THE TOWER ON THE BASILICA

The Basilica of Sant’Antonio can be seen through the glazing of the kitchen, with its upward thrust of pinnacles, spires, windows and domes.

We are in Padua, in the historical center, in a tower from the 1400s, little of which has been conserved over the centuries, other than the sequence of vertically stacked rooms.

Following a conservative restoration project, it has become the home of a professional couple. From the outset the roles of designer and client were intertwined, reflecting each other as in a game of mirrors.

During the first phases of the project a curious collaboration developed, which enriched and expanded the expertise of both parties, giving rise to an unusual rapport that soon became fertile ground for creativity, especially in the preliminary design phase.

Unusual and experimental ideas thus took form, revised and daring solutions whose full expressive impact is unleashed in the unique, surprising final design. Closed between the buildings of the historical center, the tower does not have a natural relationship with light. This meant it was necessary to focus on lighting that would bring out its particular characteristics.

Spaces had to be opened up with sliding panels and glass floors; the levels had to be connected with a staircase in glass and Cor-ten that would not be an invasive presence. Every single piece had to be designed, from the cabinet with coplanar doors clad in parchment, with iron details, to the iron bookcase with its intentionally deconstructed form.

At the center of the living area, under a cascade of coppery spheres by Tom Dixon, stands a cast brass table with the form of a leaf. The dining and kitchen zones are on the upper level, from which an iron staircase leads to a breezy roof deck.

The table with an irregular top in cocciopesto has a carved wooden base with poured bronze. To the side, a suspended cabinet is made of Japanese tamo briar.

In the kitchen, doors in fossil wood and bronze mingle with tops in Zimbabwe marble and Green Forest marble.

The walls of the bedroom zone are faced in gray weathered wood, concealing wardrobes or secret doors that lead to the dressing and shoes room. On the wall at the foot of the bed, a glass screen, like a vitrine, enhances a work by Vasudha Evans on gauze, lit by LEDs.

Large paintings mingle with collections of glass and pottery vases throughout the house, as well as ethnic objects found by the owners during their travels. In the end, this tower home has yielded to new international allure, entering a new phase in time.