Minimal graphics and vibrant colours, in the name of joie de vivre, for a Roman home. Which has had to reckon, in its colour choices, with the colour-blindness of one of the two owners

In interior design, colour is a fundamental tool, a real 'material' for design. And choosing the right palette can make all the difference. Colour as a powerful means of communication can tell the story of a lifestyle and translate it into domestic colours, confirming that there are no rules that cannot be broken, only more or less successful combinations. After all, colour has no meanings in itself, what makes it 'mean' is how it is used.

Read also: Transforming the home with colour

Tailor-made design

An ode to colour is 02A Studio's latest project in Rome. A detached small villa from the early 20th century, with garden and vegetable garden, in which the tailor-made design is a counterpoint to creative and unexpected construction and colour solutions that conceal a technological soul in the hot/cold radiant floor, humidity control and solar panels, making the home energy autonomous

A philosophical approach

02A Studio was born in 2014 from the collaboration between architects Thomas Grossi and Marco Rulli: for both of them "designing" represents the possibility of synthesising several disciplinary fields. Almost a philosophical approach whereby each intervention is filtered by the process of getting to know the clients, by the work of interpreting their practical needs but also their personal aspirations. A method based on the attempt to respond, in compositional, functional and technological terms, to people's need to inhabit spaces capable of contributing to their happiness.

A shared choice

"We talked at length with the clients," says Marco Rulli, "retracing their history, the houses they lived in, the ones they loved, so as to get as close as possible to the way of life and taste they were looking for, and then translate them into an interior design they felt was truly personal." And the choice of colour helped in terms of atmosphere, emotion, perception of space.

Colours as joie de vivre

Already from the entrance to the house, the characteristics of the restyling, the common thread running through the entire project, where the unrestrained use of colour and minimalist graphics define a style under the banner of joie de vivre, are evident.

Characterising spaces

A small hallway precedes the large living area which communicates with the kitchen area thanks to important structural work. As evidence of the transformation, which has given a precise connotation to the spaces, the beams have been left exposed, indeed, emphasised by an intense blue colour, a recognisable sign of the intervention.

Turning a problem into an opportunity

"A new element, with which we had never been confronted before," continues Rulli, "was the fact that one of the two clients had an altered perception of colour, due to colour blindness. We therefore identified shades that were sufficiently perceived by one but could be calibrated to the tastes of the other, while also taking potential guests into account. It was fun, resulting in a design that was somewhat extravagant but reflected the personalities of the owners."

Furniture components with a strong sign

Here then is a large window with bright yellow metal profiles, open to the kitchen which the use of colour defines in a decisive way, transforming functional objects into furnishing components: the kitchen unit with water-green lacquered wooden doors develops in a horseshoe shape towards the dining area through the columns of the fridge and oven.

Playful décor elements

Similarly, the painted sheet metal cladding of the hood is designed as a colourful décor element, transforming an appliance into an origami. Above the sink, a custom-designed light steel wall unit with integrated shelves and dish drainer, coup de théâtre to extend the view beyond the wall, through the glass.

Dense tropical vegetation

Also on the ground floor, the guest bathroom consists of a first area with a washbasin on a large steel shelf, while the bathtub and sanitary fittings remain discreetly concealed and isolated in a dedicated area, covered with tiles reproducing dense tropical vegetation, a reminder of the garden outside.

Garden and vegetable garden

"The garden consists of a driveway access, an area paved with fragments of old grit and an urban vegetable garden separated from the neighbour's by a slender metal gate that evokes," Marco Rulli concludes, "true luxury, made up of simplicity and trust in the community of which one is a part."

The upper level

The staircase rises to the upper level (where the second bathroom, bedrooms and study are located) where the chromatic continuity with the dominant colour of Vanadium yellow continues in the sleeping area: in the master bathroom, a back wall with two mullioned arches accommodates the shower and washbasin.

Photographs: Paolo Fusco