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The Combination of Local Traditions & Global Visions is the System of Thoughts that will Animate the Design Process in the Coming Years
Tell us about your practice and design approach?
Designing means looking ahead. For me, giving life to new works means offering the world the tools to make life better and taking on the responsibilities that each work includes, even after the end of the standard life cycle. Giving life to buildings, residences, furniture, and objects means creating ways of communicating with the world, unique, synesthetic works that put man at the centre of the scene, involving all his senses.
What inspired you to become an architect?
Passion has guided me in every step of my career and is still what lights up my enthusiasm, and animates my desire to do, discover, travel and design. I graduated from the Faculty of Architecture in Florence, a university rich in history, culture, and beauty, in one of the most fascinating cities in the world. During my journey, I met great masters who helped shape my thinking and had important mentors such as Giovanni Klaus Koenig, Giovanni Michelucci, and Bruno Zevi. Thanks to their ideas, which contaminated me, I started an anti-canonical architectural path that continues to this day.
Could you please tell us about the latest façade and cladding technologies and materials available in the UAE market and those you used in your design project?
I designed LYFE CARE – HOMES & CLINICS to give people of all ages, at different moments in their lives, a place, suspended outside traditional spacetime, where they can feel good, comfortable, and happy. It is a luxury nursing home, consisting of 50 lodges of 100 square meters each. Each one contains four rooms for long stays, the medical area, a small gym, the kitchen area, the dining area, and the living area with a garden inside. The modules are connected by a perimeter corridor that crosses the blocks and leads to the entrance of the compartment. The façades of the modules are made of Avola stone, a typical stone of Sicily, a region in southern Italy. A hard, compact, and nonporous stone with a uniform surface.
I chose it for its ability to maintain its characteristics and appearance unchanged over time and for the ideal desire to combine two cultures in a single work, creating a skilful and attractive mix. The Avola stone is flamed and brushed.
The large tilting portholes that characterize each structure are made of anodized aluminium. I chose this material with the aim of creating a combination of visual assonances and dissonances in the cladding. The rest of the cladding is made from raw material.
What are the key factors to consider while designing and installing fenestration?
Light. For me, light, like matter, is fundamental to giving life to every design project and making it unique elsewhere. It is fundamental in the perception of spaces and surfaces and is an element with a double value, both ethereal and concrete, fundamental to guarantee the well-being of individuals and make them feel like the main characters of the space.
Could you please brief me on the technological benefits of the well–managed façades?
The façade is the portion of each work that connects two worlds, two perspectives, interior, and exterior. It is a fundamental junction between sections of life that must communicate with each other, not in a linear, sleepy way, but by inviting the visitor’s mind and gaze to enter, discover, and continue.
How do you go about choosing the material for the façade and cladding?
I think that the combination of local traditions and global visions is the system of thoughts that will animate the design process in the coming years, and will therefore also be the guide in the choice of materials and technologies for façades and cladding. The beauty of discovering peculiarities typical of previously unknown corners of the world blends with the specific features and demands that each location places on the development of projects.
These are also the main guidelines I follow when I have to choose materials for the design of my project: the client’s wishes, the function the work will have, the peculiarities of the context, and my previous experience are indispensable elements for success.
When you design a project or take a new project to work on what are the things you consider the most?
I believe that for any work to be successful, it is essential that it is able to involve men, who are the undisputed protagonist. I take into consideration the space, and the function it should have, and by combining them perfectly I dream that my work aims at a universal concept of beauty that is never stable, never the same but subject to the passing of the ages and the cultural paradigms we go through.
What is your advice for young and upcoming architects?
I advise the architects of the future to study a lot! Because only those who know tradition will have the tools and the courage to overturn it. To tear apart the present and show visitors unexpected fragments of the future. It is also important to travel a lot, both physically and mentally. Knowing the world, being curious, confronting each other, gaining experience. The greatest works take shape from dialogue and encounters.
Lyfe Care – Homes & Clinics, UAE
A few kilometres from the amazing city of Abu Dhabi, surrounded by the wonder of lush nature, Lyfe Care – Home & Clinics – will come to life. A place dedicated to the well-being of every person, in every period of their life. It is a diffuse spatial structure, composed of 50 lodges of 100 square meters each. Each one contains four rooms for long stays, the medical area, a small gym, the kitchen area, the dining area, and the living area with a garden inside. The modules are connected by a perimeter corridor that crosses the blocks and leads to the entrance of the compartment. It is a luxury nursing home. A suspended place, outside the traditional space-time in which to rest the body, heal it and open the mind, travel, and discover.
The façades of the modules are made of Avola stone, a typical stone of Sicily, a region in southern Italy. A hard, compact, and non-porous stone with a uniform surface. I chose it for its ability to maintain its characteristics and appearance unchanged over time and for the ideal desire to combine two cultures in a single work, creating a skilful and attractive mix. The Avola stone is flamed and brushed, with care, to keep local tradition alive and offer façades a living, polished form of beauty that is a blend of approaches, and in a way that keeps its qualities intact.
The large tilting portholes that characterize each structure are made of anodized aluminium, light but strong, bright, and charming. I chose those materials with the aim of creating a combination of visual assonances and dissonances in the cladding, to stimulate visitors’ perceptions, and invite their minds to delve deeper into reality. Soft, imaginative, enveloping shapes welcome visitors, to make them feel like protagonists of the scene and stimulate their senses, which are often fragmented and lost due to frenetic routine.
Lyfe Care – Home & Clinics are intended to be a manifesto not only of environmental but also of social sustainability. Respect for the environment, for each type of person, reducing costs and wasting energy, maximizing results.
Façade & Fenestration Material Used: Pietra d’avola
Scope of work: Nursing homes, to ensure each person’s well-being and comfort at all times of life
Client: Alessandro Rosso
Founder, Simone Micheli Architectural Hero
Simone Micheli was graduated from the Faculty of Architecture of Florence University. He founded the Architectural Studio in 1990, and in 2003, together with Roberta Colla, he created the design company Simone Micheli Architectural Hero, based in Florence, Milan, Puntaldìa, Dubai, Rabat, and Busan. His professional activity ranges from master plans and architecture to interior, from design to visual, through graphics, communication, and event organization. His creations, always sustainable and environmentally conscious, are characterized by a strong identity and uniqueness. Many are his creations for public administrations and important private clients connected to the community and to the residential world. He is the curator of thematic exhibitions - contract, but not only - at the main international architecture, design, and hospitality fairs.