The Nenmar studio has refurbished, with targeted and holistic solutions, a penthouse in a 1940s building in a small Engadine village near St. Moritz

"This project is the result of our design philosophy: no space can live in isolation, but must be thought, developed and coordinated with the architectural grid and the elements that make it up." With these words, Gianluca Nencini, Head of Architecture at Nenmar introduces a recent intervention carried out by the studio in the Engadine. The project started from the client's desire to completely remodel the spaces of a penthouse located in a 1940s building in the upper part of Celerina, a small village near St. Moritz that is lucky enough to enjoy the greatest number of hours of sunshine compared to any other town or village in the Engadine.

Like a boat

In the intervention, priority was given to the living area in order to welcome guests without constraints and allow a view of the valley. "Every element and / or detail is the answer to a why ... nothing is left to chance, everything has a purpose", continues Nencini. The design approach was in a "shipbuilding" style: the interior was conceived as a boat where every empty / full space has been transformed into a functional space. The existing kitchen has been "moved" from the main facade, obtaining more space for everyday use, connecting with the main view.

The kitchen as a material block

The modification of the kitchen, previously linked both formally and visually with the living room (resulting in an unconfined space), outlined the entrance. Guest bedrooms, dining room and kitchen have heights of 2.5 meters, while a double volume follows the attic from a maximum of 4 to a minimum of 1.6 meters in height for the living area and master bedroom. The kitchen is located between these two volumes, a material block in natural oak that defines the entrance and the living area.

Hide with wood

Oak panels, derived from the same lot as the flooring, were applied along the perimeter to discreetly "hide" doors that open onto other environments and functional spaces, keeping intact the formal integrity. Wood hides inconsistencies, giving architectural uniformity; it creates symmetry by acting as a unifying element. The wooden walls transmit a feeling of warmth to the environment and at the same time improve its thermal and acoustic insulation.

Reclaimed timber, waste stones and natural plasters

Maximum attention was paid to the procurement and use of materials. The wood was obtained from an old barn and restored to its original finish; the Matraia stone was reused from a scrap stone block, which determined the dimensions of the two sinks and the bench in the bathroom. The wall was finished with a natural lime plaster.

Simplicity as a form of refinement

“The project reflects our belief that simplicity is the ultimate form of refinement, achieved through holistic solutions that aim to make a positive difference in life day after day,” explains Nencini. The intervention has maintained existing elements of interest such as wooden beams where the "new" is expressed in a contemporary key. The low-height living room spaces were used as an informal space for the TV but also as a formal extension of the living room itself. The artificial light has been coordinated with the architectural mesh, the spaces are illuminated by reflection, obtained by illuminating the surfaces. Furniture, furnishings and accessories were made to measure to complete the spaces.

Photos DSL Studio.