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T

he house studio Lomo renovated into its owns offices, brings us to an astonishing place, a town dug deep onto the rocks, rich in history and out of its time: we are in the heart of the Sassi di Matera, in Basilicata, southern Italy. Reduced to ruin, the building in question is a traditional single-story dwelling constructed on primitive caves, which were cleared out in 1952 under great media scrutiny due to their poor sanitation standards. In time they were gradually refurbished, nowadays they are adorable homes, studios and properties of great charme. The professional refurbishment project by Antonio Giulio Loforese and Maria Rosaria Mongelli has preserved the building’s original simple character, while sympathetically including modern improvements. By bringing the modern and the antique together, this home was given a new lease on life with beauty never seen before.

 

Two large windows fill the living room, which opens onto a view of the Murge, with natural light.

Two large windows fill the living room, which opens onto a view of the Murge, with natural light.

Matera was the first Italian “World Heritage Site”.

Perched on top of carved out caves, Matera was the first Italian “World Heritage Site”.

 

A breathtaking view extends in front of the studio: the Murge upland. Throughout the years, this site has enchanted great filmmakers, from Pier Paolo Pasolini to Mel Gibson who filmed here the exterior scenes of The Passion of the Christ. You can reach the little house only on foot by going up several flights of steps. The house is formed by two separate units, each one has its own barrel vault. The exterior looks like a single dwelling with a double-pitched roof.

 

The front entrance at the end of the refurbishment project. Sassi di Matera

The front entrance at the end of the refurbishment project. The French door of the living room is in the background.

The terrace at the start of the refurbishment project

The terrace at the start of the refurbishment project (left-hand side image). The reverse shot to the right shows the tight cluster of buildings part of the Sassi.

the view towards the entrance terrace of what is now the living room.

Left-hand side, before the refurbishment project, the view towards the entrance terrace of what is now the living room. A fireplace that uses the original chimney flue was built in the right-hand corner.

  

The space with a tiny balcony is used as the living room. The mezzanine floor is reached via a slender iron staircase that separates the space and creates a more secluded corner for the large conference table. Simple furniture. With just a hint of colour and clean silhouettes, a few minimal and practical pieces of furniture have been carefully integrated in the ancient tuff stone. The concrete-effect flooring stresses the industrial and contemporary style of the interior.

 

Under the mezzanine floor, a large table perfect for any occasion, the living room is on the other side. Simple and neutral flooring, Concrete Jungle by Blustyle, concrete-effect porcelain stoneware tiles.Interior finishes by Quartarella, Altamura.

The slender spiral staircase is in white lacquered folded iron, a bespoke design.. studio Lomo, Matera

The slender spiral staircase is in white lacquered folded iron, a bespoke design. The mezzanine floor is constructed where the ancient tuff barrel vault starts. All existing stone was repointed to make the structure safe..

A tiny window at the back of the house brings light to the mezzanine floor.

A tiny window at the back of the house brings light to the mezzanine floor. Because of the measures taken to protect the landscape of the Sassi region, original openings for doors and windows couldn’t be altered. 

 

The entrance is in the second unit. Here, we have cupboards and the utility services, bathroom and kitchen. In the space lit-up by the entrance door and the back kitchen window, there’s enough room for a small table for a quick bight to eat. Underneath the vault on the mezzanine floor, the architects created a small space where you can withdraw to think. It’s reached via a second slender spiral staircase, jammed between bathroom and cupboards. 

 

The harmonious dialogue between antique and modern: a period table and the Ghost chair in clear plastic.

Utility services, kitchen and studio are located in the entrance unit

Utility services, kitchen and studio are located in the entrance unit. The project makes the most of the light that comes from the small number of windows.

Tiles Azulej by Mutina, taps by Treemme

Small but beautiful and functional. The washbasin with top in Carrara marble is a bespoke design. Treemme taps.

 

The Sassi di Matera is a unique location that needs to be appreciated and valued. Studio Lomo was able to preserve the building’s original character, as well as including its own simple and distinctly modern style. Antonio and Maria are from Matera, they treasure the area’s simple and dry soul. Without being unnecessarily sentimental, they’ve been able to carry the area’s ancient character into the twenty first century, creating a harmonious enchanting dialogue between past and present.

 

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Design project

Renovation of a rural dwelling

Location:
Matera, Italy

Material sourcing and interior finishes:
>> Store Channel
Quartarella  - Finiture d’Interni
Via Matera Km 2,980 - Altamura (BA), Italy
Tel: 00 39 080 31 65 211
Email: info@quartarella.it
www.quartarella.it

Architecture project and interior design:  
Lomo Architecture
Maria Rosaria Mongelli | Antonio Giulio Loforese
Matera, Italy
www.lomoarchitecture.com

Photos:

Courtesy Quartarella Finiture d’Interni
Credits Lomo Architecture

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