Reggio nell'Emilia | historic center | 2020

Casa DFL is a portion of a building that stands in the historic center of Reggio Emilia, a short distance from Piazza Fontanesi, Corso Garibaldi and the Church of S. Giorgio; an 18th-century building that has undergone, over time, countless planimetric and distributional changes that have significantly altered its original layout.

The accommodation is located on the second floor, the piano nobile, which is accessed by crossing an inner courtyard and climbing the grand staircase.
Planimetrically, the house presented itself with an already very functional distribution, a large open entrance space that becomes a distributor to the various rooms: the living room, the master bedroom, the second bedroom and, preceded to a small hallway, the bathroom.

The open entrance space, which in the project will accommodate the kitchen and dining room, had poor and uneven, fragmented materials, a consequence of the obvious formal and distributional changes to which the building was subjected.

The salon and master bedroom, on the other hand, were in an astonishing state of preservation with remarkable finishes, materials and decorations.
The wooden floors were the original ones, in the salon with large running planking and in the chamber with laths laid in the Italian herringbone pattern with perimeter frames; the ceilings are coffered, entirely and finely decorated with geometric and descriptive paintings; in the salon, there is a splendid depiction of nature placed in the center and reframed.

The walls of these rooms were less interesting in their actual state; they were entirely covered with wallpaper indicatively applied in the early 1950s.
Delving deeper with the client, who had owned the building for generations, it was realized that there could be very interesting wall decorations under these old papers, and after several surveys it was decided to remove this covering completely; what was discovered became the matrix of the project.

Design matrix

The walls of the salon and master bedroom were fully decorated with fine designs in colors that are still perfectly recognizable.
Obviously, decorations and painting had been, over the years, partly affected by both the glues of the coverings and the countless traces to allow the passage of various technological systems.

Invasive and destructive dynamics that have not, however, compromised the remarkable power of the visual impact that one still has now in these environments.

The project then becomes a completely independent and autonomous body in relation to this splendid and delicate box with which it must dialogue, with the aim of paying perpetual homage to it and being functional at the same time.
The few added volumes, necessary for fruition, are immediately recognizable and dissonant elements from the original style.
The whole light system thus becomes external, without traces, noninvasive and perfectly legible, it becomes design.


Design and text Gianluca Bertolini Architect

Photographs Andrea Motti