Casa Vi is a romantic cabin retreat found in Sondrio, Italy. It covers an area of 75 square meters and was designed by EV + A Lab Atelier d’architettura in 2015. The cabin wasn’t built from scratch. The project involved the transformation of a derelict structure made of bricks and stone into a modern residence.
The project demanded a careful analysis of the context and an assessment of the possibilities in terms of exposure. This is linked to one of the client’s requests who wanted the living room to offer abundant natural light.
The cabin is situated at an approximate altitude of 1000 meters and mountain homes usually pose problems when it comes to sunlight exposure and natural light. The team of architects and designers had to study the sunlight and also the usual technologies and methods of mountain architecture before coming up with a concept.
The poor lighting problem was dealt with in a simple and clever way. The northern wall of the cabin was raised and four openings of equal size were inserted, their role being to capture the natural light and to let it enter the social spaces.
This solution also allowed the team to create a double height volume containing the kitchenette and the dining area. This space is illuminated from above through a series of skylights.
The cabin is organized on two levels. The ground floor contains the entrance, the living room, the kitchen and the bathroom while the upper level houses two bedrooms and a loft space used as a study. All the spaces are well-defined, open and bright.
When remodeling the structure, the architects decided to adopt a modern reinterpretation of old construction techniques and materials. This approach allowed them to incorporate elements from the original ruin into the new cabin. In addition, this also introduced an interesting contrast of styles. The cabin can be placed somewhere between rural and urban, between rustic and modern.
The exterior is built of reinforced concrete and concrete bricks coated in local stone. It borrows a few characteristics from traditional mountain homes. Their architecture is usually sustainable. The materials used come from nature and are locally-sourced. In addition, a lot of materials found on site and used in their construction.
The interior, on the other hand, has an urban look and is simple and modern. Wood beams and crisp white walls provide a minimalist and chic background for all the other beautiful elements. The floor is also covered in wood and this adds a warm touch to the décor.
The emphasis on natural lighting gives the spaces a modern, fresh and airy feel and, at the same time, increases the cabin’s energy efficiency. The artificial lighting used throughout is simple and blends vintage and modern details.
A lot of features included in the interior design were custom made. They include the bathroom furniture and accessories which had to be made to fit the design and restricted palette of materials. The dining table is a beautiful combination of wood and white-painted iron and is complemented by a series of stools representing solid blocks of natural wood.
The bedroom is a very beautiful space, featuring a large picture window with views of the Alps. The window also lets in abundant natural light, just as the client requested.