Architectural project by Arch. Mazzei and Ing. Italo Viti
Lighting project Arch. Mazzei
Photography by Camilla Maria Santini
We are in Pietrasanta, the capital of Versilia, a territory that historically has provided shelter and inspiration to artists and literates from all over the world.
The master Michael Guttman, great violinist and conductor of orchestra, appreciated all over the world, has been completely captured from his passion for Italy and, in particular, for Versilia. This feeling has become so deep and intimate that it leaded him to choose and give new life to an old mill located at the foot of the hill that surrounds Pietrasanta
"From the first moment I arrived in Pietrasanta, in the other century, I felt at home and I felt a great desire to go back and go again”.
Master Guttmann's participation as director and artistic soul at the Thirteenth International Festival of classical music of Pietra Santa was further proof of his attachment to this enchanting place. A poetic place where light and architecture mix themselves to recover suggestive and ancient atmospheres in full respect of tradition. A place that seems to vibrate with the same emotion that the great master gives to the public through the strings of his violin.
Architectural concept: preserving the essence of the place
The bold task of restoring and preserving the soul of the building has been entrusted to architect Enrico Mazzei who, following the philological criterion of cleanliness and pragmatism, has lead the client throughout the restructuring process, with the ultimate aim of enhancing the original characteristics of the structure, preserving its spirit, transforming the mill from an old ruin to a new dwelling.
“The objective of respecting the artifact by eliminating all what was in conflict with the simplicity” Arch. Mazzei
The old building was originally used as a double-wheel hydraulic mill for pressing olives and milling wheat. A channel ran perpendicularly through the body of the factory and conveyed the driving force of the water through a system of locks. To date, only the two-wheel chestnut wood remains, which was used for pressing olives.
The artifact, like all rural constructions, has had an organic growth over the centuries and various accessory bodies have been added according to the needs of the moment.
The materials chosen for the project are all natural and not covered by paint. The plasters are based on non-pigmented lime and to enhance the material characteristics of the wall surfaces, it has been chosen a layering free hand so as to accommodate irregularities and maintain the typical chromatic shades.
All the floors have been made with the same type of stone. Different surface workings distinguish the zones and their different uses. The“renounces” to protruding thresholds and windowsills pursues the principle of cleaning and subtraction.
“Colour harmony is achieved by containing as many materials as possible”.
The lexical austerity of the whole project can be defined in continuity with the dry and pragmatic style of the ancient builders. Even the lighting engineering project, to align itself with these premises, had to be focused on the same philosophy of subtraction and cleanliness: respecting the place maintaining an atmosphere of rigor and simplicity even in dark hours.
The colour palette chosen, the elegant and ancient character of the place, the history and personality of the intervention, had to remain unchanged even with the external lighting, without it becoming the new protagonist.
“The technique must be well used, it must be at the service of the process that brings the composer’s ideas to the public” Guttman
Even the park, an area of about 6000 square meters characterized by typical essences of the Mediterranean, aims to respect the nature of the surrounding landscape.
The design idea of creating sequences has been translated into the choice of highlighting the most representative specimens present in the park. The diffused effects on the tops of the shrubs and the accents on the sculptural trunks of the secular olive trees, define the scene. The characteristic curvilinear light of Miniround allows in fact to embrace the stem and to illuminate the foliage from below, making it emerge in relation to the context and to the point of view of the observer.
The landscape is framed by a sequence of micro recesses on the ground (Nanoled) that gently draw boundaries and paths.
THE SWIMMING POOL
The swimming pool becomes at night a real mass of light water illuminated internally with the submersion products of the POOL LED family.
Its strong chromatic presence is balanced by the correct blend with the luminous levels of the surrounding. The dark hedge separates it from the fifth wall creating different and well defined perspective planes.
THE HOUSE AND THE WALL
The surrounding wall, the central core and the accessory bodies are illuminated from the bottom to the top with effects of grazing light obtained with the product MINIZIP, the historical and versatile ground recesses of the SIMES house.
The interdistance and the type of beam, create a desired light discontinuity in harmony with the exposed stone and the handcrafted finish of the plasters. This type of lighting manages to characterize the space by creating suggestive scenes.
Entrance openings are illuminated and marked by PLAN LED applique, a single-emission applique with direct downward light characterized by a rigorous and simple shape, and able to converse discreetly with the architecture of the building.
With the arrival of twilight, the stone enhances its material aspect, shrubs and olive trees become actors speaking within the scene, the contrasts between light and shadow enhance the intervention and the pre-existing.
The expert hand of the designer has managed to reveal and show an architectural beauty that enjoys new life today. The sensitivity of the client has allowed to preserve and enhance, also through the light, a place of magical and vibrant atmosphere.
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