You are on page 1of 90

march 15

april 15
2015

SRI LANKA

LKR

650.00

4.50 US$ 5.00

BT Options
536, R A De Mel Mawatha
(Duplication Road)
Colombo 3, Sri Lanka.

006

LA CITT DELL UOMO

196, Nawala Road, Nawala


Tel: (+94 11) 428 7387, 444 4659
Hotline: (+94) 0773 918 191 | Fax: (+94 11) 280 7063
E-mail: fazaalceramic@sltnet.lk
Web: www.fazaalceramics.com

Branch - Kandy
685, Sirimavo Bandaranaike Mawatha
(Peradeniya Road) Kandy.
Tel: (+94 81) 495 3453 | Hotline: (+94) 0777 633 443
E-mail Kandy@fazaalceramic.lk

ISO 9001 AND ISO 14001 Certified Company

CONNECTIONS
that cannot be

SEVERED

TRUSTED SAFETY FOREVER

Sierra is one of the pioneers in cable manufacturing in the country


that is committed to producing functional cables and pipes.
Manufactured with utmost quality, our products are made to meet
high benchmarks on par with international standards. We are an
ISO 9001 certified company in operation for the last 36 years,
keeping customer satisfaction and sheer perfection at the core.

733 1143 750 1186

SIERRA CABLES PLC.

P.O. Box.06 | Kaduwela. | Sri Lanka


T: (+94 11) 441 2000-5 | Fax: (+94 11) 277 0291
E-mail: info@sierracables.com

I NEWS

NEWS

domus Sri Lanka


I



I

news
summary

Hfele Introduces Innovative Concepts


for Kitchens by BLUM

Hfele
Hfele introduces innovative concepts
for Kitchens by BLUM
Danish Design Museum
The century of the child

I Hylex Lighting House


Hylex Lighting House

II
MoMA

Design for the ear
II

Barbican Centre
Magnificent obsessions

II

St Anthonys Group of Industries


Anton uPVC windows at Hotel Hilltop

III

Driade, David Chipperfield


From the beginning to the future

III
Alcantara

After Chandigarh
III

FSRR, Avery Singer


Pictures punish words

IV

Matrix, Eero Saarinen


Organic furnishings

IV
MAST, Emil Otto Hopp

An industrial photographer

Hfeles partner for Kitchen fittings


BLUM (from Austria) integrates the
current trends in furniture design and
provides customised solutions for

Museo del Gioiello


A jewellery museum

Foscarini
Industrial inspiration

VitrA
Sustainable management

www.hafele.com

The Century of the Child


The Odder prams loved by the
Danish royal family, the indestructible
Winther tricycle, Kay Bojesens

IV
Vorwerk Carpets, Werner Aisslinger

Textile floors
V

customers. Innovative technologies


in handle-less cabinet fronts, space
optimization options, life systems for
wall cabinets, efficient drawer systems
for base cabinets and a myraid of
possibilities with Blum hinges are few
of the available sophisticated fitting
systems that support the ideas of
architects and designers, such as large
and gap-free fronts. Wide pull-outs and
lift systems do not only look good, they
also create valuable storage space.
While load-bearing limits previously
stood in the way of extra-wide solutions,
now innovative fittings systems enable
completely new design options.

wooden toys (below) and the Lego,


all feature in the Century of the
Child exhibition at the Danish
Design Centre in Copenhagen (until
30.8.2015). Inspired by Swedish
pedagogue Ellen Key, who promoted
child creativity in 1900, the exhibition
echoes Century of the Child:
Growing by Design 1900-2000 held
at the MoMA in 2012, but shifts the
focus to northern European designs.
www.designmuseum.dk

Hylex Lighting House


Hylex Lighting House is a company
that focuses on providing lighting
solutions to households since 1997.
Sourcing all their products from
China, Hylex Lighting House presents
innovative indoor and outdoor lighting

products that are durable, high quality


and sustainable. Offering impeccable
service, the company centres on
delivering the most favourable and
refined result when it comes to lighting
solutions to everyday households.

II NEWS

domus Sri Lanka

The longstanding affinity consisting


in rhythm, harmony, interaction and
improvisation between music and
design has seen transistor radios,
LPs, Stratocaster guitars and iPods alter
the way we perform, listen to, visualise
and distribute music. Avant-garde
designers such as Lilly Reich, Saul
Bass, Jrn Utzon and Daniel Libeskind
have pushed the boundaries of their
work in relationship with the music of
their times. Drawing entirely from the
collection of the Museum of Modern
Art in New York, the exhibition Making
Music Modern: Design for Ear and Eye
(until 1.11.2015) organised by Juliet
Kinchin with Luke Baker is a display
of designs for auditoriums, instruments
and listening equipment along with
posters, record sleeves, sheet music
and animation. The show examines
alternative music cultures of the early
20th century, the rise of the radio during
the interwar period and how design

Photo Pernille Klemp

Design for the Ear

shaped the cool aesthetic of midcentury jazz, high-fidelity culture and


its role in countercultural music scenes
from pop to punk, and later design
explorations at the intersection between
art, technology and perception.
www.moma.org

Photo courtesy of Arman Studio Archives

Magnificent Obsessions
From mass-produced memorabilia
to one-of-a-kind curiosities, the
Barbican in London looks at artists as
inspired collectors (until 25.5.2015).
See Armans gas masks, and Damien
Hirsts skulls and examples of taxidermy.
www.barbican.org.uk

NEWS

Anton uPVC Windows at Hotel Hilltop

St Anthonys group of industries


recently installed uPVC windows and
doors at Hotel Hilltop in Kandy. First
opened in 1981, the installation of the
uPVC windows and doors showcased
the hotels dedication to sustainability in
keeping with the current trends. uPVC
or Un-plasticized Polyvinyl Chloride

is known as the green building


material. It is an eco friendly material
and is ideal as a substitute for wood,
leading to a reduction in the industrys
dependency on wood and energy bill
by maximizing energy saving insulation.
www.anton.lk

iGlaze Air /
iGlaze Pro

ultra-slim
hardshell case

iGlaze Armour

slim fit metallic cases

Venturo

VersaCover

slim laptop backpack

tablet case with


folding cover and stand

3.5mm to RCA
stereo cable

iGlaze touch

hard shell case for


iPod touch G5

Dulcia

stylish aluminum-body
earphones

Car Charger Duo


20W dual-port
USB car charger

III NEWS

domus Sri Lanka

From the Beginning to the Future


exhibition gallery. The first event is the
Early Years show organised by Marco
Romanelli, which illustrates how the
brand began back in 1968.
www.driade.com

Below: the Driade showroom in Milan,


designed by David Chipperfield, the
brands art director. Interior design by
Candida Zanelli Studio

Photo Enza Tamborra

After Driade was acquired in 2013


by the Italian Creation Group, led by
Giovanni Perissinotto and Stefano
Core, David Chipperfield became its
artistic director. Driade now continues
to pursue its goals for 2015 by opening
a showroom in Milan. Designed by
Chipperfield, this 500-square-metre
space divided over three floors gives
the collection an aesthetically austere
backdrop. In Cores words, the intention
was to create not simply a store but an

After Chandigarh
After Chandigarh, the giant rug made
in Alcantara fabric by Taiwanese artist
Michael Lin graces and deliberately
clashes with the Chandelier Hall of
the Aurora Museum in Shanghai
(until 31.3.2015).
www.alcantara.com

Pictures Punish Words

Experience Center

Aurora Tiles and Bathware (Pvt) Ltd


No.3 Kandawata Road, Nugegoda, Sri Lanka.
T. +94 11 2826399 | +94 11 2826447
T. +94 11 4322020 | F. +94 11 2826447
E. auroratilesandbathware@gmail.com
www.aurorabathware.lk

Photo courtesy of Avery Singer & Galerie Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin

American artist Avery Singer uses


the SketchUP software for 3D
architecture modelling to construct
complex spatial compositions filled

with abstract figures and objects,


producing unexpected pictorial
results. The Fondazione Sandretto
Re Rebaudengo in Turin is hosting
the exhibition Avery Singer. Pictures
Punish Words (until 12.4.2015),
organised by Beatrix Ruf and based
on work that Singer made specifically
for this first solo exhibition. With
humour, the artist illustrates social
rituals and patterns, familiarising
visitors with the stereotypes of the
artist, curator, collector and critic.
A fanciful memory of her first trip to
Switzerland is the basis for Heidiland
(photo right). Her exotic impressions
of the mountains, different dialects,
and the famous Zurich Street Parade,
the artist catapults author Johanna
Spyris heroine Heidi from 1880 into
the present, accessorised with a
pacifier like a 1990s Swiss raver.
www.fsrr.org

NEWS IV

domus Sri Lanka

Organic Furnishings
With a rich array of pictures, drawings,
documents and personal accounts,

the book Eero Saarinen. The Organic


Unit in Furniture Design provides
a broad overview of the Finnish
architects work in furniture design
and highlights the organic unity and
innovation of his iconic designs. Matrix
International promoted the project and
consulted the original drawings, letters
and other rare material conserved at
Yale University since 2002, unearthing
previously unknown projects that it has
put into industrial production.

HYLEX LIGHTING HOUSE


Providing Innovative Lighting

www.matrixinternational.it

An Industrial Photographer

Textile Floors

NEWS

Photo Vorwerk

www.mast.org

Photo Christopher Burke. The Easton Foundation / Licensed by VG Bild-Kunst

Emil Otto Hopp (1878-1972), an


eclectic artist, famed portraitist and
one of the leading photographers of
modern times, is the subject of a large
exhibition organised by Urs Stahel at
the MAST in Bologna (until 3.5.2015).
Emil Otto Hopp: il segreto svelato
presents for the first time in Italy his
emblematic pictures of the second
industrial revolution, long hidden away
in London archives. On display are over
200 photos taken in the 1920s and
30s, when he became an acclaimed
topographic photographer and portraitist
of some of Europes most famous
artists, politicians and scientists.
Hopp travelled widely, determined to
record the grandiosity of industrial sites
the world over and the advent of a new
era in which the very nature of work and
production was changing radically.

Presented at Bau and Domotex


(Munich and Hannover) in January,
Vorwerk Carpets new Projection
ranges are primarily intended for the
office environment. Projection adds
to an already extensive range of
design solutions that combines
classical and new forms freely.
After Hadi Teherani designed the
Contura collection (photo right),
the company in Hamelin, Northern
Germany invited the Berlin designer
Werner Aisslinger to create the new
Elementary Shapes collection, which
mixes six basic geometrical shapes
in countless possible compositions
to form patchworks up to one metre
in length.
www.vorwerk-carpet.com

A variety of imported high-quality Indoor and


Outdoor lighting products manufactured with
state-of-the-art technology.

