The restoration of Chasa Piazzetta offers an apt summary of the style of Duri Vital, a leading figure on the Swiss architecture scene, especially in Engadine.

Because bringing historic buildings back to life, conserving the original materials but redesigning spaces for the needs of the present, is part of the DNA of this Swiss designer.

As demonstrated by this two-family home from the 1600s, transformed into a modern structure with geothermal heating, a high-tech kitchen and deluxe bathrooms. Without ever erasing the signs of the past: the beautiful cedar walls, the niches sculpted in the thick stone, the smoke-blackened ceiling over the kitchen stove. It is even possible to still walk on the old wooden planks worn down by time by horsedrawn carts that once brought hay directly to the loft.

In every room there is a dialogue between present and past, tradition and modernity, becoming the true fil rouge of the project.

The new interventions are never superfluous, and have been reduced to a minimum: some new openings have been made in the facade, alongside the existing windows, to bring light to the previously rather dark interiors, while on ground level a functional connection has been made between the house and the former barn, now used as a domestic space.

The addition of structural elements like staircases and the service block also happens in terms of complete integration with the original structure, to avoid altering the harmonious proportions.

Likewise, the choices of materials and furnishings trigger a successful mixture of tradition and contemporary decor. The Stabellen chairs, the typical models with high sculpted backs, coexist with design classics: from the Wassily chairs by Marcel Breuer to the suspension lamps borrowed from Nordic architecture, all the way to the USM Haller furnishing system that alternates orange and brown as modern hues that fit perfectly into the context.

A rigorous, measured approach of functional but delicate efficacy, leaving all the beauty of the mountain setting intact.

Text by Laura Ragazzola – Photo by Bruno Augsberger