perotta iberto architetti

Mozzo's roof
location: Genoa, Italy
year: 2022-2023
client: private
photo: Anna Positano

The apartment is located on the top floor of one of the historic Genoese buildings listed in the famous Rolli, the "lists" of the Genoese Republic where the most prestigious noble palaces served as places of hospitality for delegates, nobles, ambassadors, or illustrious figures visiting.
The palace, built on medieval foundations, dates back to the first half of the 16th century. Transformed several times over the centuries, like many other adjacent buildings, it was heavily damaged during the bombings of the Second World War. Thus, the last two floors and especially the large pavilion roof, among the most prominent in the entire historic center, were reconstructed by the Civil Engineering Corps immediately after the end of the conflict, employing a robust structure of reinforced concrete trusses, the only technology at the time capable of ensuring speed of execution and economic sustainability.
Right here, between the thick 16th-century walls and the massive concrete roof, the apartment is situated.
The numerous transformations undergone throughout its long history have delivered a complex and charming space that has positively impressed the young couple for whom we have created the new spaces. Finally, a renovation carried out in the mid-90s, which blended traditional features such as the widespread use of marble and slate, with an aesthetic approach typical of those years, resulting, for example, in the lacquered red doors, was the decisive factor that ultimately convinced them to make the purchase.
The underlying premises of our task were therefore outlined in the desire to preserve something significant from the previous renovation, combined with the imperative need to radically transform an imposing existing iron and slate staircase that occupied a large part of the living space. We thus identified and developed a reasoned approach on one hand, between a more efficient redistribution of spaces and the respect for the intrinsic characteristics of the internal volume, and on the other hand, between the preservation of some elements characterizing the 1990s aesthetics (doors and marbles) and the perspective of making the whole more contemporary and in line with the needs of a young couple.
Starting from the redesign of a large double-height living space with an open kitchen, equipped with three main windows (including two French doors) overlooking the roofs of the historic center, by eliminating the existing small kitchen and rearranging the staircase, we then worked on the introduction of new materials and colors that could engage in a dialogue with the existing. In this logic, in addition to the already present red of the doors, the other two primary colors, yellow and blue, were introduced, composing a unified whole with various distinct architectural or furnishing elements.
A yellow wardrobe-staircase constitutes the first part of the ascent to the attic floor and contains a functional wardrobe shoe rack for the entrance, the niche for the TV, and Mozzo's bed, the feline member of the family; a large blue fireplace gives scale to the double height and marks the transition between the living and dining areas; a blue metal pillar separates the entrance from the rest of the living area; a red step invites, like the doors, to access the upper floor.
The other elements mediate with different materials on the scale between white and black: the white perforated sheet metal staircase emerges from the yellow furniture, filters light for the entrance, and serves as a railing for the loft, where in continuity with the ascent, a large hammock finds space between the concrete trusses; the kitchen unfolds between the white of the pantry cabinet and the black of the island and frames the sculptural presence of the traditional "Genoese" Carrara marble sink, recovered and relocated; finally, a grey resin carpet that becomes seating, storage, and step, stitches together the historical marble and slate floorings.
The sleeping area is located behind the living area, where the main bathroom, entirely in split slate, has been preserved through a neater rearrangement of the original slabs, a redistribution of sanitary fixtures, and the creation of a new mirror. Upstairs, among the powerful trusses, a relaxation-study area welcomes an additional folding ladder (also white), allowing a view from the skylight above and a glimpse of the large roof and the surrounding panorama.

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