HYLEX LIGHTING HOUSE


BRANCH: 195 Galle Road, Colombo 4, Sri Lanka
Tel: (+94 11) 250 2459 | Fax: (+94 11) 259 0699
SHOWROOM: 686 Galle Road, Colombo 3, Sri Lanka
Tel: (+94 11) 250 3533, 250 3539 | Fax: (+94 11) 255 4290
E-mail: hylex195@gmail.com

V NEWS

domus Sri Lanka

A Jewellery Museum

Photo Cosmo Laera

One of the few museums in the


world dedicated entirely to jewellery,
the Museo del Gioiello opened last
December inside Vicenzas Basilica
Palladiana. Conceived and managed
by the Fiera di Vicenza in collaboration
with the city, its director is Alba
Cappellieri. Patricia Urquiola designed
the interior, built by Molteni & C, to
display 400 items in 9 themed rooms.
www.museodelgioiello.it

Industrial Inspiration
The Pylon lamp by Diesel Living
with Foscarini was indeed inspired
by electricity pylons. It has a solid,
architectural-looking steel body and
a diffuser made of linen and PVC.
The fabric has an irregular weave
and is hand-pleated on the diffuser
body, lending it a form reminiscent
of an industrial filter or turbine.
Available as a suspension or floor
lamp, the height of the latter can be
adjusted to create a reading lamp.
Pylon is suited to both domestic and
contract spaces.
www.foscarini.com

Sustainable Management
Eczacbas Building Products one
of Turkeys biggest industrial groups
has won the European Business
Award for the Environment (EBAE)
in the Management category for its
VitrA Blue Life integrated sustainable
management system. Launched in
2010, it acts as a sole reference, with

Above: the showroom at the VitrA


Innovation Center in Turkey

methods for measuring, reporting and


improving all EPBs factory processes
from production programming to
human resources an approach that
is similar to the triple bottom line
system.
www.vitra.com.tr

Rs. 2,950/- Upwards

Rs. 6,150/- Upwards

Rs. 7,500/Upwards

Rs. 2,900/Upwards

Rs. 2,950/Upwards

Rs. 10,325/- Upwards

Rs. 7,100/- Upwards

Rs. 5,500/- Upwards

Rs. 7,200/- Upwards

Rs. 2,975/Upwards

Email : noorbhoynawala@yahoo.com.au

* For projects inquiry Mr Hassan 0773-523999

351, Nawala Road, Nawala

Nawala
Tel: 11 2806402

Web : www.noorbhoy.com

* Products may vary from picture

* For retail Mr Luddi 0773-828900

www.facebook.com/mmnoorbhoy

* Nawala branch is open on Sundays 9.30 am - 1.30 pm

Email : mmnoorbhoy@yahoo.com

Tel: 11 2433298

121, Malay Street, Colombo 02

Slave Island

Email : noorbhoy _k@yahoo.com

Tel: 11 2826500

53, Dutugemunu Street, Kohuwala

Kohuwala

Providing Quality Interior Furniture & Kitchen Hardware Solutions With The Worlds Best Hardware Brands

Rs. 10,325/- Upwards

Rs. 8,500/- Upwards

Founded in 1928 in Italy, Domus stays true to the theme coined by its
founder Gio Ponti; La citt dell uomo which translates to the human city.
Domus aims at examining the world of projects and of contemporaneity
in its numerous forms through the perspectives of the specialists in the field.
Issue 006 exemplifies tackling constraints and inspired design.
In approaching an architectural project, constraints and challenges are
often inevitable. This is what pushes designers to rethink, re-evaluate and
sometimes step outside of comfort zones. Thinking beyond convention
is also an inspired response. A whole spectrum of limitations in terms
of architecture is all too familiar and has been dealt with in varying degrees
of capability. Architecture as a result can be viewed as one of the most
repetitive forms of art. It can be said that the art of architecture lies
in the skill of interpretation.

4,500

8,950

17,900

Udeshi Amarasinghe
Prasadini Nanayakkara
Krishani Peiris
Dilshi Aberaja
Hansani Bandara
Swetha Rathnajothiee
Nadhwa Mohamed
Archna Balakumar
Supipi Udashashi
Imaad Saibo
Anuradha Perera

Consultant Editorial

Jagath Weerasinghe

Director Editorial
Editorial Business Manager
Assistant Editorial Manager
Feature Writer
Feature Writer
Feature Writer
Feature Writer
Feature Writer
Feature Writer
Editorial Assistant
Editorial Assistant

Creative

Mahesh Bandara
Ranga Prabhath
Prabuddhi Bandara
Prasad Caldera
Arham Farook
Ramesh Rajagopalan
Rebecca Huyghebaert
Gayathri Dassanayake
Sujith Heenatigala
Moris Urari
Indika De Silva
Rameesh Gunasekera
Isuru Upeksha
Geeth Viduranga

Creative Director
Associate Creative Director
Senior Graphic Editor
Graphic Editor
Graphic Designer
Graphic Designer
Graphic Designer
Graphic Designer
Graphic Designer
Graphic Designer
Photographer/Photo Editor
Web Administrator
Web Developer
Trainee Web Developer

Irusha Peiris
Sylvester Motha
Buthesh Gunasekera
D B Ranasinghe
Lakmali Grero
Roshan Perera
Valarine De Zilva
Jayathie Hendahewa
Roshan Sahabandu
Vilasini Pasquel
Jezmin Goonetilleke
Thushara Weerakkodi
Pipuni Perera
Aaron Uduwelagedara
Manhal Kudhoos
Avner Deane
Rehani Loganathan
Shanaka Gunasekara

Advertisement Sales Director


Advertisement Sales Director
Advertisement Sales Director
Sales Manager
Advertising Sales Manager
Advertising Sales Manager
Advertising Sales Manager
Assistant Advertising Sales Manager
Assistant Advertising Sales Manager
Sales Coordinator
Project Coordinator
Advertising Sales Executive
Advertising Sales Executive
Advertising Sales Executive
Advertising Sales Executive
Advertising Sales Executive
Advertising Sales Executive
Advertising Sales Executive

Thanuja Thilakarathne
Pradeep Wijesekara
S Kethies
S Sivajothi
Luxshmi Rajah
Sathes Kumar
S Udayakumar
Prageeth Rodrigo
T R Rahim
Mohamed Shafran
B Saravanan

Sales Director
Tech Systems Manager
Manager Hardware Support
Manager BT Store
Sales Manager BT Store
Manager Technical Support
Senior Tech Specialist
Senior Sales Executive
Sales Executive
Sales Executive
Systems Manager

Sales





















BT Store



















Finance

S Muralitharan
Management Accountant
Imasha De Silva Accountant
Leoni Nissanka
Accounts Executive
Arulanantham Arulrasa Accounts Executive
Amalee Silva
Junior Executive

Circulation

A C Fernando
Jayantha Perera
Swarnathilake Bandara
Mangala Fernando
Dinesh Fernando
M A P Mallawaarachchi
M S Sigera
Eranda Priyadarshana
Ananda Jayarathna
B Nandakumar
Dhammika Anuruddha
T U Siriwardene
J Indika
M Suresh
Sumith Madurasinghe
S K Sujatha
W A Rohini
Nadaraja Manomani

Assistant Circulation Manager


Senior Subscription Executive
Circulation Executive
Circulation Executive
Circulation Executive
Circulation Executive
Circulation Executive
Circulation Executive
Circulation Executive
Circulation Executive
Circulation Executive
Circulation Assistant
Circulation Assistant
Circulation Assistant
Circulation Assistant
Office Assistant
Office Assistant
Office Assistant

Mohomed Fahim

Fitness Pro

Jayanthimala Perera
Upul Perera
Mathi K Parthipan

Production Director
Executive Director
Chairman/Managing Director

BT Active

typeface: Helvetica Neue LT Std

Founded in 1987

Editorial

006

BT Options

Advertising

(+94) 0715 134 134

Website
btoptions.com
Facebook www.facebook.com/btoptions

Domus

Founded in 1928

Editor

Nicola Di Battista

The College of Masters





David Chipperfield
Kenneth Frampton
Hans Kollhoff
Werner Oechslin
Eduardo Souto de Moura

Art Director

Giuseppe Basile

Study Centre

Massimo Curzi
Spartaco Paris
Andrea Zamboni

Special Projects

Luca Gazzaniga

Website www.domusweb.it
Facebook www.facebook.com/domus
Twitter
@domusweb

Editoriale Domus
Publisher and Managing Editor

Maria Giovanna Mazzocchi Bordone

Chief Executive Officer

Sofia Bordone

Brand Manager

Anna Amodeo

Licensing & Syndication



Carmen Figini
T (+39) 02 82472487
figini@edidomus.it

Local Editions of Domus


Mexico, Central America & Caribbean
Grupo Cerca
De la Rotonda de Multiplaza, 800 mts Norte Oficentro Plaza Colonial, Piso 3, Of. 3-2 Escaz, San Jos Costa Rica
T (+506) 2288 0255, F (+506) 2228 9407 email: info@grupocerca.com
Boulevard Interlomas No. 5 Mezzanine 9, Centro Comercial Interlomas
San Fernando La Herradura, Mxico City, Zip Code 52787 - Mexico
China
Ziwei Advertising
Beijing office: Suite 1202, 12/F, Block 7, Zhuyu International Commercial Center, 9, Shouti South Road,
Haidian District, Beijing 100044, China T (+86 10) 6888 8588 F (+86 10) 6557 5834
Shanghai office: C-2, 800 SHOW, 800 Changde Road, Jingan District, Shanghai 200040, China
T (+86 21) 6258 5617 F (+86 21) 6258 5546
Germany, Austria, Switzerland
ahead media GmbH
Schlesische Strae 29-30, D -10997 Berlin
T (+49) 30 6113080, F (+49) 30 6113088 email: ahead.berlin@aheadmedia.com
India
Spenta multimedia
2nd Floor, Peninsula Spenta, Mathuradas Mill Compound, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel,
Mumbai - 400013 - India T (+91) 22 24811010

Printer (Sri Lanka)

Karunaratne & Sons

Registered as a newspaper at G.P.O. under ref. no: QD/11/NEWS/2015


2014 Editoriale Domus S.p.A.
All rights reserved. Published by BT Options, with the permission of Editoriale Domus S.p.A.
Reproduction in any manner in any language in whole or in part without prior permission is prohibited.
The publisher declares its willingness to settle fees that may be owed for
texts and images whose sources could not be traced or identified.

typeface: Helvetica Neue LT Std

BT Options
536 R A De Mel Mawatha
(Duplication Road)
Colombo 3, Sri Lanka
T (+94 11) 259 7991
F (+94 11) 259 7990
info@btoptions.com

006

Publisher (Sri Lanka)







EDITORIAL VI

domus Sri Lanka

Author

Designer

Title

BT Options

Designing to build

Nicola Di Battista

Editorial
What a project is, again
Confetti
Paolo Besana

Konstantin Grcic

1 Weaving with structure and three


dimentionality
6 Building by adding
Projects

Russell Dandeniya

10 Eco House, Madinnagoda

Tadao Ando

18 House in Mirissa, Sri Lanka

Valerio Olgiati

30 Alm House, Portugal


Rassegna (Display)

Centro Studi

38 Bathroom

Adolfo Natalini

45 Adolfo Natalinis Florence

Alberto Sironi

49 The soul of a house

Feedback

Elzeviro

51 Contributors
march 15
april 15
2015

SRI LANKA

LKR

925.00

5.50 US$ 7.00

BT Options
536, R A De Mel Mawatha
(Duplication Road)
Colombo 3, Sri Lanka.

006

LA CITT DELL UOMO

Cover: a sketch of the House


in Mirissa, Sri Lanka by Tadao
Ando (right)

VII EDITORIAL

domus Sri Lanka

DESIGNING TO BUILD

BT Options

It can be understood that the success of an architect is not


merely the completion of a building that is perceived as beautiful
or novel in design. In Sri Lanka you often come across buildings,
in particular houses presented as minimalist or vernacular.
It has become commonplace for architects to embrace either
one of these two approaches depending on their ideals and
preferences. In effect derivatives of the contemporary or the
traditional character are perpetuated exhaustively and at times
superficially in keeping with a theme. These variations on a
theme more often than not fall short of any designers aspiration
of building timeless designs. Instead you find a haphazard form
of redundancy. At times occupants find they are no longer able
to inhabit these spaces, having for a time played the part of
custodians of abstract design that does not serve comfort and
convenience.
Sri Lanka is not known for its technologically advanced
architecture and instead continue to produce simple and
creative designs with the resources at hand. Architects have
the responsibility of designing, not the most ground-breaking
and advanced design but one that is most feasible socially
and culturally. There are exceptions to this statement, where
architects are compelled and allowed to push the envelope to
produce one-of-a-kind designs through elaborate means with
the blessing of its potential inhabitants. The question arises;
does the architects responsibility end with the changing hands
of the design with the construction? How far does an architects
role extend in bringing to fruition a design that is particularly
challenging within the social, cultural and climatic limits of a
country? The burden weighs upon the skills of construction where
technically advanced methods are unfamiliar territory. Even so
a design can be improvised to be realized within its limitations.
Creativity is impeded with constraints of many a nature.
In terms of building, the construction processes and mechanics
hamper art through the many complex structural necessities.
In this context architects who remain removed from building can
alienate their design and leave a house without fully considering
how living spaces would function once occupied.
Material plays a pivotal role in architectural design.
Architecture can be described as the art of building a suitable
design with suitable material. An architect can push the
boundaries of exploring material and its manipulation to produce
beautiful and innovative designs. In order to do so they must be
sensitive to the technical and social outcomes of their designs.
Architects that stay the course can witness the building process
shape their design and in the process understand and involve
in material technologies and construction. It would pave way to
envisage the impact of their design decisions in a tangible way.

