Modern Design and Trees Define Roman Apartment Used for Studio, Living Space

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.

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Natural wood and dramatic pops of greenery make the space inviting.

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.

Birch tree and faux turf create a dramatic entryway.View in gallery
Birch tree and faux turf create a dramatic entryway.

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.

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This are functions as a conference room for work and dining area for entertaining.

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.

Natural wood and modern surface are paired with modern icons like the chairs.View in gallery
Natural wood and modern surface are paired with modern icons like the chairs.

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.

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The shelving is narrow and thin, but still offers plenty of display space.
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Flush mount windows fit with the modern decor.

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.

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The divider wall is a functional element in the space.

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.

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The furniture is overstuffed and comfortable for clients as well as family.

With both areas visually and physically accessible to one another, it expands the possibilities for collaborating, entertaining and just living.

Portable speakers also have extra outlets on the back for other equipment.View in gallery
Portable speakers also have extra outlets on the back for other equipment.
Neutral hues help the space seem roomier.View in gallery
Neutral hues help the space seem roomier.

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.

The sleek kitchen is modern and monochrome.View in gallery
The sleek kitchen is modern and monochrome.

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 LED tubes that slice across the ceiling are an unexpected addition.View in gallery
The LED tubes that slice across the ceiling are an unexpected addition.

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.

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An all-white kitchen can be stark but the wooden planked ceiling adds warmth.

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.

This lovely laundry room makes the task a delight.View in gallery
This lovely laundry room makes the task a delight.

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.

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Touches of natural wood add to the relaxing nature of the room.
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The bathtub alcove is very different and makes the most of the stunning view out the window.

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.

A padded headboard and bed frame add softness to the bedroom.View in gallery
A padded headboard and bed frame add softness to the bedroom.

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 closet is spacious and well organized.View in gallery
The closet is spacious and well organized.

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 banana tree is a whimsical addition to the bathroom.View in gallery
The banana tree is a whimsical addition to the bathroom.

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.

The entryway trees make the shower like a jungle.View in gallery
The entryway trees make the shower like a jungle.

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.

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The bathroom is long and thin.
The floating vanity contributes to the roominess of the bathroom.View in gallery
The floating vanity contributes to the roominess of the bathroom.

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.