inally, there was going to be a bigger home with lots of rooms to accommodate the entire extended family, until when by pure chance the owners found themselves looking out the windows of this apartment. A spectacular view: the Coliseum is so close you could almost touch it, a little further on the Palatine with the residences and the gardens of the roman emperors, on the other side the Oppian Hill with the Baths of Trajan. A succession of some of the oldest wonders of the world, this splendour left them speechless.
The living room was transformed into an open-plan space, on the back wall there are two sliding doors that lead, on the left, to the kids’ bedroom and on the right, to the study with a sofa-bed for the guests. In the foreground, the dining table with a view over the Coliseum and the Palatine. Lamp: 2097 chandelier, designed by Gino Sarfatti for Flos in 1958.
For weeks now, accompanied by their architect Cristiana Fiani, the couple had been visiting apartments in the imperial area in Rome where they felt at home. A stop for coffee and Cristiana sees a small sign "For sale" on a door. "Imagine, here?! Forget it, my clients told me. I, on the other hand, called, as it never hurts to try, right? And so, a few days later, the three found themselves looking, incredulously, at the magnificent Coliseum from the windows.
The simple, crisp interiors clear the scene for the grand Coliseum. Made of a natural stone mix, the neutral-effect grey floor is monolithic, and this creates visual continuity between the different spaces. The designer furniture is from the late fifties: the Tulip chairs and the table with a top in Calcatta marble are by Saarinen for Knoll.
The view has the leading role and the house is the spectator. Perhaps this is the most effective way to explain Cristiana Fiani’s interior design concept, an architect who specialises in restoring monuments: "I decided to soften the tones, there is no need to revive the interior as we are in front of such a majestic scene, the real show is outside”. So, composure, simplicity and classic rigour were the keywords on which the architect and the owners instantly agreed upon. Choosing the right type of floor was key for the apartment’s refined, minimalist mood. In one groutless pour, the natural stone micro-grit in a neutral colour and a soft, silky texture guarantees visual continuity between the different rooms (Pietra di Venezia).
The part of the living room set aside to welcome the many relatives, friends and colleagues. An old steamer trunk found in granny’s attic sits in between two large sofas by Antonio Citterio for B&B. The lithographs are by Shepard Fairey, the American street artist who became famous thanks to the Hope poster that represented Barack Obama's election campaign.
The apartment was somewhat "immaculate", since its construction in the aftermath of the Second World War nothing had been upgraded to suit the new building standards. In addition, it was only 20 square meters bigger than their current home, barely fitting in an extra room. But as you well know, you can’t contend with love at first sight.
The renovation overseen by Cristiana was radical, floors, systems, radiators, doors and windows, false ceilings with the obligatory requirement of finding space to sleep four people in two bedrooms as well as two additional beds.
The bathroom renovation was solved thanks to a partition wall that houses the new technical system. Clad in 60x60 grey porcelain stoneware tiles, it additionally houses alcoves for soaps and perfume bottles. The floors and tiles are supplied by Ceramiche Appia Nuova, Roma.
This interior design has a classic, timeless modernity that focuses on restraint as well as functional elegance, made to measure with the same precision of a tailor. Cristiana Fiani's meticulous design has solved the many problems of adapting spaces to the quality standards of contemporary living. But above all, it has created an atmosphere that, in its refined simplicity, confers great dignity to the tiny neighbour of the most famous monument in the world.
Renovation of a city apartment
Location: Rome, Italy
Arch. Cristiana Fiani
Via Pindemonte, 22 F, Rome, Italy
Flooring and finishes supplied by:
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Ceramiche Appia Nuova
Via Appia Nuova, 1270 – Rome, Italy
Tel: 0039 06 7163 2616
Courtesy Ceramiche Appia Nuova and arch. Cristiana Fiani