The end result would be highly responsive work sensitive to its


site and occupants.
In the end experimentation and involvement by the architects
would only serve to expand the possibilities of architecture
and lead to novel or alternative material applications and
construction capabilities. It would pave the way to innovation in
architecture.
This issue features a house by Tadao Ando in the southern
coast of Sri Lanka and tests the boundaries of local skill
and technology in building primarily with exposed concrete.
Conversely is a house by Russell Dandeniya designed with
particular emphasis on sustainable building practices,
improvising with a considerable amount of recycled material.
When comparing the two above mentioned projects, one done
by an international architect and the other by a Sri Lankan,
it is clear to see that the two follow vastly different approaches.
While one seeks to test the architectural as well as construction
boundaries hereto unattempted in Sri Lanka prompting the
need to bring in international expertise to complete the task,
the other strives to adhere to designs that have proven to be
secure and effective emulating the time tested stratagems of
an architectural legacy that Sri Lankan architects continue to
pursue.
The two approaches of these architects bring to light
several questions. Why has a country that is enriched with an
architectural history spannning more than 2,500 years grown
monotonous in its design approach to architecture, placing less
emphasis on new technologies? Is it that we refuse to relinquish
the comfort of an architectural culture, which has been successful
that we do not feel the need to think beyond the conventional
box? Then, is it the responsibility of the architect or the client to
insist on a new way of thinking so that we are able to aquire new
technologies, innovate, develop skills in the industry and create
novel properties that are not just a reflection of the past? These
are pertinent questions that need answers to. Domus Sri Lanka
aims to create a platform that provides the opportunity for such
discussion so that the next generation of architects reflect a new
age of thinking.
This issue also features the creative process adopted by
a German designer who seeks to give order to the projects
elements and create beauty through intelligence, simplicity of
function and quality of construction, and another that looks at
the design of surfaces by connecting warp and weft, which gives
infinite variables in technique, shape and colour. Projects include
Swiss architect Valerio Olgiatis own house constructed entirely
of reddish concrete and lies immersed in nature conveying
strength and inhabitability. bto

EDITORIAL VIII

domus Sri Lanka

2015 Foto Scala, Firenze

Left: Giorgio Vasari,


the title page of De
Re Aedificatoria in
vernacular, by Leon
Battista Alberti, published
by Torrentino, Florence
1550. Biblioteca
Riccardiana, Florence

IX EDITORIAL

domus Sri Lanka

WHAT A PROJECT IS, AGAIN

Nicola Di Battista

To fully experience our contemporaneity and so be able to imagine


our best possible future, we feel that the question of architectural
design, dealt with in last months editorial, is so pivotal and of
such priority that it is worth adding further reflections here on the
same topic.
First of all, we asked ourselves what architectural design is and
what we want from it. And also, what the present conditions are
for its implementation and how important it is to choose what kind
of projects are really needed today. Finally, as architects and in
other ways as citizens, we stated the absolute necessity to seek the
forms most feasible and best suited to build those projects.
We shall therefore start from what at this moment seems
to be truly incomprehensible and is becoming more and more
unbearable: the embarrassing incapacity revealed nowadays to
think, design and realise the right backdrop for our lives.
Our society has always been creative and at the forefront, among
the most fecund and capable in designing the built environment
and its surrounding landscape. The idea that it is now gradually
forfeiting this role is a detestable one.
Ours is a society that patiently in the course of time has
succeeded in creating places truly in keeping with peoples lives;
places both public and private, indispensable and useful not only
to the body but also to the mind; places that the world envies.
We do not want to resign ourselves to the idea that all this can
suddenly be interrupted. So it has become important to keep
talking about it.
It is true that recently, an idea, a simplified idea, let us say,
of architectural design has increasingly surfaced that responds
principally to the many futile fashions that are promoted by the
usual superstitious attachment to all things new, by a few useless
inventions, or by yet another technological ideology.
It is not our idea of design, and above all we are not convinced
by it. The paltriness of its results and its utter failure to improve
our lives are here before us. By favouring the quest for newness at
all costs, we have failed to advance the design culture that belongs
to us. Until recently, it produced extraordinary results that are
still amazing today.
We understand that the evolution required by our times and by
its innumerable technological discoveries cannot and must not
be ignored. On the contrary, we think that it must constitute the
precious material on which to build our present. But we also think
that all this must happen within what has been achieved before
us, and as a continuity of those achievements.
The continuity that we are talking about, however, is not an
automatic fact. Rather it is the outcome of long and patient
endeavours. It entails the capacity to select everything that we
deem to be still of value, and to substitute what instead we believe
is outdated and no longer useful or necessary to contemporary
life. We want to construct our present by starting from the great
history inherited from our past, so as to reassert the architectural
design culture that belongs to us.
For this reason, there is an important and urgent need to discuss
the idea that we have of design. We need to close ranks clearly and
unambiguously, resolutely and decisively, so as to avert the notion
that anything and its opposite goes, in other words: nothing.
If we fail to adopt this initial choice before everything else, we
wont even have stated the issue, thus precluding all possibility of
resolving it.
Just how the act of architectural designing came to be reduced
to such an eminently technical or merely trade-related fact is
something that must alarm us and give us food for thought.
The overwhelming, relentless advance of technology, with its
admirable discoveries, has radically changed the lives and habits
of the people of our time. And for the first time in the history of
humanity, this has affected everybody and not just a few, whatever
continent or place on earth they may belong to.
Above all, this change has occurred in a very short space of
time. The event, completely without precedent, may have given
those who experience it the sensation that the formidable power

expressed by contemporary technology may in itself be enough for


them to tackle and solve all the questions of habitation; that it
might be sufficient to meet the needs both material and spiritual
of their daily lives. Technology has convinced most people that
everything can be faced and resolved by using it, by wielding
its stunning and seemingly infinite products. At that point,
architectural design could become simply a specialised practice,
capable on its own of finding the answer to any demand expressed
by humankind.
No, for us the problem of architectural design goes much deeper
than that. To quote Jos Ortega y Gasset, we might say that it is
much more preliminary and much more problematical. In a word,
for us the matter of architectural design is a strictly cultural one,
and should be treated and discussed as such.
There are no feasible shortcuts to reach our destination more
quickly, and any determinism that might be implemented in the
practice of design is doomed to failure.
There can be no design or project based solely on technical
knowledge. Conversely, there is an urgent and indispensable
need today to work on the construction of a more general
authoritativeness, the only type that can bring back into play the
architectural design culture so plentifully and admirably practised
in the past.
We do not by any means wish to propose a nostalgic and
undifferentiated return to the past. Nor, however, do we want to
give up anything from it that may still be of use to our present.
This can be done by seeking, selecting and choosing from our past
with rigorous awareness what may still be of value to us today.
This material would prove advantageous to our work, because first
of all it would prevent us from stooping to whimsicality, from doing
just one random thing out of all the many possible things that
could be done.
If we come to think of it, precisely whimsicality has been the
really indecent characteristic that seems to have corroded most
of the architecture and design produced in recent years. So if what
we propose might serve to reverse, at least in part, this unhealthy
trend, that in itself would be a great achievement.
Mainly, the material chosen and shared by us would form a good
point of departure; it would help us to select and build only the
things that ask specifically to be built, among the many things
that our times and todays technology have made possible.
This brings us back to the more stringent question of
architectural design, underlining how it represents one of
humankinds most important activities, an activity that has always
sustained and permitted our many different ways of inhabiting
the earth. We can add that if among all the practices, crafts and
professions conducted by man, design represents the more or less
evident basis, in architecture this is superlatively so, expressed to
the maximum degree, and it even represents its very essence.
What we are saying is that the place where architecture really
resides is in design rather than in construction. Architecture
is fully contained in the design of a project, where it imagines,
conceives and precedes the works construction.
Let us try then to reverse a typical definition that says
architecture is the art of constructing, a definition that confuses
the effect with the cause. Let us consider a different definition
that sees it instead as the art of designing something to construct.
Better still, let us try to define architecture as the art of imagining
how humanity can better inhabit this earth. At this point we can
say that it is first and foremost all about thinking, about thinking
with the capacity to create expected and unexpected connections
that have to do with the lives of people. It is not just technique
applied as a trade. It is thinking that is the foundation and basis
of a future realisation.
Preliminarily, therefore, to build a good contemporary project
that takes into account our needs and is in keeping with them,
we are more interested in problem-solving today than in
determinism, more in doubt than in certainties, and more in
patient work than in sudden flashes of intuition. ndb

domus Sri Lanka

CONFETTI

CONFETTI 1

2 CONFETTI

domus Sri Lanka

PAOLA BESANA: WEAVING


WITH STRUCTURE AND
THREE-DIMENSIONALITY
The design of surfaces by connecting warp and
weft is a fascinating play of infinite variables
in technique, shape and colour. Several recent
projects demonstrate the strong architectural
character of the work of one of Italys most
important exponents in the craft of weaving
Paola Besana

CONFETTI 3

domus Sri Lanka

Opposite page, bottom: Giulia Pils,


Besanas assistant, wearing a Manta.

Opposite page top and this page, right


and far right: the 1989 Tile carpet has a
reversed negative motif and is designed
in easily managed rectangles of 80 x
130 cm that can be lifted, reversed and
combined with other similar pieces to
create different patterns. Its rather thick
structure allows it also to be used as
a futon. The photo shows the first four
samples in a smaller size

I consider the basic elements of textile


design to be the material, the structure
of the weave, the effect of warp and
weft and their alternation, the overall
colour, the yarn count, the finish, the
scale of the work, and the contrasts
between all these elements.
I am very interested in the threedimensional aspect of fabrics. I often
use a double weave with multiple
intersecting and open planes.
This gives me free, threedimensional structures that can
have either contrasting or balanced
relationships. I am interested in
exploiting to the maximum, to the
absolute limits, the constructive and
expressive scope offered by the
technical medium.
My research work on textile
techniques ranges from loom to
non-loom fabric structures, ethnic
fabrics, weaving methods and
developments applicable to textile
design, my own artistic output and
practical teaching in the textile field.
I search in order to find out more
(I sing to sing, as the old song goes),
for something fruitful will always come
from free associations.
I believe however that it is a good
thing to always set oneself a clear
purpose and field to be surveyed,
so as not to stumble about aimlessly
in the dark. It is advisable to always
keep a record of ones discoveries
and intuitions as they occur. I consider
that the purpose of hand weaving is
not so much the production of yards

Right: sample and study looms,


mounted with different woven structures
Centre right: two chests of drawers
containing textile treasures from all over
the world. The sculpture on the left wears
a necklace created by the designer and a
crown by one of her pupils. Animal figures
woven from palm leaves join two small
sculptures by Besana (the polypropylene
Albero and La Strada, standing twisted
atop a slab of stone). Leaning against the
wall are two structures woven by her and
stretched on frames, A Passeggio (left)
and Piani (right)

of fabric, but designs for the industry,


or the creation of one-off or smallseries textile items whose destination
or shape suggests the type of
fabric to be used. Fabrics to me are
not two-dimensional surfaces, but
rather three-dimensional structures,
in which patterns originate from
the contrast and juxtaposition of
different materials, weaves and
colours. What interests me in a piece
of fabric is its specific structure,
in a tactile and visual sense. I am
less concerned about motifs and
the juxtaposition of colour areas,
which can be better rendered using
graphic techniques. I have always
been particularly fascinated by the
structural aspect of every textile form,
and not only those produced on the
loom. My interests range from lace to
sprang, to four-selvedge fabrics and
scaffolded weaving. I have attended
courses by Thessy Schoenholzer
Nichols on the recognition of laces
and embroidery. I have explored
this passion of mine through study
travels in Europe, Mexico, Guatemala,
Colombia, Peru and Bolivia, where
I was able to observe, photograph
and experiment with numerous
primitive weaving techniques, and to
collect ethnic samples and looms. In
2001-2002, with a group of former
students, I studied and reconstructed
looms collected in South America
and created modern products using
Andean techniques. My collection
of textile structures and objects

gathered over the years stretches


from wire sieves used by bricklayers
to delicate needle or bobbin laces
and to samples of different textile
techniques. I have devised a method
of cataloguing that has enabled me
over the years to collect and index
a textile library of 1,560 volumes.
Searches can be done by subject
as well as by author and title. I keep
these in my own living space, which
in the course of time has become a
workshop, a school and a library, as
well as my home.
For years I have worked on three
main possible types of collections
that are interconnected: examples
of textile structures; artefacts
of historical, geographic and
anthropological interest; and a
third collection of a more personal
nature, consisting in textile gifts and
textile postcards, which I have been

swapping with friends. To study


and catalogue these diverse fabrics
and textile objects, I have relied
mostly on the writing of Irene Emery,
whom I met at the Textile Museum in
Washington D.C. when she was still
working on her monumental textile art
research project.
As to my card-swapping, just as
children swap footballer cards, so
I send and receive postcards of
lace-makers and types of lace, looms
and weavers, medieval tapestries
and Amazon hammocks, miniatures
of textile ateliers that are parts of
models found in Egyptian tombs, and
improbable Penelopes at work on
Renaissance looms by Pinturicchio
or by the 19th Century painter William
Waterhouse. This allows many
different worlds to chat and exchange
views, spurred by constant creative
energy.

