Following the slope of the terrain, a villa by Parisotto+Formenton Architetti in Arona constructs a visual route composed of sequential framings of the landscape of Lago Maggiore, lured inside as if it were a construction material

The confident and conscious use of a modern language is the striking aspect of the project by Aldo Parisotto and Massimo Formenton for a hillside villa in Arona, in the province of Novara. An elegant use, without tensions, in perfect balance between contextualism, tectonic values and abstraction.

The aim, after all, is clear, namely to create a work of architecture capable of drawing the landscape inside, as if it were a construction material, while at the same time bringing the space of the dwelling outside in a natural way, without forcing it, through the shaping of a complex continuity of atmospheres. All, however, without losing that compositional clarity that is the studio’s foremost linguistic signature.

Aldo Parisotto and Massimo Formenton begin the joint professional activity in 1990 and the Studio Parisotto + Formenton Architetti is born in Padua. In 2004 he opened the Milan office. Their research is oriented towards multiple design themes, developing experience in a national and international context (Europe, the United States and the Far East) in the field of architecture, interior architecture and design.

This is why the project, which on two levels follows a slope facing Lago Maggiore, organizes a pure basic volume with a series of staggered planes, building an ideal visual route composed of sequential framings of the eastern shore and the Rocca di Angera.

It all starts from the street, to which the building turns its back. A deep white horizontal plane, resting on two partitions clad in slim limestone strips, marks the still invisible access. Patches of open sky opened in the roof lead, with a second turn, to the entrance proper, where the landscape finally starts to show itself.

Here, from the stucco volume of the main body of the house, the horizontal plane extends to insert itself in the stone elevator block, joined to the rest of the villa by a glass corridor that offers an initial framed view of the lake.

It is only inside, though, that the view can definitively open up. The living area, after a small service bathroom, is organized as a single open, fluid space, where every design choice speaks of a physical and visual continuity with the exterior, in a clear reference to Mies.

Like the slender sections of the full-height glazing frames, for example, and the precision with which – meeting edge-to-edge – they open the southeastern corner to a large loggia lit by screened openings. Or like the slimness of the circular pillars in tubular steel, painted white, conceived to vanish in the surrounding panorama.

Everything has been carefully studied, from the straight and juxtaposed installation of the oak planks of the floor, forming large, regular fields, to the choice of a furnishing system that reinterprets the finest Italian tradition of the 1950s, with a refined, discreet design.

From this point on the route divides in two. In one corner of the external loggia, clad in the same stone as the partitions, a very light helical staircase in white steel forms a counterpart for the double curved ramp inside, clad in oak, that seems almost to have been cut into the plaster. Both lead to the lower level, in a larger and decided more subdivided volume, which contains the nighttime zone. Here the layout of the three bedrooms and two bathrooms is more conventional, for clear functional necessities, but nothing changes in terms of atmosphere.


If possible, in fact, the smaller size of the openings makes the attempt to frame the landscape in a series of selected views even more explicit. Without mentioning the fact that on this same level, at the end of a large terrace and steps that connected to the garden facing the street, we find the arrival point of the descent, a large infinity pool with a glass retaining wall.

The aim is to create a work of architecture capable of drawing the landscape inside, as if it were a construction material, while at the same time bringing the space of the dwelling outside in a natural way, without forcing it."

The project achieves its true fulfillment along the line of this liquid horizon, in a dual indirect contact with the lake, visual and tactile at the same time.

Project Parisotto+Formenton Architetti - Project manager Riccardo Bastiani, architect - Collaborators Elisabeth Andreola, Daniele Garato, architects structures and DL Eng. Fabrizio Barbieri - Photos Giulio Ghirardi/courtesy P+F Architetti