma’s father filled it however, by throwing fabulous parties and hosting family reunions. Its worth saying, for those who don’t know the history of the city, that Palermo in the sixties was extremely different from how it is today. After the war it experienced a prolonged period of incredible economic growth. The palermitani invested heavily in their homes and to secure their children’s future. Emma’s father was no exception.
After her mother left the apartment, Emma didn’t know what to do with it. After almost fifty years the city had radically changed. The birth rate had declined and sons, if any, were staying at home until their 30’s. being single was in fashion.
for a whole year Emma alternated for sale and for rent signs on the building’s entrance gate without any positive response. The apartment was too big for an average family yet too expensive to be bought and refurbished. People were seeking smaller, easy to maintain flats and compact, multifunctional spaces.
Through all this Emma came to the realisation that she never really wanted to sell her parent’s house. Not having sold it during that year was simply destiny. What happens next is already history: Emma asked us to transform the apartment so that it could easily be rented.
The original apartment is located in an early forties block with a structure of load bearing walls and steel concrete floors. It was built along classical lines and composed of large adjoining rooms connected by a long corridor. The kitchen was a separated room with an adjacent small dining room.
We solved the problem given by the sheer size of the apartment by dividing it into three smaller units (35, 70, 110 sqm) thus giving the owner a range of units suitable for different types of tenant (singles, young couples, families. finally easier to rent! additionally the fully investment cost could be recovered by selling the smaller property, if required.
We turned the old entrance room into a new shared access area for the three units. the new layout is designed so that each apartment has at least one balcony. Once the perimeter of all the units was defined, we worked on subdividing the interior space to maximise the light and to introduce new functional elements. we used modest materials to obtain a strong graphic effect.
Area: 35 sqm
Tenants typology: single, young couples
Spaces: bedroom-living-room, bathroom
This apartment is a small open-plan space connected to a generous outside space in the form of a balcony accessed by two large french doors.
The bathroom, wardrobe and kitchen run neatly as a single unit running along two walls. the unit is made of a timber and metal structure covered with a lacquered mdf skin. Along the kitchen area the skin retracts showing the structure and lightening the unit. The floor is covered with an industrial parquet.
Area: 70 sqm
Tenants typology: professionals, young couples, families up to 3 people
Spaces: 2 bedroom, living-room, 2 bathrooms
Two blocks placed in the centre of a narrow space divide the living room from the main bedroom. The bigger block contains the kitchen, which faces the living area, and a bedroom. The smaller block houses two symmetrical bathrooms divided by a blue glass partition.
The blocks are made of plasterboard and the floor is covered with a bi-chromatic parquet in natural and white painted oak. The bi-chromatic floor pattern, pales from natural wood in the living room into mainly white in the corridor, darkening again into mainly natural wood in the bedroom.
Area: 100 sqm
Tenants typology: professionals, couples, families up to 4 people
Spaces: bedroom-living-room, bathroom
The main challenge in this apartment is its long corridor which connects the entrance to the living room. To minimise the uncomfortable sensation of a long and unpleasant walk we inserted four asymmetrical blocks containing the bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchen. To visually reduce the long-distance effect and highlight the access points of the different spaces, we partially tilted one of the faces of each block. Finally, a series of holes add texture and roughness to the blocks’ surfaces and double as light guides at night.
Built surface: 215 sqm
Construction cost: 150,000 euros
Project: Massimo Tepedino Studio
Collaborators: Mitana Aleksandrova, Polina Kurovskaya
Photos: Alberto Moncada
Furniture: Oji, Spazio Deep, Palermo
Artworks: FPAC Francesco Pantaleone arte contemporanea
Artists: Adalberto Abbate, Manifesto; Stefania Galegati, Gli scienziati; Francesco Simeti, Stampa; Christian Frosi, Foto di Palermo.