4 CONFETTI

domus Sri Lanka

This page, top left: a sample of a tabby


weave in Sardinian wool, woven over
30 years ago. It inspired the making
of the manta because of its diagonal
texture that is unusual in loom-woven
fabrics. From this sample, Besana
created the Manta with Eugenia Pinna,
who also produces it; top right and
centre right: a corner of the Manta,
where the diagonals are shaped by

Right: baskets are another type of woven


structure of which Besana owns a large
collection. She sometimes uses them
as inspiration for future fabrics. The
bookcase contains a small part of her
collection of books on the subject of
weaving. Among them is Ed Rossbachs
Baskets as Textile Art, 1973

the characteristics of the yarn and the


density of the weave; Griglia Africana,
made by Besana with silk dyed in
natural colours, was inspired by an
ethnic fabric seen at an exhibition at
the Muse dEthnographie in Neuchtel,
By threading only one of the warps five
shafts, infinite patterns can be created,
all with the same warp

CONFETTI 5

domus Sri Lanka

Below: thicker strands of yarn travel


across the weave, appearing and
disappearing from the surface to give
the fabric three-dimensional texture.
This sample was used as a base for
theatre costumes that were worn for the
Parsifal opera, staged at La Scala, Milan
in inauguration of the 1991-1992 season

Above: Paola Besana hides behind


the openwork screen of a burqa,
a gift she received from a travelling
student weaver who bought it at an
Afghan market. On Besanas wrist
is the Essequ bracelet made from a
single, thick strand of felt connected
by an overlapping loop. Her necklace
is a length of tubular fabric with a
continuous warp

All photos by Andrea Martiradonna

6 CONFETTI

domus Sri Lanka

BUILDING BY ADDING
In the creative process adopted by this German designer, both analogue
and digital tools are wielded to find the right idea and steer it in the correct
direction. Starting from scratch, he seeks to give order to a projects elements
and create a kind of beauty that is not driven by form but by intelligence,
simplicity of function and quality of construction
Konstantin Grcic

CONFETTI 7

domus Sri Lanka

Design has to do with a desire,


a need, a necessity, a problem.
Design has to do with people.
When I work on a project, I do not
have any precise vision of where
I want to go. I cannot see the project
yet. I shuffle its elements around
in my head, looking for an order,
a trigger for the next phase. This
could be a technology or material,
or it could be a certain behaviour or
function. Finding the right direction is
the most critical step, the basis and
foundation of a project, and for me
it is the hardest part.
Once Ive found it, I start involving
one of my assistants. This moment is
crucial it is the point where I break
the privacy of my own thinking and
open it up to someone else. It puts
my thoughts to the test. Usually,
I talk about the idea. After this first
phase, everything becomes easy and
the design process really begins.
We act and react, often enough with
our hands, in an analogue, direct
way. We build models, sometimes
on the computer, we try things out,
we make mistakes, we correct them
and learn. The quality of the process
determines the quality of the final
result.
Some designers sculpt form out
of a solid volume, others build form
up from elements. These are two
completely different intellectual
processes. I prefer the latter, maybe
because of my curiosity about how

things are made and how they


work. As a kid, I loved to take things
apart and put them back together
again. I guess my early childhood
exercises were the beginnings of me
becoming a designer. To some extent
I am still doing the same thing: trying
to understand how things are made
and getting them to work.
In my way of constructing things,
making models is essential. In turn,
these cardboard or wire models
have an impact on the final look of
my designs. Even the way we use
3D software reflects our approach
to modelling things from the ground
up. I like the mathematics of this
process. They provide me with a
notion of measure and control.
For me, beauty is more about
discovery than about having a vision.
I dont think I ever work towards
a specific ideal of the beautiful.
Rather, I try to be open to the
unexpected. This doesnt mean that
Im unconscious or passive about it.
In fact, searching for beauty forms
an important part of my creative
thinking process. I consider beauty
to be an important factor for the
quality of a design. However, beauty
isnt necessarily connected to form
or aesthetics. The intelligence of an
idea is beautiful, the simplicity of a
function is beautiful, the economy of
a construction is beautiful. Beauty
is always subjective, and always
changing. I cant really explain why,

Opposite page and this page, below,


respectively: sketches for the Dahlem
chair designed for Arflex Japan in 2014,
and for the Isamo armchair for Magis;
above, computer rendering of the Isamo,
which will be presented at the Milan
Furniture Fair this April. Sketches are
part of Grcics brainstorming phase,
where he finds the right direction for the
projects development

but usually those things that at first


seem raw and unsettling that, in the
long run, I find to be most beautiful.
We usually develop our designs
relatively far along before we
present them to the client. For me,
it is essential to have well-founded
knowledge about a project before
releasing it into open discussion.
Only if I know what I want and why
I want it am I able to navigate a
project through this collaborative
process. This phase is the most
productive and important one,
and the one that I enjoy the most.
There are always constraints
in a design process. Technical
constraints, budgetary constraints,
time constraints and more. The
trick is to turn such constraints into
something positive, into an advantage.
Constraints can create opportunities.
The more I know about a projects
constraints, the better I can assess
my options and, consequently, the
more precise my response can be.
One of the things that fascinate
me about design is the prospect
of changing things, of questioning
them, of creating something new,
something that is the first of its
kind. At the same time, I am well
aware that design is evolution,
that it is built, to a certain extent,
on continuity, and that it needs
this continuity in order to grow.
Sometimes one is lucky enough to
create a disruption, or to make a

8 CONFETTI

big leap forward. Often, though, the


task is to continue the evolution,
to tie in with what is already there,
to optimise, to make things better.
Then, design is for people. During
the design process, I have two kinds
of people in mind. They structure
the project and put it into context.
One is the end user, the person who
will use my designs, possess them
and even live with them. The other is
my client, the producer, the company
I am designing for. I like to think that
my design can respond to the needs
of people, make them happy even
just for a moment. Consumers can
no longer be grouped into strategic
markets. The idea that one size fits
all has been proven wrong. Instead,
weve learnt to respect peoples
personal histories, needs and desires.
This is inspiring and beautiful.
The nature of industrial design
implicates that I dont know my end
users, at least not in a way that would
allow me to really design for them.
I can only make assumptions about
their wishes and needs. I help myself
by constructing little stories; I try to
imagine peoples lives and names,
and to put myself in their positions.
Its a little bit like method acting.
The relationship between people and
objects forms a main focal point for
me. Not only for studying practical
issues such as form and function,
but also for a general understanding
about cultural phenomena and

domus Sri Lanka

society at large. There is something


very creative about the way we
use, abuse and reuse products.
Sometimes it can be comical or even
tragic to watch how we struggle with
the complexity and overload of todays
material world. While my relationship
with end users is rather abstract,
my relationship with clients is very
concrete and personal. We dont only
work together. When things go well,
we share common goals, a common
passion; we become friends. That
doesnt mean that were always in
agreement. The most productive and
interesting relationships are the ones
that allow for friction.
Design is a two-way street,
the result of a dialogue between
the designer and the person
commissioning the work. Its like a
game of ping-pong an exchange
of knowledge, ideas and arguments
that is only exciting when both
parties are equally strong.
When I begin working for a client,
I like to learn as much as possible
about the story of his company.
With my product, I work for, with and
against that story. Sometimes, I might
even rewrite it, put it in a new context.
I find it important to not only think
about the companys status quo but to
imagine its future. Often, companies
are farther ahead than one can see
from the outside. By working well, I
might be able to help them take the
next step on their path.

This page: models of the Dahlem


chair for Arflex Japan, which is
characterised by a geometric visual
language. In Grcics work method, the
making of models in cardboard or wire
is an essential step that helps correct
mistakes and define the final project

domus Sri Lanka

PROJECTS

PROJECTS 9

10 PROJECTS

domus Sri Lanka

PROJECTS 11

domus Sri Lanka

Russell Dandeniya ECO HOUSE, MADINNAGODA


Although in the heart of an urban setting, this
house takes advantage of its natural surroundings
to provide serene living spaces while at the same
time paying homage to the environment through
its sustainable design approach
Photos Indika De Silva, Mahesh Bandara and Kolitha Perera

12 PROJECTS

FROM THE ARCHITECTS


PROJECT DESCRIPTION
Designed to make the most of its surroundings
this small house is a spatial refuge, a place
to unwind for a client with a busy lifestyle.
It is set among the lush greeneries abutting
the Diyawannawa Lake on one side and a
picturesque marshland on the other.
The subsequent placing and planning of
the house reflect an eagerness to capture
the natural rhythms and flows of its urban
enclave, as well as to appreciate experience
and protect the variety of birds and other
species that dwell in the surrounding
environment.
Positioned along the east-west axis of the
site, the thin rectangular form of the house
is both an environmental and aesthetic
response to the idea of intervening sensitively
into the natural habitat. Yet, the apparently
simple design has been carefully resolved to
accommodate a diverse range of indoor and
outdoor spaces to suit the clients basic and at
times complex spatial requirements.
A key strategy pursued in spatial planning
was to increase the garden areas substantially,
thus leaving most of the natural settings
unharmed and allowing interiors to capture

domus Sri Lanka

unrestricted views of the greenery. The internal


ground level spaces seamlessly merge with
the outside by extending into an open dining
verandah first, and then to a timber pathway
that runs towards the water body. This
projected feeling of living outside as opposed

2M

Opening page: wrapping


threshold brings outside
to inside; pages 10-11:
camouflaged cottage
inside the green; this
page, above: the exterior

of the house where


recycled material has
been extensively used;
opposite page: patterns
of dawn created by the
timber roof

to inside is further exaggerated by using


natural materials and rough textures
to soften the built-form edges, as well as
by allowing natural light and ventilation
to penetrate each of the interior spaces.
Even the master suite at the upper level with

domus Sri Lanka

PROJECTS 13

14 PROJECTS

the associated timber attic to entertain kids


gets prodigious views of the natural water
body and the marshland, thereby creating a
unique experience unparalleled to what one
gets in a similar urban setting.
While the natural setting has been the
obvious inspiration for spatial design, the
building also benefits from a continuous
commitment to follow sustainable building
practices. For example, this project can almost
be considered as a zero energy building where
materials for the floor structure, timber floor
paneling, doors and windows, railings, staircases,
roof timber, etc. have all been recycled, having
been collected from junk building yards in
the vicinity of the site; even most of the new
materials selected for the building such as the
low-energy sun baked mud bricks used for walls
fit within the ESD agenda of the project.
Through its simple gestures, material
choices and spacious envelopes, the structure
also creates a user-friendly and robust
architectural environment, which is receptive
to different arrangements of furniture or
any other spatial or functional chaos without
diminishing the intended unique experience
or architectural character. It attempts to
exemplify wear and tear-free, usable robust,
architecture.

domus Sri Lanka

05

03
04

02

01

2M

Above: the sitting room


with a clear flow of air
and light. Sun baked mud
brick interior reduces any
usage chaos

06

PROJECTS 15

domus Sri Lanka

09

10
08

07
11

1
2
3
4
5
6
7

Main entrance
Family living
Dinning room
Visitors toilet
Linear kitchen
Varandah
Master Ensuit

8
9
10
11
12

Master toilet
Laundry
Washing room
Timber terrace
Attic floor/
Kids sleeping

Above: the living area


opens out to the dining
podium; right: hidden
alternate access to the
house from clients office

16 PROJECTS

domus Sri Lanka

Architect:
Archt. Russell Dandeniya
Project Architects
Archt. Gihan Muthugala
Archt. Gayani Hewage
Client :
Eshani De Silva
Consultants:
JayanthaGamage
(Structural Engineer)
RDC Architects
(Service/Electrical)
Site extent:
40.9 p.
Total built area:
1900 ft2
Cost:
4.5 M
Completed:
2010
Civil contractor:
Kottegoda Associates
Photographs:
Kolitha Perera

Top, left: the play of light


and shadow is maximised
to enhance the space;
top, right: camouflaged
cottage inside the green

