Moving beyond the classic definition of an architectural design studio, a unique hybrid space in the center of Rome serves a dual purpose with one modern design: A co-working space and a 130-square meter apartment. The BrainFactory may have been conceived as a workshop of ideas and creativity, but the designers have made it so much more. High quality craftsmanship, impeccably designed furnishings from major brands, and an open, functional flow pattern make this the ultimate home and workspace rolled into one amazing light-filled space.
Right from the very entrance, the unique design of the space becomes apparent as the entryway is lined with birch trees strung with lengths of mini-lights that float among the branches. The trees run along a wall of frosted glass that run floor to ceiling, concealing the kitchen while allowing light to filter through in both directions.
Just beyond the tree-lined entryway is the conference area that can also serve as a dining room. The space is versatile enough to serve both purposes, anchored by a spectacular live edge table. The divider wall houses a television set that is available from both sides.
This multi-purpose space that is good for meeting with clients or for entertaining in the off-hours, has a number of special furnishings that add to its stylish design. First, the table is surrounded by the iconic Eames DAW plastic armchair, which is an updated version of the designer’s legendary Fiberglass Chair. It was the very first industrially produced plastic chair and was designed the Eameses in collaboration with Zenith Plastics for a Low-Cost Furniture Design competition.The base features four wooden legs in a wonderful mid-century modern style.
The flush mounted windows at the end of the room are NovaLine aluminum windows from Finstral that have the insulating qualities of the PVC profiles in the core of the window, combined with the low-maintenance appeal of high-quality aluminum. These windows are not only attractive but reduce energy consumption thanks to the superior isolation.
Above the table hang striking Sisma pendant lights by Karman from the Overview Collection. Designed by Matteo Ugolini they are inspired by the ribbed rebar used in construction that is at the foundation of each building, adding strength. The silhouette is basically an outline of bars reminiscent of ribbed rebar. The cool thing is that the electrical cables can be twirled around the structure, allowing for any number of light sources to be added.
Also at the far end of the room is what many consider a necessary evil: A radiator. In this case, however the radiator is an attractive, decorative model called Sirocco, from Mistral. The radiator’s dark, low profile silhouette matches with the window from the same company, creating an unobtrusive fixture. At the far end of the room, poplar panels are bisected by slices of LED lights that help draw the focus to the outer circumference of the room and highlight the openness of the space. A central stone totem serves as a divider, separating the living room from the work/dining area. The narrow metal shelves on the wall are thin and backlit, adding ambient lighting and a way to highlight the items displayed. The space also features invisible doors and custom woodworking that exude quality and enhance the. design.
The living area has a lot of great features including the small inset shelving on the side wall. The central divide features another television from this side, along with a built-in cabinets for hiding electronic components and other necessities. Track lighting runs along the ceiling but a Sisma floor lamp, which matches the pendants over the conference table, also provides direct lighting. In the center of the room two slouchy Soft poufs from TWILS can serve as ottomans or extra, moveable seating.
The Tobias sofa is a two-seater from the Estel Group. It is part of a modular system of deep, soft seats, that are built with beech and poplar wood and frames. Upholstered in fabric here, it can also be done in leather, and is filled with polyurethane foam and top quality feathers. It’s wide, neutral and comfortable — good for a casual meeting or a Saturday afternoon snooze.
With both areas visually and physically accessible to one another, it expands the possibilities for collaborating, entertaining and just living.
The beautiful kitchen is a separate space, set off from the main area by the wall of cupboards as well as the frosted glass partition by the entryway. The look is modern and the feel very sleek thanks to the cabinetry, which is devoid of exterior hardware. Modern appliances all have a minimal profile and are situation for maximum functionality. The poplar ceiling and side wall, which is visible through the glass, are the organic element in the kitchen space. The same long LED lights live through the ceiling, adding drama and illumination. The Stella kitchen hood, which is set flush into the ceiling, is from Falmec, has a built-in light and works using a remote control.
From the large glass doors at the end, the sleek design flows through to the main living area. The LED lights in the ceiling seem to direct flow from one end of the kitchen to the rest of the space.
The kitchen also features a bar along the counter for sitting and dining, which is lined with award winning stools designed by Philippe Starck and Eugeni Quitllet. Produced by Kartell, the Masters Stool is a global best-seller thanks to its comfort and design. The polypropylene stool design is actually a representation of three iconic chair silhouettes that are woven together. Although it is available on a full range of vivid colors, the white is used in this monochrome design.
Every home needs a laundry area and this one is particularly nice, thanks to all the windows in this corner alcove. Instead of being sequestered away in an interior, windowless space, this laundry room is a dream for folding and washing. It’s possible to enjoy the view while taking care of a necessary task.
Unexpectedly, the bedroom features a bathtub at the window — and why not when the view looks out over Rome! Nestled in a window alcove that is flanked by two plant-covered walls, the tub’s placement is a contemporary reinterpretation of an ancient concept of utilizing space. It also makes us of poplar flooring and a ceiling to increase the natural feel of the space. A similar wall site at the head of the bed.
And, while the tub may be the focal point, the bed is still the obvious centerpiece of the room. The Caresse bed from the Estel Group features a casual upholstered headboard and base, which includes hidden storage that has easy access. Alongside the bed, two floating nightstands help maintain the uncluttered look. On the ceiling, the distinctive Notredame fixture illuminates the room with its carved marble design. The Karman light fixture was designed by Dario De Meo and Luca De Bona and is also available as a swinging ceiling and wall lamp.
The tub setting also features the minimalist Zirma standing bathtub mixer from Signorini. The unobtrusive style fits well in the space and does not detract from the tub or the relaxed setting.
The uncluttered working and living space still sports plenty of storage in an oversize walk-in closet that takes advantage of every inch, floor to ceiling. Central track lighting provides illumination and a well designed layout has room for clothing, accessories and much more. At one end, a solid door closes off the space, while at the other end, a frosted glass door allows in a good deal of natural light.
The bathroom follows the same design aesthetics and uses the I Classici di Rex Full-body porcelain stoneware wall and floor tiles used elsewhere in the space. The tiles have a feisty creative energy that adds character to the surroundings and features an organic design that suggests luxury. It is versatile and neutral, working well for both private and public parts of the space.
The floating vanity is modern and keeps the floor clear of obstructions, making the narrow space feel roomier. The wide, integrated sink is paired with Signorini’s Zirma wall-mounted washbasin tap. Moving the tap from the sink to the wall leaves more space on the vanity for necessities and gives a cleaner design. The shower is backed with frosted glass, allowing the shape of the trees in the entryway to enhance the bathroom as well.
A single banana tree plant in a narrow strip of turf adds a touch of the tropical to the monochrome bathroom. A towel rack style that runs perpendicular to the wall next to the sink give plenty of room to hang towels without cluttering up the space.
Luxurious materials like natural poplar and calacatta stoneware throughout the apartment, punctuated by touches of greenery, forge a space that well suited to the dual functions it serves.