“With our work we are trying to move the waters and create a link between architecture and real life, removing the role of the architect from the haughty pedestal that has been created over the years, to bring design and planning into everyday life. and use it as a tool to create strong added value, including economic” tell the architects Fabio Revetria and Lara Sappa of the Officina82 studio.
Their latest, inspired and passionate project is Selucente, a place of experimentation, conscious architecture and widespread hospitality, which alongside the recovery of the stone buildings of an alpine village located in a marginal area, combines unexpected receptive modules in wood whose design echoes the typical, simple and poor architecture of the territory but in an absolutely contemporary sense, in terms of aesthetics, practicality and use.
“Although relatively small as an extension, Selucente is an intervention that embraces many conceptual themes related to landscape, architecture, restoration, set-up, the re-functionalization of rural architecture in inland areas, the creation of networks between local producers, tourism. , to the welcome and conscious use - in the open - of the green” continues Fabio Revetria.
Yes, because Selucente allows you to stay overnight in the midst of nature. And he does it in an innovative way.
After StarsBox, the enveloping but dynamic bed - a nomadic shelter - with an opening roof, Officina82 proposes the new GlamBox, a receptive module in chestnut wood made especially for Selucente that is configured with a bedroom and bathroom on the ground floor. and a mezzanine where you can relax, read or play. Its peculiarity? The bed mounted on a trolley that can be moved on an external platform to observe the sky without filters or sleep immersed in nature under the starry vault.
Abandoned for about ten years, Alpisella is a rural settlement located above the Municipality of Garessio, in the Upper Tanaro Valley, at about 1,000 meters above sea level. Located on the south-facing side, it offers an open view of the Ligurian Alps.
The township is characterized by poor architecture, built with materials largely recovered on site. The simple and functional forms over the centuries have adapted to the alpine climate and the needs of a rural economy. The historic core is made up of thirteen stone buildings: the chapel, the houses, the oven, the chicken coop, the stables and the barns.
Next to the stone buildings there are the phenyls and the shacks for the collection of foliage: the first on the side of the mowing lawns, the second on the edges of the chestnut groves. Stone, chestnut wood, lime, terra cotta and raw are the only materials that were historically used to construct the buildings.
The project involves the recovery and refurbishment of some stone buildings and the construction of contemporary wooden modules to create a widespread non-hotel accommodation structure, as well as a sort of open-air laboratory where to experiment innovative models of enhancement of marginal areas through the architecture.
The innovative receptive project for the recovery of the alpine village was developed in full by Officina82: Fabio Revetria, architect, and Lara Sappa, landscape architect, founders in 2007 of the studio based in Garessio, are in fact both the designers and the promoters of the project together with the partners Tiziana Botte and Roberto Sandini.
Their intent is to use design not as an end but as a tool for re-functionalization and enhancement of rural areas.
Last spring, with the recovery of the former church and the installation of the StarsBox and GlamBox accommodation modules, the works of the first phase were closed and from the beginning of June the accommodation facility welcomed the first guests.
“The materials used - sieved earth and stone recovered on site, earthenware, iron and wood - making it almost superfluous to talk about bio-architecture or sustainability, implicit themes in traditional architecture” specify Fabio Revetria and Lara Sappa who have made use of the know-how of local workers. “The intervention aims to propose a new model of approach to the theme of recovery and reconversion of the functions of marginal mountain areas through an integrated architecture and landscape project”.
The former church has been recovered as the central nucleus of the accommodation facility: it will house the reception areas, the common room with a sales point for local products, the small local library, the toilets and the caretaker's bivouac. The subsequent phases will concern the recovery of two other stone buildings: the barn and the old stable that will be used as accommodation for guests and service spaces functional to the management of the structure, as well as cycle-hiking trails.
The project also aims to become a sort of open-air architecture laboratory in which Officina82's design experience will be concentrated on the themes of recovery, the design of contemporary micro-architecture in wood, but also landscape design and scenography.
