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.
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 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.
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 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.
Renovation of a rural dwelling
Location: Matera, Italy
Material sourcing and interior finishes:
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Quartarella - Finiture d’Interni
Via Matera Km 2,980 - Altamura (BA), Italy
Tel: 00 39 080 31 65 211
Architecture project and interior design:
Maria Rosaria Mongelli | Antonio Giulio Loforese
Courtesy Quartarella Finiture d’Interni
Credits Lomo Architecture