Inset: timber detailing of


the ceiling; bottom, left:
floating space over the
canopies; bottom, right:
master bedroom, cheerful
inside penetration

PROJECTS 17

domus Sri Lanka

Top: capturing the nature


through openings;
bottom, left and right: the
wooden walkway from

the jetty of the lake to


the house and the
aquatic environment
around the house

18 PROJECTS

domus Sri Lanka

Tadao Ando HOUSE IN MIRISSA, SRI LANKA


Overcoming the limitations of working in a
foreign territory Tadao Ando improvised with
local technology to design a house that embodies
the comforts of a home and serves as a source
of inspiration to its occupants. This cliff side
concrete house in southern Sri Lanka takes
advantage of its location to relate to its natural
environment.
Photos Edmund Sumner

domus Sri Lanka

PROJECTS 19

20 PROJECTS

domus Sri Lanka

The house stands facing the Indian Ocean


from atop a steep cliff at the southern tip of
the island nation of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka has
a population of approximately 20 million that
is largely Buddhist. Its people and culture
differ markedly from that of neighbouring
India, and it has an atmosphere that in some
respects is more similar to that of Japan.
The clients are a Belgian couple. The
husband runs a manufacturing company
that he developed from a local business into
a global corporation, and his wife is an artist
who creates artwork inspired by the local
Sri Lankan climate and culture. Though
they live alternatively between Europe and
Sri Lanka, they hold a deep affection for
Sri Lankas climate, its people, and their
culture, and spend a large part of the year
there. The husband approached us with a
wish to build a permanent home and atelier
in Sri Lanka as a present for his wife, who
has stood together with him through many
hardships.
After receiving the commission in early 2004,
we engaged in design meetings together with
a local architect who was selected through an
interview process. Later in that year, however,
a great earthquake struck Sumatra, and Sri
Lanka was hit by a tsunami.
Many people near the project site were
taken by the waves, and buildings and
port structures were destroyed. It seemed
impossible for the project to be continued in
light of the situation, yet several months after
the tsunami we were requested to resume
with designing the house by the client, who
had been conducting relief work through an
organisation that he had established by his
own accord.
After the project was reconvened and
the construction drawings were completed,
we were faced with the problem of determining
how to construct an exposed concrete building
in Sri Lanka by using local construction
technology, while maintaining the same quality
that we have been able to achieve in Japan.
A local construction firm that had formerly
operated as a subsidiary company of a Japanese
general contractor was selected to conduct the
Pages 18-19: the swimming
pool overlooking the
beach. This page: above,
the house is located on
a cliff facing the Indian
Ocean.

Centre: the position and


design of the building
according to the contours
of the land

PROJECTS 21

domus Sri Lanka

Top left, main entrance;


top right, the atelier wing
projects outward towards
the ocean from the top of

a cliff covered with wild


bush; bottom, south side
of the building

22 PROJECTS

domus Sri Lanka

10M

projects construction, but they did not have


experience with casting exposed concrete. Thus
a decision was made upon the clients request to
send in two Japanese specialists onto the site.
The two men both had experience working with
us as construction site managers, and despite
being close to retirement age, they were still
very spirited and eager to make use of their
skills to benefit society. Though they struggled
with the foreign culture and unfamiliar customs
on their first overseas experience, after taking
turns to provide instruction on the site, and
with the good effort of the local workers, they
succeeded in drastically improving the quality
of construction.
The building consists of the clients residence,
guestrooms, and an atelier for the wife. These
programs were distributed within zigzagging
volumes, and the interstitial voids created
between them were provided as places for
entering into a dialogue with the natural Sri
Lankan environment. We planned numerous
semi-outdoor spaces suited for the tropical
climate, and aimed to create an airy architecture
like many of the native houses. In respect of a
request by the client, a pool that visually extends
infinitely into the Indian Ocean was positioned
on the second-level terrace. Local materials such
as temple stone, cut concrete, and timber were
used for the finishing, and a wall faced with
natural stone was built around the perimeter
of the building. The steel door and window
fixtures were made in the clients native
Belgium.
I believe that through overcoming various
difficulties by pulling together the strengths
of the local team, the Japanese team, and many
other people from a range of countries, we have
succeeded in realising a quality work of modern
architecture capable of setting a precedent for
the architecture of the paradise of the Indian
Ocean.
After its completion, the house has become
a central place in the lives of the client couple,
and they spend long hours together there with
their family and friends, enveloped by the
nature of Sri Lanka. Without a doubt, today, in
the atelier, works of art are being created that
can only be made at that place.
Centre: view from the
west end of the dining
room; bottom: first floor
dining room

PROJECTS 23

domus Sri Lanka

34
34

12
29

29
33

37

8
3

25
34

33
29 33

37

38
6

25
37
27

4
1

19

36

1. Entrance Court
2. Service Entrance
3. Lounge
4. Lobby
5. Dining Room
6. Kitchen
7. Living Room
8. Study
9. Library
10. Reading Room
11. Master Bedroom
12. Family Bedroom
13. Queens Bedroom
14. Swimming Pool
15. Pool Deck
16. Shower
17. Machine Room
18. Dry & Cold Store
19. Studio
20. Gallery
21. Dressing Room

35

14

34

34

34

13
33

34

29

22

32

34

29

16
15

26

11

35
34

34
40

33

23

17

24
37

26

21
7

28

37

18
9

26
20

34

38

26

36

25

27

39

34

34

36

38

33

22. Gym
23. Bath
24. Sauna
25. Guest Room
26. Staff Room
27. Anteroom For Staff
28. Master Bath
29. Bath Room
30. Maids Room
31. Laundry
32. Dog House
33. Closet
34. Terrace
35. Walkway
36. Toilet
37. Storage
38. Lift
39. Pantry
40. Cantilevered Slab
41. Drive Way

6
29

31

Project Data
Location
Mirissa, Sri Lanka
Program
Private Residence
Architect
Tadao Ando Architect & Associates
(Tadao Ando, Hidehiro Yano)

ROOF PLAN

10M

10
37
30

29

24 PROJECTS

Left: staircase; right:


gallery (above) and
studio (below); bottom:
atelier wing interior as

domus Sri Lanka

seen from the second


floor gallery. Opposite
page: stairs from studio
to gallery

domus Sri Lanka

PROJECTS 25

26 PROJECTS

domus Sri Lanka

PROJECTS 27

domus Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Design Team


Architect of Record
PWA Architects
(Philip Weeraratne, Ravindu Karunanayake,
Yohan Abhayaratne, Sumith Perera, Kasuni
Boteju)
Project Manager
Perigon Lanka
(Hussein T Fazleabas)
Structural Engineer
NCD Consultants
(Nandana Abeysuriya)
Resident Structural Engineer
Kokila Layan
MEP Engineer
Building Sevices Consultants
(Tissa Gunasena)
Resident MEP Engineer
Yohan Jayantha
Lighting Consultant
Electro Plastic Eng. Co.
(Shashikala Ranasinghe)
Interior Designer
Top Mouton, Belgium
(Nick Top, Jacob Pringiers)
Construction Consultant from Japan
Kiyoshi Aoki, Yukio Tanaka

Opposite page: top,


bathroom of Queens
bedroom; bottom,
Queens bedroom
on second floor

This page: top, east end


of studio; bottom, terrace
on second floor

28 PROJECTS

domus Sri Lanka

Contractors & Suppliers


Main Contractor
Sanken Lanka
Fire/Tel/Data/Audio-Video &
security camera systems
Fentons
Air Conditioning system
Elite Radio & Engineering
Supplier for glazing & steel doors and windows
Aelbrecht-Maes nv, Belgium
Installer for glazing & steel doors & windows
C.P.P. Industries
Handrails
BAFF (Building a Future Foundation)
Design Period
2004.02-2006.02
Construction Period
2006. 05-2008.12
Size
Site Area: 131,621 m2
Building Area: 955 m2
Total Floor Area: 2577 m2

Structure
Reinforced Concrete
Finish
Exterior: Exposed Concrete with
clear sealer
Interior: Exposed Concrete,
Temple Stone, Timber flooring,
Cut-concrete-finish, etc

Top: different view of the


terrace on the second
floor; bottom: entrance
court. Opposite page:
top, the full length of the

swimming pool; bottom,


view of the ocean to
the southwest as seen
beyond the pool from the
second floor terrace

domus Sri Lanka

PROJECTS 29

30 PROJECTS

domus Sri Lanka

Valerio Olgiati ALM HOUSE, PORTUGAL


South of Lisbon, in the Alentejo region, this Swiss architect has built
his own house not as a summer residence, but as an actual dwelling
immersed in nature. The result of this work is a virtual manifesto of
how his architecture marries expressive strength with inhabitability

domus Sri Lanka

PROJECTS 31

32 PROJECTS

2M

domus Sri Lanka

WEST ELEVATION AND PLAN

Pages 30-31: partial


view of the faade along
the courtyard, showing
the living room and the
kitchen (window on left).
These pages: the Alm
house seen in its rural
setting. Surrounding it
are tall concrete walls
whose upper half bends
open like a petal. This
page, bottom right: site
plan

1 Main courtyard
2 Study
3 Kitchen
4 Pantry
5 Living room
6 Utility room
7 Bathroom
8 Bedroom
9 Courtyard

7
9

8
7

5
9

8
7

4
2

PROJECTS 33

domus Sri Lanka

FROM THE ARCHITECTS PROJECT DESCRIPTION

This project is located in Alentejo, about


10 kilometres inland from the Atlantic Ocean.
The area is a hilly, rural landscape covered
with beautiful old cork oaks.
The climate is mild and dry. The primary
intention here was to create a secluded garden.
The surrounding walls are up to five and a half
metres high to provide the necessary shade.
The impression created is one of a desert: dry,
stony and dusty. Everything is constructed
from slightly reddish concrete, poured on site.

The character of the complex is chiefly


defined by the surrounding walls, which
create the impression of petals that close
and open towards the sky. The dwelling itself
is invisible: a single floor secluded behind
surrounding walls.
The living room is located at the end of
a strict axis leading from north to south. It
overlooks the pool and offers a view through
the southern door in the garden wall across
a flat and empty landscape. A curved hallway
allows the inhabitants to retreat into the
shadows of introverted private rooms.

Photos by Valerio Olgiati.


All material Archivio Olgiati

34 PROJECTS

domus Sri Lanka

10. 02. 2009

17. 11. 2009

This page, top and left:


two views of the west
faade. The windows
were made by a local
craftsman according to
the architects design.
They are larger than the
apertures to which they
are affixed, and applied
externally to the surface
of the walls. This allows
the window frames to
remain invisible from the
inside; centre, different
layout proposals.
Opposite page: views
of the court and detail,
seen from above, of the
swimming pool, made
with local pink marble
that reflects the light and
turns the water bright
emerald

Alm house
Alentejo, Portugal
Design
Valerio Olgiati
Collaborators
Patricia Da Silva
(project architect),
Daisuke Kokufuda,
Liviu Vasiu
General contractor
Matriz Sociedade de
Construes Lda.
Surfaces
720 m (courtyard);
290 m (house); 85 m
(total of bedroom courts)
Design phase
2009-2012
Construction phase
2013-2014

PROJECTS 35

domus Sri Lanka

14. 12. 2009

17. 1. 2010

36 PROJECTS

domus Sri Lanka

17. 06. 2010

21. 06. 2010

PROJECTS 37

domus Sri Lanka

Opposite page: top,


the study has a gabled
ceiling and a large
opening to the outdoors;
centre, two layout
proposals; bottom left,
the entrance to the house
from the courts; bottom
right, the hallway to the
bedrooms. Raw linen
drapes hide the doors of
bedrooms not in use. This
page: above, the house
in its bucolic setting.
The reddish colour of

the buildings concrete


was obtained by adding
powdered red stone to
the mix; centre, the living
room. As in all the other
rooms, the flooring is
hand-smoothed concrete.
The concrete walls were
left natural after removal
of the wooden formwork,
which was used more
than once in order to
obtain a rougher finish;
below, left: one
of the three bedrooms,

all of which feature


a private court that is
illuminated by an elliptic
overhead aperture. The
ellipses have different
sizes, and so create
a range of spatial
conditions that vary with
the changing seasons;
right, the kitchen is
furnished with a counter
top that is a single block
of marble measuring 127
x 314 x 8 cm and weighing
800 kg

38 RASSEGNA

domus Sri Lanka

RASSEGNA
(DISPLAY)

Photo Ramak Fazel

BATHROOM

RASSEGNA 39

domus Sri Lanka

Aside from the evolution of the role of the bathroom


within the domestic context having become increasingly
important when it comes to representing desired or
achieved status in these pages it is interesting to consider
the relationship between the products themselves and
the industrial strategies being adopted by this sector of
the market. Bathroom products I refer particularly to
sanitaryware and finishes have a close relationship
with advanced technology and are intrinsically linked to
the manufacturing strategies of the industry itself where,
alongside well-established industrial values such as
optimising efficiency, quality-control and the economics of
production, there is now an increasing emphasis on the new
shared values of eco-sustainability and energy-saving.
Although it may seem to the end-user that the products
of the bathroom industry are not particularly high on
technological content compared to other items for example
ICT products in reality they conceal industrial strategies
and technologies applied to the process and products that
are both complex and innovative.
The leading companies in this sector are focussed
on a kind of preventative-design approach for green
production, that offers the opportunity for more sensitive
users/customers to choose products characterised not only
by a discernible aesthetic content but also by their high
level of environmental efficiency. This means that the
whole of the supply-chain has to be able to monitor the
consumption of material resources, heating and electrical
energy as well as land-use throughout the entire lifecycle
of the product, from its conception to its disposal.

