Self-isolation – Italy

Designed for a local couple, Urban Cabin replaces the porch of a house in Albino, a small town in the Italian province of Bergamo. Architect Francesca Perani completed the renovation with the help of interior designer Ilenia Perlotti, turning the former storage space into a separate, self-contained residence that can be used for a number of purposes. The clients can use it as a workspace, invite guests to stay or, one day, let their grown-up children move in. Recently, because of the corona virus crisis, one of the pair has been using it as a self-isolation space.
To suit all these purposes, the designers planned the micro-apartment to be as flexible as possible, with plenty of storage. But they also designed it to have a sense of fun, filled with graphical shapes and vibrant colours. Perani worked on the renovation of the main house back in 2008. Externally, this new addition is designed in the same spirit, with a red earth-coloured facade and details that reference the clients’ Persian heritage.
Folded sheets of perforated metal create a series of arches in front of the home, acting a sun shade. This made it possible for Perani to design large windows, even though the home faces directly south. Inside, the layout is kept open to make it feel spacious. Apart from the bathroom, all activities take place in a single room.
The open-plan living space includes a distinct kitchen, along with various multifunctional furniture pieces. Storage areas are slotted in and around these elements, to make the most of space. The limited dimensions and extreme narrowness of the existing building suggested a full custom-designed interior, where flexibility and multi-usage became key factors.
Details are picked out in royal blue, the same colour used in the bathroom, while the kitchen worktop features a monochrome print designed to resemble marble. Despite the home’s small size, the bathroom is designed to feel generous. A window fronts the shower, so that residents can look out over the garden but without fear of losing their privacy.

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