In the Veneto art, architecture and design coexist in a daring, rigorous project that brings a building on a hill closer to nature.
The life and aesthetics of yesterday meet those of today


Project Giorgio Zaetta with Martin Soto Climent – Photos Alessio Guarino – Article Virginio Briatore – Edited by Antonella Boisi


The Rotenhaus (Red House) is a project by Giorgio Zaetta that in keeping with the wishes of the owner sets out to intervene in a philological way on an original building, stripping away things added in the 1970s and almost obsessively seeking the original image. The house from the late 1800s has belonged to the client’s family since 1920, and is located in a hilly area of the Veneto.

The second priority was to create a new living area perched in the trees, as in childhood dreams, to add value to the landscape of the northern side of the house, which for various reasons had remained concealed from view.

The addition, composed of a glass pavilion on piles with an area of 90 square meters, is the result of the desire to also enjoy the space in the winter, augmenting the livability of the country house, enjoying the view of the woods in the summer and of the city in the distance in the winter when the trees are bare. The addition is equipped with a new internal staircase to make the two parts of the house independent, divided and shared with family members.

In the new living area facing the woods two large sliding doors, with a height of four meters and larchwood frames, open to the west onto a solarium balcony, and to the east onto the staircase created by the artist Martin Soto Climent, which descends to the lawn. A narrow balcony makes it possible to walk the perimeter of the pavilion without blocking the view of the woods for people inside the space.

The steel cables of the parapet are arranged in an irregular way, establishing a dialogue with the orderly chaos of the branches. The walls with a metal structure are clad on the inside by large modules of white painted wood, and on the outside by larch planks. The roof is in galvanized sheet metal, supported by complex reticular beams, with an interspace insulated by rock wool.

To allow rainwater to descend along the whole perimeter like a veil, the normal gutters have not been installed, but replaced by a C-shaped hollow along the whole roof that conveys the descent of the water in a uniform way.

The outer surface of the roof is in Rheinzink, often seen on churches in the Alpine region. The pavilion stands on a structure of piles in hot-galvanized steel, with a diameter of 13 cm, very close to the average diameter of the hornbeams in the adjacent forest.

The piles are placed at different angles, not only for an aesthetic effect, but also to function as braces and to meet the needs of a zone with high levels of seismic activity. For the same reason, a special concrete foundation has been arranged in steps along the slope, to guarantee perfect stability.

The northern wall of the original house now exists inside, generating the effect of a theatrical wing. A large metal wardrobe made to measure with 1-cm sheets is clad with walnut panels and also serves as a load-bearing structure to support the staircase, also in metal, with a rectangular railing that suggests the temporary character of a worksite.

The space for food preparation features a counter with a sink and a range, produced by Bulthaup. The floor is made with recycled spruce planks. The metal forest inside is perfect for the small magnets with which to hang memories, images, signs, maps. The furnishings are design pieces from the 1950s, accompanied by art from the owner’s collection.

A place of the spirit for a scholar and collector of contemporary art, ready to welcome friends, artists and gallerists, with whom to share moments of research, creativity and pure relaxation.



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The new glass pavilion establishes a dialogue with the country house from the late 1800s.
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The exterior of the existing north wall is now inside, generating the effect of a theatrical backdrop. The new space is set on a structure of 23 hot-galvanized steel piles with a diameter of 13 cm, very close to the average size of the hornbeams and ash trees in the nearby forest, which creates a green barrier in the summer and opens to an extraordinary landscape view in the winter. The galvanized metal sheets of the floor of the balcony-solarium have been cut to size and welded on site. The steel cables of the parapet are arranged in an irregular pattern.
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The main cross-section.
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The small stone staircase that on the west side connects the lawn to the balcony is a work by Martin Soto Climent, a Mexican artist.
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View of the red house before the project.
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The new living area with the iconic 720 Lady armchairs designed by Marco Zanuso in 1951 for Cassina; the ottoman from 1955 is by Frank Lloyd Wright. The maple sofa covered in gray cotton was produced in Italy in the 1950s, the same period as the table and chairs in natural oak made by the French company Guillerme et Chambron.
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The kitchen space with the sink-range counter, produced by Bulthaup. Behind it, the new plum-color metal staircase, a custom piece like the wardrobe with walnut panels that also functions as a load-bearing structure. The stove produced in Holland is in metal, faced with handmade ceramic tiles (Royal Tichelaar Makkum). The floor of the space is made with recycled spruce planks, unlike the entrance zone (in the background), which conserves the restored original black and white tiles.
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Another view of the living-dining area with full-height windows framing the landscape, Fifties design furniture and artworks from the owner’s collection.
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Another space: the metal file cabinet is a rare piece by Ettore Sottsass designed for Olivetti Synthesis in 1980; the stool is the Giotto model by De Pas, D’Urbino, Lomazzi for Zanotta (1975).