Opposite page: Inside the


Turkish ceramic factory
VitrA in Bozyk where
technologically-advanced
systems such as highpressure casting, rapid
drying moulds, robotised
casting shops and
barcode-tracking systems
are used

As well as acrylic materials, it is on ceramic products


that would seem to be relatively low on technological
content that manufacturers are focussing their research,
one that pays increasing attention to developing a more
responsible approach to production, aided by the fact
that ceramic is already in itself a hygienic, hard-wearing,
inexpensive and mouldable material.
Use of the Life Cycle Design approach makes it possible to
study and reduce the environmental impact of products over
the course of their entire life cycle: through all the phases of
design, production, transport, distribution, and recycling.
In the field of sanitaryware and ceramic products as
in other manufacturing sectors for more sophisticated
components Life Cycle Design requires a high level of
integration between all the parties in the supply-chain: from
the producers of raw materials (chemical and mining industry)
to the workers and on to recycling at the end of its useful life,
a sector today still largely at a developmental stage.
From the point of view of manufacturing technology, the
main innovations for sustainability, as well as improved
techniques for glazing, regard the evolution of robotised
systems of casting at high-pressure that enable maximum
optimisation.
This has determined not only better-quality products
through the optimisation of energy consumption and raw
materials but also an improvement of the conditions of
the workers, an important factor for the establishment of
a more ethical industry.
Spartaco Paris

40 RASSEGNA

FLORENTINE
Jaquar
A collection of taps whose design is
based on paring-down forms inspired
by Renaissance Florence with the kind
of minimalist lines associated with

STONE BATHWEAR
Stone Italiana
Designed for contract use, this
monobloc bathroom is designed as a
single, joint-free piece that is suitably
inclined for draining water from the

HITO
Arblu
The Hito programme consists of a
series of base units that can be
combined with tops in wood or glass
with recessed rectangular bowls

domus Sri Lanka

contemporary living. The result is a


simple design that can be accentuated
by combining it with warm surfaces
such as stone and terracotta.
JAQUAR
www.jaquar.com

shower. This unit is then fitted with


uprights and crosspieces in galvanised
steel that are pre-drilled for installing
wiring and pipework.
STONE ITALIANA
www.stoneitaliana.com

made from different materials.


The compositions can be further
enhanced with painted metal containers
fixed onto the sides of the bases.
ARBLU
www.arblu.it

AQUO
Studio Castiglia Associati
This bathroom system can be
configured in a number of versions.
Handles made from chromed or
satined metal and available in a

PARQUET PLANK 190


Listone Giordano
Thanks to the large dimensions of
the planks and their surface finishes,
Plank 190 conveys all the natural
beauty of wood. Free from solvents,

HYDROWELL
Neutra
Combining the technical
requirements of a multi-functional
tub with a decision to use only marble
and natural stones led to the production

number of different typologies


accentuate the stylish appearance
of the wall-hung modules.

SCAVOLINI BATHROOMS
www.scavolini.com

the varnish is applied after a brushing


process that brings out the grain
of the material.

LISTONE GIORDANO
www.listonegiordano.com

of this spa tub made from a single block


of stone, a mark of the companys skill
in creating bespoke products.

NEUTRA
www.neutradesign.it

RASSEGNA 41

domus Sri Lanka

SUEDE
S. Spessotto e/and L. Agnoletto
Suede is a modular and versatile
collection of bathroom furniture
available in assorted dimensions and
finishes, characterised by the total

absence of handles; instead each


side of the door has been speciallyshaped to enable opening.

CERASA
www.cerasa.it

TOWER
Pozzi-Ginori
A range of sinks, measuring 60, 90
and 120 cm, base-units with squared
forms and tall cabinets in assorted
finishes. To complete the range, there

SYNERGY
FIR

TECHLAM
Levantina

The Synergy range of mixer-taps has


been extended with two new product
types: floor-mounted taps for the sink
and for the bath, complete with shelf
in DuPontTM Corian. The two models
have been designed to be fitted with
either the short and compact Open
handle or more rounded Stone handle.
The new solutions are available in two
tone-on-tone finishes.

A porcelain-stoneware tile for interiors


and exteriors, Techlam is proposed
by the Spanish company in two new
finishes inspired by materials such
as wood and steel. The result of a
sophisticated digital-printing technology,
the new collections have the same
minimal thickness that characterises
technically the original material.
With 5 mm for the Wood Collection
and 3 mm for the Steel Collection, the
new proposals come in an array of
formats that go from 1 x 3 m up to
30 x 50 cm.

FIR ITALIA
www.fir-italia.it

are wall-hung sanitary fittings and


a WC with seat integrated into the
ceramic that reproduce the curved
lines of the sinks.
POZZI-GINORI
www.pozzi-ginori.it

LEVANTINA
www.levantina.com

WIEN
Soda Designers Nasrhallah & Horner
In the Wien bathroom unit its name
a tribute to the place of origin of its
designers resin and wood have been
combined creating a striking contrast
between the white resin of the sink and
the warm finish of the ebony structure

and door-fronts. The effect of this


colour combination is further enhanced
by the mirrors placed on both the front
and inside the doors, enabling 360
vision as well as creating interesting
effects of light and reflection.
RAPSEL
www.rapsel.it

MANOLIBERA
Megius
Its name referring to the freehand
lines, this shower enclosure has almost
no lower profile. Shown is a corner-

version with hinged door and fixed sidepanel, opal and transparent glass and
bright-polished chrome profiles.
ARTBOX BY MEGIUS
www.megius.com

42 RASSEGNA

SCAPE MONOLITH
Joost van der Vecht
Sculptural and monumental, the sinks
in this series are produced by Dutch
brand NotOnlyWhite and are made
from a single rectangular-shaped

PURA R 5000
Duka
This shower enclosure is distinguished
by its sophisticated hinges that enable
the door to open either inwards or
ARJA
Teuco
Introduced in a version 200 x 150 cm
with large glass walls, the Arja Finnish
sauna features a colour-therapy
function and essence diffuser

domus Sri Lanka

block of black Hi-Macs with an


external border of 12 mm and a
slender plinth that raises them slightly
off the ground.
LG HAUSYS
www.himacs.eu

outwards as well as lifting it up off the


ground when in use to prevent the seal
from wearing out.
DUKA
www.duka.it

while the touch-screen control


placed outside the cabin enables all
treatment settings to be regulated.

TEUCO
www.teuco.com

F-DIGITAL DELUXE
Grohe
The F-digital Deluxe shower-system
now features Bluetooth technology
that enables more flexible control of
the light functions for colour therapy,

STONEFIT
Samo
Available in four different colours
(white, black, grey and mocha) and with
a smooth or rough surface, these
JUNIOR
Centro Progetti Vismara
Characterised by their streamlined
rigour, the shower enclosures in the
Junior series are expressed through
a dialogue between their essential

sound for music therapy and intensity


of the steam. Programming can be
controlled by a wide variety of mobile
devices, also from a distance.
GROHE
www.grohe.com

shower trays are made from stonefit,


a material with a velvety feel that can be
produced in specified shapes and sizes.
SAMO
www.samo.it

constituent elements: hinged door,


folding door and fixed panel. To make it
easier to clean the glass, the hinges are
fixed to the panels with flush screws.
VISMARAVETRO
www.vismaravetro.it

RASSEGNA 43

domus Sri Lanka

MARVEL PRO
Atlas Concorde
These bright, white-body wall-tiles
faithfully reproduce the veining of
natural marble in all its graphic depth
and richness. The colours give life to
elegant monochromatic compositions

VENTICELLO
Villeroy&Boch

or patterns in black and white while the


two large rectified formats (40 x 80 cm
and 30.5 x 91.5 cm) further enhance
the appearance of the surfaces.

A collection of ceramic fittings and


bathroom furniture with a stylish,
square look, Venticello features a
number of technical innovations that

ATLAS CONCORDE
www.atlasconcorde.it

ensure high performance: from


deep sinks to water-saving sanitary
fittings and direct-flush for total
hygiene.
VILLEROY&BOCH
www.villeroy-boch.com

ROYALE
NovaBell

MOODE
Monica Graffeo

This single-fired, white-body wall tile


is distinguished by its bright surfaces
available in a wide range of colours
amethyst, beige, white, sky, coral,
corniola and lava and designs floral
or geometric motifs and small relief
patterns.

Modular and flexible, Moode


a combination of mood and mode
is a bathroom range that can be
customised with different materials
and finishes. The storage units can
be wall-hung or supported on metal
trestles.

NOVABELL
www.novabell.it

REXA DESIGN
www.rexadesign.it

BOSTON ROUND
Fap Ceramiche

OPUS: MIKADO
Raffaello Galiotto

This ceramic tile is available in six matt


glazes with a soft surface that gives a
sophisticated and dynamic feel to walls.
The programme is completed with the
unusual Round mosaic, available in
sheets measuring 29.5 x 32.5 cm made
up of round mosaic tiles.

Shifting the focus from a sculptural


approach to a more painterly one,
Lithos present a collection of tiles that
while not renouncing the value of
antique inlay, speaks a strongly graphic
language. In the photo: Mikado Pepe,
a black marble.

FAP CERAMICHE
www.fapceramiche.com

LITHOS DESIGN
www.lithosdesign.com

VANITY
Roberto Pamio

Mystone is based on six natural stones


Pietra di Vals, Gris Fleury, Silverstone,
Pietra Italia, Quarzite and Kashmir
recreated using ceramic technology.
Produced in porcelain stoneware, the
tiles are available in a number of formats
for laying in endless ways. The collection
can also be supplied in mosaic tiles
mounted on mesh.

A stylish and rational solution to


bathroom storage, Vanity is a unit
designed to complete the Gamma
range of bathroom fittings. It is shown
here with two drawers with matt-blacklacquered fronts and a 66 mm top in
QuartzoTech Vintage gloss.

MARAZZI
www.marazzi.it

Photo: Andrea Ferrari

MYSTONE GRIS FLEURY


Marazzi

ARCLINEA
www.arclinea.it

44 RASSEGNA

RIVESTIMENTI IN PELLE
Laplle
Thanks to the patented laying system
used to apply Laplle wall and floor
finishes, individual leather tiles can
be installed and repositioned as well

domus Sri Lanka

as easily replaced, on any surface,


including those that are curved or
irregular, without the need to carry
out structural works.
LAPLLE
www.lapelledesign.com

ACQUAVIVA
Nobili Rubinetterie
With a clean and rational design,
the mixers in this range incorporate
an important technological feature:
the Nobili Widd 28 Water

FRAME LEGAMI
Cordivari

SOHO
Ludovica+Roberto Palomba

In this system of radiators a painted


carbon-steel structure is hidden
behind the grooved surface of a
stainless-steel plate, decorated with a
raised pattern that recalls the ancient
art of basketweaving. The clean and
streamlined profile of this radiator is its
most prominent formal characteristic
while in terms of technology, high-level
heating performance is guaranteed
by the use of materials with excellent
properties of conductivity.

Playing around with simple lines and


repeated modules, the designers
came up with the idea for this stylish
radiator. It consists of a series of
profiles in hot-drawn aluminium, fixed
together via a patented blocking
system. Soho comes in a vertical
or horizontal version, with single or
double column in heights ranging
from 40 cm to 280 cm and widths
between 17.6 up to 133.2 cm.

