by Pallavi MehraMay 11, 2022
Italian designer duo La Macchina Studio has completed Retroscena, a home where architecture, graphic design, theatre, music and illustration combine like watercolour cakes laid inside a paint set. Originally a 1950s apartment, the house was transformed into a “surreal set where reality and fiction coexist in a quasi-theatrical scene,” according to Gianni Puri and Enrica Siracusa, founders of La Macchina Studio.
Located in the heart of Appio Latino in Rome, Italy, Retroscena is designed for a young couple who wished to keep the pre-existing Venetian terrazzo flooring, aided by local craftsmen who restorated it with some new materials. The rest of the residential design erupts in a fresh storytelling format, with solid blue arches and vivid yellow accents sitting pretty against minimal white surfaces.
“With Retroscena, we wanted to enhance the irreverent and surreal nature of the architectural story, which is inextricably linked to its photographic alter-ego by playing with colour contrasts, graphic motifs and unexpected incursions,” share Puri and Siracusa.
The renovation makes way for a clear band in black and Botticino marble that defines the living area’s floor. The corridor maintains the original flooring style of a pinkish binder with pozzolan powder, while the bedroom welcomes warm nuances of brick red microcement, giving it a pinkish hue. “The result is a combination of designs in different grains and colours that create a ‘collage’ effect, in contrast with the absolute white of the plastered walls,” the designers remark.
The 75 sqm house unravels longitudinally along the main wall, the spaces punctuated by different elements, and simple, lacquered wood furniture and lighting pieces. The living room takes up the most space in the dwelling, its centerpiece a cobalt blue arched door that faces daffodil yellow curtains running along the demolished partition wall.
These provide a soft border for demarcating the spaces, behind which sits a low height blue console. The arched doorway juts out 70cm toward the dining room with a white spindly table and skinny chairs, a top shaped colour pop lamp hangs overhead. A circular red art piece rests above a teal green sofa placed in the space, separated by the curtains.
A grey-blue doorway set flush to the wall almost seems drawn on, and opens into a two-room bathroom. White ceramic square tiles with black grouting cover the wall of the first one with a shower space and bathtub. A simplified Gothic arch cuts into this tiled wall, framing a washbasin that sits inside the second part of the washroom with peacock blue enamel covering, and two commodes placed on opposite walls (hidden from view).
The classic blue arched wooden door leads into the bedroom with powder pink flooring and a quaint interior outlined by a low hanging pendant light and soft coloured drapes. The hallway’s spine hosts a white lacquered bridge wardrobe, which conceals a small study; an intimate, silent space designed as a reader’s refuge, separated in design and aesthetic from the rest of the playful interior design.
“Retroscena’s bold colour choices and savvy design tricks give personality to its interiors, turning the spotlight on the inhabitants, protagonists of a theatrical and architectural piece full of surprises,” observe Puri and Siracusa.
Location: Quartiere Appio Latino, Rome, Italy
Ground Floor Area: 75 sqm
Year of completion: 2020
Architect: La Macchina Studio (Gianni Puri, Enrica Siracusa)