“At Selucente, architecture and design are and will always be present, but on tiptoe, a step back and at the service of the conservation of the place and the philological and environmental integration” explain the architects.
The Officina82 studio combines the design activity with the contemporary reinterpretation of traditional construction models. For Selucente, in addition to the recovery interventions completed and in progress, the designers have created ad hoc GlamBox, a synthesis and extension of the consolidated StarsBox module, also present in the renovated village, and Cabanon, a project selected by Mario Cucinella as part of Arcipelago Italia and exhibited in the Italian Pavilion at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale.
Designed in 2018, StarsBox is a mini wooden architecture as simple as it is evocative, inspired by the temporary beds of the shepherds of the Ligurian Alps. Its peculiarity is the sunroof to be able to look at the starry vault while lying on the double mattress inside. A sustainable, removable and reversible hospitality module, the symbol of a new way of enjoying nature, lighter, more dynamic and aware. In fact, it takes up the archetypal shape of the shelter by combining it with natural materials and a lean and fast assembly system.
A little bit of a tent and a little bit of a hut, StarsBox offers protection but can open up to the sky. It is more than a nest, it is a synthesis of shelter and travel, it is a box of dreams, where you can get drunk with stars and light up with fresh dawns. StarsBox is designed as a temporary seasonal landscape installation so as not to permanently burden the image of the landscape that will welcome it, in the name of complete sustainability and reversibility of the installation. In fact, the assembly system guarantees ease of assembly / disassembly and at the same time solidity of the structure.
The StarsBox Constellation is the network created on the initiative of Officina82 to promote the conscious use of rural areas which groups together all the StarsBoxes used for tourist-accommodation purposes. Today it is present in various Italian regions, from the slopes of Monte Rosa to the hills of the Alta Langa, from the Ligurian Apennines to the Maritime Alps, from Tuscany to Sardinia, as well as in Croatia, Germany, and Japan. The long-established collaboration with the Airbnb portal will also lead to the creation of a section dedicated to StarsBox in the context of unusual accommodations.
But what stands out is GlamBox, a project designed specifically for Selucente, therefore unique, for now. Inspired by the barns and shacks present in the area, inevitable presences in Alpine rural areas, part of a consolidated landscape image, it is the synthesis of the other two projects conceived by Officina82, Cabanonand StarsBox, from which it takes up the link with poor architecture traditional and the innovative receptive function linked to the observation of the stars and the stay in natural environments.
The 5x3 meter chestnut wood module is developed on two levels: on the ground floor there is the bedroom and the bathroom, on the mezzanine there are two other potential beds for children.
The covering in corten steel sheet refers to the distinctive tone of the roofs of the local houses in red terracotta tiles from Piedmont. Proportions, structural scheme, inclination of the roof pitches and side sliding doors faithfully reproduce the traditional archetype, while the function and some details, such as the windows and the double transparent span on the roof, support the intended use of accommodation in a contemporary key.
The external wooden platform is placed at the same level as the floor and allows the bed, mounted on a trolley, to slide out to enjoy the outdoor space and the sky while lying down.
The chestnut of the external cladding boards is distinguished by the dark finish to echo those of the huts, left for years exposed to the elements. In the case of GlamBox this special shade was obtained thanks to the traditional Japanese technique known as Shou sugi ban which involves a treatment with fire to protect the wooden surfaces from atmospheric events. The project has therefore reinterpreted in a contemporary key a local tradition rooted in the territory, consolidating it with technology borrowed from a very distant culture and place.
All that remains is to go to the Ligurian Wings to discover an area that is not very popular - authentic - with its buildings made of stones and archetypal forms that tell simple and ancestral stories. Walking through an abandoned village which, thanks to skilled hands, is being reborn, and which does so in a new way, to open up to hospitality, to new opportunities and above all to the sky, lulled by the warmth of a bed surrounded by nature. The most respectful and conscious way to benefit from it (really).