CIBELE
APG Studio

A reworking of Tadelakt, traditional


Moroccan plasterwork, these wallcoatings are made from cement, lime,

NOBILI RUBINETTERIE
www.grupponobili.it

TUBES
www.tubesradiatori.com

CORDIVARI
www.cordivari.it

CEMENTOCRUDO
Piero Lissoni

Immersion Dry Disc, that with


its dynamic flow-regulator and
temperature control ensures
savings of water and energy.

natural-earths and wax and are


characterised by their uneven colouring
and the effects produced by light.
KERAKOLL
www.kerakoll.com

Italian manufacturing traditions are


the inspiration behind the Home
collection, that articulates the warmth
and elegance of wood in pure and
simple forms. The series is made up

of a bath, a sink-unit and a series of


mirrors. Made from LivingTec resin, the
Cibele bath is available with external
finish in smooth or planked wood, in a
natural, bleached or tinted finish.
CERAMICA CIELO
www.ceramicacielo.com

FEEDBACK 45

domus Sri Lanka

4
2

FEEDBACK
ADOLFO NATALINIS
FLORENCE

Via
le M
ich
ela
nge
lo

46 FEEDBACK

domus Sri Lanka

006 FLORENCE

FEEDBACK:
ADOLFO NATALINIS FLORENCE

Photo Archivi Alinari, Firenze

Top right: Pianta geometrica di Firenze by Federico


Fantozzi, 1843. Left and opposite page: the Ponente
staircase at the Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence by
S.IN.TER and Natalini Architetti (2003-2011). The
stairs are part of the project that almost tripled the
museums exhibition space by extending the gallery
on the piano nobile and reorganising the auxiliary
facilities of workshops, storage and utility spaces.
Photos by Mario Ciampi

Dear Nicola Di Battista, You asked me for a description of my city,


Florence. I am unable to write a guide to the modern architecture
of Florence, both because modern architecture is an oxymoron,
and because its very scarce. Nor am I able to describe a Florentine
itinerary, for my routes around the heart of this city are too many and
my feelings for Florence too ambivalent.
But I cannot leave your request unanswered, so I singled out one
of many. Its the Viali di Circonvallazione, the boulevards that follow
the outline of the ancient walls that were demolished according to
Giuseppe Poggis plan about 150 years ago. Its a route usually driven
by car, often with exasperation for the difficult traffic conditions.
I compare it with the memory of certain walks I used to take with
my father when the boulevards seemed enormous (no parking lots
back then). They were tree-lined and had paths of gravel that you
could drag your feet through in boredom on Sundays. But I do not
want to give in to nostalgia, nor do I want to add more paintings to
the 120 vedute of ancient Florence by Fabio Borbottoni. I dug out the
black-and-white photographs of the boulevards that Mario Ciampi
gave me in 1987 for the exhibition Le citt immaginate held at the
Triennale di Milano that year. Among my papers I found some notes
on Florence, written over the past 30 years. I gathered everything
together, the photographs and the notes, and Im sending them to you
without claiming to have fulfilled my obligations to you or to Florence.
A geometric plan drawn by Federico Fantozzi represents Florence in
1843, when the city was still contained within the belt of walls built
in 1333. Edoardo Detti noted: The circle that encloses the plan seems
to define the terms of unsurpassable unity and balance. The same
drawing shows a superposition of the plan made in 1865 by Giuseppe
Poggi, where the ring of walls is no longer large enough to contain

1
Galleria degli Uffizi

the city. The vegetable patches inside the walls seem saturated; the
new quarters of Barbano and La Mattonaia have appeared; the wide
road has taken the place of the walls, which are still marked; and the
quarters outside the walls are already traced out. South of the Arno
River, Viale Michelangelo winds its sinuous way into the segmented
configuration of the city. Subsequently, the centre is gutted and given
new life; new suburban neighbourhoods are added, their beastliness
well worse than the kind attributed to the operations on the centre.
The boulevards remain as a strong cove, marking the separation
between the old town and the first periphery. The 19th-century
architecture is largely embodied by the Tuscan style of Poggi, who
would have wanted to turn it into the style of the new nation. It could
have constituted a dignified model for later building, but history took
a different course.
When I came to Florence from my provincial town of Pistoia to
study architecture, I was attracted by Masaccio and Pontormo,
Brunelleschi and Buontalenti, in other words by the clarity of
rationality and the obscurity of folly. During the first years,
I explored the citys every corner with curiosity and passion.
In my first Florentine year, I visited the city conscientiously and
methodically, clutching my red Touring Club guide. I was incited to
this maniacal activity by Professor Marchini, who requested proper
knowledge of Florence for his exam in History of Architecture I.
I could not be more grateful to him. Fragments both small and
huge remain of my discovery of Florence, such as the Chiostro dello
Scalzo, so tiny and with aquarium-like light, but made big by the
monochrome paintings of Andrea del Sarto and the rise of the
cupola between the two spherical caps by Brunelleschi. Its almost
like a route through a large animals body with the final exit being

FEEDBACK 47

domus Sri Lanka

2
Piazza della Libert seen from Viale
Lavagnini

the clerestory, a balance between claustrophobia and agoraphobia.


Then there were certain streets that the painter Ottone Rosai loved,
like Via Toscanella and Via San Leonardo.
The city was a web of dark streets that opened onto the mysterious
cavities of entranceways and courtyards and an infinite theory of
different perspectives, where a leaning wall or a jutting shutter could
open new worlds. But then I became resistant to architecture, and
almost incapable of seeing it, because of my confused regurgitations
of the avant-garde and the poor teaching of modernism in my school.
And so, many years passed before I could see the city again.
In 1403, Leonardo Bruni wrote in Laudatio Florentinae Urbis
(Panegyric to the City of Florence): This city is such that not
a more ornate and splendid thing can be found in the whole
world. If you enjoy the antiquities, you will find many signs and
remains of them. And if you find new things delectable, none
are more magnificent or splendid to see than the new buildings.
In 1988, Vittorio Savi wrote: In 1534, when Michelangelo
disappeared for good, architecture understood that it no longer
had a reason to live in Florence; it soon abandoned the city. Today,
architecture is missing from Florence; maybe it lives elsewhere.
This is a bitter condition, a woeful circumstance.
Any discourse about Florence is a discourse on the beauty of
the historic city, practically testifying to the dramatic absence of
contemporary beauty. There is a neurotic wish for beauty that derives
from our current innate impotence to produce it. We want to convince
others and ourselves of the beauty of Florence to console ourselves for
our incapacity to prepare and put into place other beauty.
Florence is beautiful in its hills and in the way it rests in a valley
carved by a capricious and devastating stream (not exactly the silver

4
Piazza della Libert

3
The English Cemetery

Arno of chansonniers). It was made beautiful by its builders both


celebrated and anonymous between the 13th and 16th centuries, and a
little bit in the 17th, less in the 18th, in only ten years of the 19th with
Poggis Florence as capital initiative, and in three years (from 1930
to 1933) in the 20th century with the solitary trio of masterpieces:
the Santa Maria Novella train station by Giovanni Michelucci,
the stadium by Pierluigi Nervi, and the Scuola di Guerra Aerea by
Raffaello Fagnoni. The amazing inventions of the railway architect
Angiolo Mazzoni were hidden for years, and his archives are in
Rovereto. The refined buildings by Ugo Giovannozzi (the palazzi on
Via Valfonda and Via della Fondiaria) have been ignored.
Then, for over half a century, the architectural history of Florence
becomes the story of lost opportunities, unbuilt plans, competitions
without results, and progressively impoverished or abandoned
projects. Examples are the rebuilding of Via Por Santa Maria (under
the alibi of right where it stood, just the way it was), the Sorgane
quarter sliced in half, the wretched periphery areas (Le Piagge and
Novoli), the competition for the Fortezza da Basso, the one for the
University of Sesto Fiorentino, for the business quarter in Castello
(1970s), for the complex of the Murate (1980s), all the way to the
tripling of the Uffizi.
Anyone crossing the city and its periphery today will ask himself,
Where is this centurys architecture? You can look for it in several
guides called Modern Architecture in Florence. Your search will
be desperate. With effort, we could compile a list: the stadium by
Pierluigi Nervi, the train station by Angiolo Mazzoni and Giovanni
Michelucci, the Scuola di Guerra Aerea by Raffaello Fagnoni (1930s),
the renovated bridge at Santa Trinit by Riccardo Gizdulich, the
Sala dei Primitivi at the Uffizi (by Carlo Scarpa, Ignazio Gardella

5
Porta alla Croce and Piazza Cesare
Beccaria

48 FEEDBACK

domus Sri Lanka

La Fortezza da Basso

Porta San Niccol and the Arno River

and Giovanni Michelucci), the Fondiaria by Ugo Giovannozzi (1950s),


the Sorgane complex (by Leonardo Savioli and Leonardo Ricci), the
church of San Giovanni Battista by Giovanni Michelucci in Campi
Bizenzio (1960s), and the building for Nuova Italia Editrice by Carlo
Scarpa and Edoardo Detti. After that, the examples wear thin: hidden
or interstitial buildings, interiors, shops and restorations. The historic
city seems incapable of being renewed. Architects are entrusted
with hidden tasks in order to duck the suffocating spiders web of
regulations and prohibitions meant to save the city from abnormal
quantities of building speculation, but which stifle all possibilities of
redemption by means of beauty. Architecture has been replaced by
restoration, which is a necessary activity much like maintenance and
housecleaning, but hardly creative. The new city (the expansion of
the periphery) is preyed upon by constructions banality as if it were
not worthy of architecture, as if it were without any hope to regain a
meaning. Yet Florence and its school have produced extraordinarily
talented architects in the past 40 years, and there is no need to only
mention the age-old Michelucci, who by the way was from Pistoia
like me. Flashes of creativity appeared at the end of the 1960s, at the
same time as the 1966 flood, when radical architecture was born in
Florence, Italys most important avant-garde movement in the second
half of the 20th century, according to a catalogue from the Centre
Pompidou. There were groups such as Archizoom, Superstudio, UFO,
Gruppo 9999, Gianni Pettena and others.
In the 1980s other brilliant architects and designers emerged, such
as David Palterer, Guglielmo Renzi, Guicciardini & Magni, Claudio
Nardi, Elio Di Franco, Achille Michelizzi and Ipostudio. In the 1990s,
there was Studio Archea. All these architects contributed little or
nothing to Florence. They were forced to find a spot in related fields

like design, interior decoration or communications. Or they went


to faraway regions. I continue to believe that Florence today needs
architecture even more than architecture needed Florence in the past.
In Florence, very slowly and with much resistance, I learned to
appreciate Leon Battista Alberti and Brunelleschi. I was undecided
between their clarity and the restlessness of Bernardo Buontalenti
and Bartolomeo Ammannati. In the same way, I continue to waver
between my passion for Masaccio and my admiration for Pontormo.
The Cappella dei Pazzi and the loggia of the Spedale degli Innocenti,
the loggia and the palazzo Rucellai, but perhaps more viscerally the
tempietto of Santo Sepolcro in the church of San Pancrazio and the
San Marco library have been following me for years as guiding figures,
in addition to the Palazzo Nonfinito and the Casino Mediceo at San
Marco, by Buontalenti. I used to think that this was the city of art and
architecture, and that it could continue to be that. I insisted doggedly
in deceiving myself all these years.
I loved the city, but I never felt loved by the city. Florence is a closed
and cruel city, always ready to crush you with the comparison to its
great past. It has enormous revenue from its position, but is hostile to
change and greedy for recognition. When youre among its stones, its
makes you feel like an intruder, an unwanted guest, or an accidental
tourist. Its monuments wage a geometric war between one another
and against any new arrival. Florence is overpowered by the shadow
of the cupola. I wanted to be an architect of this city, but I did not
succeed and had to follow opportunities for building in other cities and
other countries. In each place I attempted to learn a language that
would allow me to communicate by means of appropriate architecture.
I learned many things from Florence about measures, proportions and
hierarchy, but also about the need to not show off by using diversity.

