This Luxury Italian Home is a Modern Marriage of Contemporary Design and Mountains “We were faced with two very different contexts and our main aim was to create a building capable of dialoguing with its surroundings”. – Roberto Salvischiani Set up in the green hills of Trento, northern Italy, Casa MF provides observers with an impressive sight. Partly resting on and partly hanging over a slope between the contrasting neighbourhood of vineyards and residential houses, the insistent rectangular shape of Studio Raro’s all-concrete design is dominant, yet not overwhelming. With trees and plants purposefully aligned around the garden and original elements like a dry-stone wall kept in place, Casa MF successfully fits in with its environment. Still, the combination of strong artificial elements like monochrome concrete walls and large glass panes is eye-catching. This also applies to the perpendicularly placed swimming pool, lying in the green space on the lower part of the split-level building and made up of a darker stone than its counterpart. Casa MF sparks interest and poses questions, so we spoke to Roberto. THE PLUS: What was the design process like? Any big challenges? Roberto Salvischiani: The construction company Fogarolli s.r.l. was planning to develop the site for the real estate market by building a distinguished single house. Out of various proposals, Casa MF was immediately chosen. Structurally, the real challenge was to design a suspension system for the overhanging portion of the house. In this feat, our collaboration with the Pb-Ingenieur engineering studio of Merano was priceless. Together, we designed a system of roof beams to support the overhang of the building from above. TP: What’s your opinion on the glass and concrete combination? RS: In our design, concrete represents ‘closure’ and glass ‘opening’. We were faced with two very different contexts on either side of the building site. On one side we had an amalgamation of quite ordinary residential buildings, whereas on the other side we had an incredible view across the entire valley. The use of concrete and glass helped to highlight this contrast. TP: Is it inspiring or intimidating working with such beautiful natural surroundings? RS: We were well aware of the watershed scenario during planning and our main aim was to create a building capable of dialoguing with its surroundings. We employed concrete, grey like the surrounding mountains, and at the same time created internal spaces permeable to the view and greenery of the valley. TP: You used a touch of wood inside – where did you source it from? RS: The oak flooring, sourced abroad, was chosen for the upstairs living area with the idea of creating a warm and welcoming everyday environment. TP: What does simplicity in architectural design mean to you? RS: To base an entire project on a simple idea is a real challenge. However, if this idea is maintained and reflected in the finished product, we consider it a conquest. With a linear design such as this one, great attention must be paid to the numerous intricacies and details involved in order to maintain the desired simplicity of form in the finished construction. TP: What do you most enjoy about residential projects? RS: Mainly the fact that such projects are generally of moderate size, but also the challenge of responding to the various needs and requirements of those who will actually live in the building. TP: Were the clients happy with the final design? RS: The clients, and future residents of the house, were very enthusiastic about the architectural choices and the functional distribution laid down in the design phase. They were keen to make themselves available during construction. This process allowed them to take part in the project from the very beginning and helped to ensure a satisfying outcome. TP: Are you a nature-dweller or city-dweller at heart? RS: This duality, in the province in which we live, is virtually non-existent. Cities are small and nature is never more than a stone’s throw away from anywhere. Deep down we enjoy both, however, and also the union between the two.