Between arches and softness, curves and clear lines, the mix of contrasting black and white shapes with a few - selected - guest colors is the common thread that guides the gaze in this elegant Neapolitan apartment, inspired by the stylistic features of classical architecture

80 square metres located near the final stretch of Corso Vittorio Emanuele, in Naples, have become guardians of an astute creative and functional reflection of the Antonio Di Maro.

Called by the client to renovate the small apartment with the aim of experiencing the city in close contact with the sea, the architect reinterpreted the small pied-à-terre, taking inspiration from the logic of the 'houses on the water'. Di Maro has in fact reasoned by applying the typical design prerogative of boats which is based - always - on the maximum optimization of spaces: sipping and planning in a strategic way.

An approach that in this case proved to be the turning point in giving a new face to the home, now the result of a calibrated and intriguing fusion between contemporary pieces and traces of Neapolitan artistic tradition.

Two of Di Maro's strategic choices are made clear by the raised sleeping area, which covers only half the surface of the apartment and overlooks the entire height on the living room by means of polycarbonate panels accomplices of an intriguing play of light and dark, and the large but light staircase which leads to the upper floor and seems to free itself from gravity with the help of slender metal tubes fixed to the vaulted ceiling.

We interviewed the architect.

What was the original state of the apartment?

Antonio Di Maro: "The apartment was the result of the twentieth-century subdivisions of which the buildings of the Italian bourgeoisie were the victims, violated in all its forms and without any compositional awareness by villains building solutions, but retained the architectural canons of the 'Neapolitan palace':
1) vaulted ceiling masterfully maintained
2) perfect sun exposure
3) overlooking the internal courtyard used as a garden.

In short, the compositional-architectural logic of the building managed to survive: an excellent starting point for restoring stylistic dignity to the apartment".

What styles did you choose for the new soul of the loft? How do they communicate with each other?

Antonio Di Maro: "I'll be honest, to the question "what style do you like or what style have you used", I always answer that in reality I don't have a style and I frankly believe that styles do not exist in architecture ' understood as signs imprinted on architecture, I believe that there are artistic and cultural contaminations that inspire the minds of men.

In my case I always let myself be guided by the history of that place or that building, limiting myself to dusting off the ancient architectural canons from which it is made up, restoring its dignity and exalting what were the original strong points .

In my Naples, made up of wonderful buildings, the task is absolutely easy, you just need to know or study the genomics of the individual place and of the great masters of the past".

Historical paintings and design pieces, modern and classic in a mix that is not annoying but rather winning: for those who have old elements locked in their wardrobes, how do you recommend moving around?

Antonio Di Maro: "This question gives me the opportunity to explain the way in which my team and I approach the creation of a space. As with the history of architecture, we also try to enhance the product of the great masters of the past, often contrasting ancient elements such as 17th century paintings with timeless products of twentieth century production.

Daring with awareness, but without fear, hard work insists precisely on this, in the ability to make elements so different in time and type communicate harmoniously, as in a sinuous dance< /strong> among great masters with great personality.

I can't explain how, but I know that a precise moment comes in my mind in which I understand that everything, objects, architecture and materials, dance admirably in sync, in that moment my mind rests satisfied.

About the elements locked in a wardrobe: it's time to take them out, we are Italian, we are children of an artistic-cultural tradition unique in the world, everything that has been produced over the centuries has a great in itself artistic value, we often don't realize it, but since my work has also moved abroad, I can see with the eyes of others how we are perceived on a artistic.

The emblematic example is the ancient hand-embroidered sheet owned by the family which we decided to repurpose as curtains for the two windows. In short, nothing of the past is thrown away!".

Let's talk about the kitchen: how did you identify an element with such a personality?

Antonio Di Maro: "The kitchen block in gold laminate leaf masters the environment by breaking every type of chromatic syllogism: it is the result of the wise and expert hands of Italian craftsmanship.

As I said before: "Dare, dare, dare", this is what I repeat every day to my team, the architecture, the product, the materials, we try to experiment and dare as much as possible , also contrasting materials or colors that are difficult to match, perhaps this is actually what fascinates me most about my work.

It is clear, however, that in order to dare, a necessary condition is knowledge and in-depth study. Summarizing the key words I believe they are: study of the past, research, experimentation".

The staircase acts as a backdrop to the living room: can you tell us how the idea was born and how it was designed?

Antonio Di Maro: "There was a need for a vertical connective that connected above and below, there was a need for a high-impact backdrop that completed the large high wall partition and white and there was also a need for a bookcase.

Thanks to the skilled hands of the Italian craftsmen, from whom I asked for an enormous effort in creating a staircase that worked with "reverse gravity", in fact the monoitic staircase stands up thanks to the metal rods that are clinging to the attic".

How did you think about the mezzanine?

Antonio Di Maro: "In a small space like that, we needed a private sleeping area, but which acted as an inspection 'tower' over the house. Using the polycarbonate (poor material) which we often use as glass, we have hidden the bedroom and the second bathroom on the mezzanine, allowing the light to leak through, avoiding suffocating the user who has a perennial feeling of freedom visualon the living room below. This is the result of the studies we have been carrying out since 2013 on neuroarchitecture".

In conclusion, between arches and softness, curves and clear lines, the mix of contrasting black and white shapes is a bit of the common thread that accompanies every room of the apartment: a further element that gives personality. Is it wanted?

Antonio Di Maro: "In this too we have used history, arches, organic shapes and contrasting colors as a master. We Italians have inherited the classical canons of ancient Greece to which I very often appeal.

Very often we are accused of being slow in conceiving an interior project, this fact is probably real, but time for art or architecture is necessary to ensure that every single feature is conceived first on paper and then on the material be reasoned, imagined and then realised.

I believe that time and research are the only way to a good quality architectural project".