n a panoramic location on a gentle hill in the Monferrato region – an area known for its truffles, great wines and ancient (and delicious) Piedmontese culinary traditions - an old orangery was transformed into a fantastic mini-residence. Immersed in natural beauty, this tiny construction is entirely made out of glass, transparent as regards to the bewitching surrounding landscape.
Lemon trees, as well as other frost-sensitive potted plants, were traditionally stored during winter in the old shed that once stood in its place. In current years, as the Monferrato region has increasingly become a popular tourist destination (it’s been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2014), the old shed was converted into an exclusive residence as part of the Dream&Charme circuit, known for its unconventional hospitality options.
The best of everything went into its construction, from the architects to the designers involved, from the brands to the technology connected to the home. The entire project was overseen by Piero Lissoni in collaboration with the architect Carlo Alberto Maria Caire, who was responsible for the design as well as the construction process. The pre-existing structure was replaced by a prefabricated, disassemblable and recyclable unit (that has no negative impact on the environment, during its construction phase too) that preserves the original shape of the building with its distinctive gentle pitched roof, typical of local architecture. This type of roof is perfect for solar panels and this, combined with a simplified home-automation system, contributes to the eco-sustainability of the entire project.
Merely subdivided by a thin glass wall, interiors and exteriors practically blend together. The aesthetic rigour and the formal purity of the overall glass and steel structure define the elegant and simple décor of the interiors. A central block houses the utilities (bathroom, hammam, sauna and fireplace) and separates the main living area from the bedroom that at the other side of the building, opens onto a terrace with a view over the hills.
Inspired by the legendary glass houses by the great architects (Farnsworth House by Mies van der Rohe, Glass House by Philipp Johnson...), Piero Lissoni and Carlo Alberto Maria Caire’s project helps you to experience a symbiotic relationship with nature all year round. A blend of technology and design, this tiny gem is currently surrounded by nature at its most magnificent stage, the land is green and tinted by gems that blossom everywhere. Although, we imagine that it’s equally wonderful when in autumn, during the truffle season, the leaves turn from yellow to red, or when in winter, it suddenly begins to snow and in the evening the fireplace is lit up. The time of year has no bearing, staying in the Glass House is, at any rate, an unforgettable experience.
Renovation of an orangery in the countryside
Location: Monferrato, Piedmont, Italy
Project coordination and interior design:
Lissoni Associati, Milano, Italy
Architectural structure and supervision of construction:
Studio di architettura Caire
Rosignano (AL), Italy
by Giorgio Caire of Lauzet
Courtesy Boffi, credits David Zanardi