For a company, overturning perspective by upsetting custom and the traditional approach to a product is a risky and courageous undertaking. Cristina Rubinetterie took a courageous risk, entrusting the new design of the Milan showroom to Elisa Ossino. "Often a tap is purchased by evaluating mainly the aesthetic factor, a choice that sometimes entails certain inconveniences. This is why we have designed an experiential space where one can move around freely, try out the products and test their ergonomics," explains the interior designer. Upon entering the showroom, the new approach is evident in the search for immediate communication with the visitor. Ossino's reflection concerned the method of display, whereby the tap, considered as an object, is perceived not only from an aesthetic/material point of view, but for the functionality inherent in the different flow of water, understood as an essential component. Hence the idea of an emotional approach given by the customer's interaction with elements in the fullness of their function.
"In common with the company, we wanted to create a textural envelope, in which the vibration of light, a fundamental component for me in the success of a project, would accompany the reverberation of water," says Ossino. The choice of materials emphasises the approach: travertine (an element that has been close to water since ancient times) of bathtubs and some vertical surfaces, combined with lime walls, whose natural chiaroscuros are accentuated by a selected finish in the same colour tone as the stone, left as natural as possible. While the cocciopesto of the floors, chosen after careful research and continuous tests to measure its grain size, presents a very fine grain with a material effect in harmony with the space. The result is a monochromatic box where the vibration of light is given by the alternation of natural materials.
The project is also recounted in its architectural suggestions: "In my work as an interior designer I always seek the centrality of space, in an alternating play of full and empty spaces, of simple and clear volumes. First of all, I cancelled the wings that closed the shop windows: an invitation to enter because already from the outside you can enjoy the breadth of the space and the animation inside. I kept only a central partition in the shop window to bring the story of a product closer to the public, creating two arches with waxed iron girders which, as well as giving greater depth, create a visual telescope that ends in a shower area dedicated to relaxation and wellness with a working shower head, visible also from the outside," continues Ossino. The space is characterised by four wall niches displaying the latest and "working" series of taps: a pathway emphasised by large rectangular suspended travertine basins that function as large washbasins.
References, collections, apps
The lower level is dedicated to accessories and the completion of the collections. The space is open, dynamic: on the perimeter walls runs a wide variety of references and kitchen mixers installed in the stylised space hinted at by the canned wood. The rigorous layout is enlivened by the presence of two round bathtubs, in front of the wall with the shower offerings, and four washbasins presenting the freestanding offerings. A circumscribed area is dedicated to thermostatic solutions: an Antrax IT radiator (black, geometric, rigorous) illustrates the performance of Code®, a new intelligent system produced by Caleffi S.p.A. to remotely regulate the temperature of every room in the home through a dedicated app.
The two sculptural solid wood central tables, characterised by strong curves and slender edges, and the small meeting table closed by sliding glass windows, are all designed by Elisa Ossino, except for the Scandinavian design seats. Ekinex took care of the entire domotic management of the space, configuring the lighting scenarios, night installations, shop windows, air conditioning and energy consumption in a single centralised system.
Ph. Alberto Strada