ELZEVIRO 49

domus Sri Lanka

The soul of a house


In each house where I lived,
I believe that I was looking for
something of the casa di ringhiera
where I was born. The tenement
was built against the embankment
of a highway, and my brother and
I would spend hours perched on the
slope waiting for trucks to pass by...
Alberto Sironi

ELZEVIRO

Alberto Sironi trained


at the Scuola del Piccolo
Teatro in Milan, where he
was assistant director and
actor under the guidance
of Giorgio Strehler and
Paolo Grassi. He has been
working with the Italian
RAI since the 1970s.
Since 1998, he has been

directing episodes of the


television series Inspector
Montalbano, based on
Andrea Camilleris novels.
He has also directed Il
grande Fausto; Virginia,
La monaca di Monza;
Pinocchio and other films
for television.

50 ELZEVIRO

domus Sri Lanka

have never been a great traveller. But changing houses


is something Ive done a lot of.
Some houses leave not a trace. Theyre like parking
lots, or highway service areas. Others, although the
years keep passing, Ive never forgotten. Like the one
on Via Terraggio, near the SantAmbrogio church,
where I lived when I left the Milan Polytechnic for the Piccolo Teatro.
It was a garret, a room with a sink, with the toilet outside. My uncle
Olino gave me a hand with the move. He was a kind of obelisk (or
maybe Obelix) who, throughout the years, accompanied me on many
other moves. We brought a bed in enamelled iron, a wardrobe, a
chair and a chandelier. My view of the rooftops from the attic seemed
straight out of La Bohme, Im watching thick grey smoke from a
thousand Parisian chimneys, rise up into the skies.
The room was cold, so I didnt really stay in it that much.
After school, Id run to the theatre to watch Giorgio Strehler rehearse.
One day, the Maestro noticed me, and my life as an assistant director
began. It was the house where my first girlfriend used to visit me now
and then, but that didnt last long. The theatre took me away from her,
from my town, from the long slumber of youth. That was my house
of emancipation.
When I finished school and signed my first contract, I found another
place on Via Santa Marta, the street I walked down every day on
my way to the theatre. One morning, I entered number 21 and the
caretaker led me into a courtyard garden, marked off by wide
granite stones. It looked like a secret garden. She introduced me to the
tenant, who was going to leave in a few days. The ceilings were high,
the parquet floor was coming undone, the windows were large, the
bathroom had no light, and there was a spacious kitchen. As the two
women chatted, I had already made up my mind. Id take it.
Paolo Grassi, the director of the Piccolo Teatro, was my guarantor
for the rent on behalf of the Bozzi heirs who owned it. The news soon
spread that this young assistant had found a big house, and so I was
forced to throw a party. We were staging Shakespeare at the time,
so that evening my place was crashed by kings, queens, dukes and
courtesans. The theatre is an enclave, a closed world. There was so
much talk about the party that Paolo Grassi the divine Paolo Grassi,
the unquestioned leader said to me as we ran into each other on
stage, Say Sironi, I am your guarantor with the Bozzi heirs. I wouldnt
want to change my mind. Forget about partying and concentrate on
your job.
One morning some time later, the former tenant showed up at my
door. She wanted to see her house again, admire the courtyard garden
from the window and hear the silence. So I left the woman in my
house and took off for the theatre. When I returned that night, I found
a bouquet of flowers. The place on Via Santa Marta was my house of
freedom, where I met the woman I ended up marrying, and where
I understood what I wanted to do with my life. Someone told me that
Boggia, a famous 19th-century serial killer, had lived here. They said
that the killer led his victims in through a secret door from the garden,
and that the proof of his crimes was found in the cellar of where I lived.
But despite this legend, I kept loving that house, admiring the garden
as if I were looking at a screen, and from there I watched the spring,
autumn and winter. I kept sleeping in that room, and I kept dreaming.
I wanted to make films. Thats why I came to Rome. The first house
I found was on Via Margutta. It was Dante Gabriele Rossettis studio.
Engineer Rossetti, the great pre-Raphaelite painters heir, rented it
to me. It had direct access from the street. A dark staircase led to the
first floor, a room with a huge window. Another flight of steps led to the
attic the bedroom. For furniture I brought from up north two ceramic

soul
case

anima

wood-stoves, a couch and a bed. The two large rooms were practically
bare, and the light I can still picture it in my mind was simply
spectacular. Unfortunately, after a few years, the engineers daughter
wanted to move to Rome and live in the studio. So I moved out.
We found our next house on Piazza Adriana, in front of Castel
SantAngelo. It was a spacious place on the top floor. It was summer
when we moved in, and on the first night, Placido Domingos voice
wafted in through our windows, E lucean le stelle. They were shooting
Tosca on the castles battlements. Our Piazza Adriana house had a
lucky star. I hadnt succeeded in making movies, but I moved on from
reportage to television series. I worked very hard, and my life had
changed once more.
We then moved to Via di Villa Ruffo, the little street that goes up
from Piazzale Flaminio to Villa Borghese. It was a flat on the top floor
of a small palazzo built in the early 1900s, between Villa Ruffo and the
Biblioteca Nazionale dellAgricoltura. This was the house where my
three children grew up, the house of maturity and beauty. On rainy
days, Id go down Via di Villa Ruffo to the empty Piazza del Popolo and
delight in Valadiers miracle of symmetry. Or Id head to Santa Maria
del Popolo and contemplate for the umpteenth time the Conversion of
Saint Paul and the Crucifixion of Saint Peter by Caravaggio. This was
one of Romes gifts, and somehow the day would suddenly be different.
Now I live in Testaccio, in an attic again. Theres silence and a lot of
light. I moved here recently, and Im not sure what this house will
mean to me, but I feel its soul speaking to me.
All houses have a soul. When I reminisce about the ones I lived
in, I believe that in each of them I tried to find something of the
casa di ringhiera (editors note: working-class tenement with shared
balconies) where I was born. It was my grandparents house, with the
kitchen on the ground floor overlooking a courtyard and the bedroom
on the first floor, off the balcony. In the winter, wed live in the kitchen,
near the stove. And in the summer, wed stay right outside the door,
under the pergola. The tenement was built against the embankment
of a highway, and my brother and I would spend hours perched on
the slope waiting for some trucks to pass by. Our grandmothers voice
would ring out regularly in the courtyard, Albertooo! Sandrooo!
Her voice kept us close. All around were the plains, dotted with
vegetable gardens, textile mills, and the last farmhouses.
I still look for that landscape, that silence, that peacefulness.
They are inside of me, and no one can take them from me. At times,
I think that in each of the houses Ive lived in, Ive done nothing
but seek out the light and colours of my childhood, and the sounds
that enchanted me.
And Ill always look for them.

soul
case hous

oul

anima

anima

PROJECTS 51

domus Sri Lanka

CONTRIBUTORS

Tadao Ando

Paola Besana

Russell Dandeniya

Valerio Olgiati

Born in 1941 in Osaka,


Tadao Ando is one of the
most renowned contemporary
Japanese architects. He
has designed many notable
buildings, including Row House
in Sumiyoshi, Osaka (1976),
the Church of the Light, Osaka
(1989), the Pulitzer Foundation
for the Arts, St. Louis (2001),
the Modern Art Museum of
Fort Worth (2002), the 21_21
Design Sight in Tokyo (2007)
and Punta della Dogana, Venice
(2009). The many awards he
has received include the Gold
Medal of Architecture (1989),
the Pritzker Architecture
Prize (1995), Gold Medal
of the American Institute of
Architects (2002), and Gold
Medal of Union Internationale
des Architectes (2005). He
has been a visiting professor
at Yale, Columbia, Berkeley,
and Harvard. He received the
Japanese Order of Culture in
2010.

Paola Besana began weaving


in 1958 at age 23, after a
journey to Sweden and Finland.
Inspired by that memorable
journey, she later began to
study weaving ever more
seriously, while trying to learn
its techniques and history. Of
fundamental importance were
her studies in New York with
Lily Blumenau in 1961 and at
other arts and crafts schools in
the US. In the 1970s, she met
and studied with Anne Sutton in
the UK, a very important figure
in the weaving world, and the
author of one of the foremost
books in this field, The Structure
of Weaving, published in the
early 80s. On her return to
Italy, Besana opened a studio
in Milan, which immediately
became a workshop, research,
production and teaching centre.

Born in 1972 in Matara,


Sri Lanka, Russell Dandeniya
studied at the Department of
Architecture in the University of
Moratuwa, where he completed
a BSc in Built Environment in
1997 and a MSc in Architecture
in 2001. He underwent his
professional training at two
of the leading architectural
practices in Sri Lanka namely
RW and Architrave - before
becoming a Chartered Architect
in 2004 and subsequently
setting up his own architectural
practice: a small, experimental
and studio-basedoffice,
mostly consisting of university
graduates, undergraduates and
a unique core of competent
chartered architects. Believing
in a mode of practice that
cleverly fuses the clients
requirements with the
architects inner belief, Russell
searches for an architecture
that is minimal in resource use,
sustainable in environmental
response, and conscientious in
dealing with the local climate,
people and place. Among the
awards he has won for his
work are the best personalized
house and the young architect
of the year, both of which were
awarded by the Sri Lanka
Institute of the Architects (SLIA)
in 2008 and 2009 respectively.
In 2014, Russell became a
fellow member of the SLIA.

Born in Coira, Switzerland,


in 1958, Valerio Olgiati studied
architecture at the ETH Zurich.
In 1996 he opened his own
practice in Zurich, and then in
2008 together with his wife
Tamara in Flims. His most
important buildings include
the schoolhouse in Paspels,
the museum The Yellow
House in Flims, the residential
complex Schleife in Zug
and the PermMuseumXXI in
Perm, Russia. Major projects
in planning are the winery
for Carnasciale in Italy, the
high-rise building San Felipe
in Lima, a house for a priest in
Bavaria and a building for the
headquarters of the Baloise
insurance company in Basel.
He led the Kenzo Tange
Chair at Harvard University,
Cambridge in 2009. Since
2002 he has been a full
professor at the Accademia di
Architettura Mendrisio at the
Universit della Svizzera italiana.

Photo Andrea Martiradonna

www.tadao-ando.com

www.rdcarchitects.net

page 18

page 01

page 10

www.olgiati.net

Photo Stephan Rappo

www.paolabesana.it

page 30

iPad Air 2
(WiFi + Cellular)

16GB Rs 93,500
64GB Rs 105,400
128GB Rs 119,400

iPad mini 3
(WiFi + Cellular)

16GB Rs 80,000
64GB Rs 94,700
128GB Rs 109,300
Instalment schemes available

Instalment schemes available

FOR ALL NETWORKS

FOR ALL NETWORKS

21.5-inch | 1.4/2.7/2.9 GHz | 8 GB


500GB / 1TB or 1 TB Fuison or 256GB/512 GB
Flash Storage Intel HD Graphics 5000
NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M
Price Starting from Rs 150,300
27-inch | 3.2/3.4 GHz | 8GB
1TB /1 TB or 3TB Fuison or 256GB/512GB/1TB
Flash Storage AMD Radeon R9 M290X
Price Starting from Rs 253,500
27-inch Retina 5K | 3.5 GHz | 8GB
1TB /1 TB or 3TB Fuison or 256GB/512GB/1TB
Flash Storage
Price Starting from Rs 339,300

11.6-inch / 13.3-inch
1.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i5
4GB of 1600MHz Memory | 128GB / 256
GB PCIe-based flash storage
Intel HD Graphics 5000
Price Starting from Rs 120,700

13.3-inch
2.6/2.8 GHz dual-core
8GB of 1600MHz
128GB/256GB/512GB PCIe-based flash storage
Intel Iris Graphics
Price Starting from Rs 174,800

Retina display

15.4-inch
2.2GHz/2.5GHz quad-core Intel Core i7
16GB of 1600MHz
256GB / 512GB PCIe-based flash storage
Intel Iris Pro Graphics / NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M
Price Starting from Rs 267,400

iPod Shuffle - 2 GB - Rs 7,100


iPod Nano - 16GB - Rs 19,800
iPod Touch
16GB Rs 27,800 | 32GB Rs 33,200 | 64GB Rs 40,300

Apple single-core A5 chip


HDMI2, Optical audio, 10/100BASE-T
Ethernet, Built-in IR receiver, Micro-USB
Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n), Bluetooth
H.264, .m4v, .mp4 and .mov, MPEG-4,
Motion JPEG (M-JPEG) .avi HE-AAC (V1),
AAC, MP3, MP3 VBR, Audible, AIFF,
and WAV; Dolby, Digital 5.1
Compatible with HD TVs with HDMI and
capable of 1080p or 720p at 60/50Hz
Rs 13,300

AUTHORIZED DISTRIBUTOR