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The Chamber of Secrets

In February 2019, we were appointed to re-design the internal and external spaces of an apartment flat in Via Orti, Milan.

The project was planned as a series of strategical interventions to be executed at different stages.

The “Chamber of Secrets” represents the most interesting episode of Phase One.

During our first briefing meeting, the Clients expressed the desire to re-plan the layout of the living areas in order to respond to the forthcoming growth of the family.

The agenda was completed by the request of re-collecting in a single location the vast amount of books spread throughout the flat.

The character of the original space pushed the research for an architectural solution that would enrich the new rooms, somehow balancing the smaller dimensions provided by the future layout.

Based on the above and in light of the uncertain load bearing capacity of the existing floor slabs, we decided to utilise a light weight element to define the new rooms, detached, as much as possible, from the existing floor structure.

The intention of adding a “touch of mistery” to the new layout, then, drove the research for a suitable technology to this “capricious” goal.

These premises set the artifacts for the genesis of a “complex” joinery element separating the existing living area from the new bedroom.

The two front elevations and layouts of this element are designed and arranged in order to respond to the different rooms they face to: on one hand, hence, full height bookshelves acting as a backdrop to the linving room, on the other, instead, a birch wood wall edging the new bedroom.

The design of the new cabinet, although at first instance simple, is enriched by a series of strategical details that define the character  on both fronts.

Facing the living room: a recessed handle into one of the lacquered ribs, coloured wooden boxes for storage, removable bookends in birch plywood and bespoke “corkscrews” preventing the books from falling from the movable parts.

Facing the bedroom: a volumetric handle with a playful profile and a bright colour, a series of horizontal fascias setting tout a potential functional layout for the wall panelling and a fresh tone of colour to move the entire surface.

The connection between the rooms is provided by a pivot door contained and hidden within the bookshelves units that unveils what seems, in first instance, a secret chamber.

The design process of this sofisticated machine has been possible thanks to the support of our Clients, who continuously stimulated our design research and, in parallel, to the technical assistance of Concilio cabinetry workshop which worked with us during the engineering process and the subsequent  construction and installation phase.

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