Villa Molli

Situated in the Italian town of Sala Comacina, Villa Molli has breathtaking views across Lake Como. The building is positioned in the so-called “half hill” part of mountain that is between the lake and the wood, the part that was previously farmland.

This part of landscape has now become part of the Lake economy and society. However, among the “new wood” the past presence of man, who occupied that territory with stone houses so-called “of half hill” are still visible.

The land on which the building is located has a double inclination: it hangs from west to east and from south to north and thanks to a retaining wall above it, it passes the historic pedestrian street that connects most of the northern villages of the lake.

From the ground you have an amazing view of the Comacina island. This view, however, does not face frontally, but is shifted to one side. The set of vistas during the survey inspired the composition of the building’s spaces.

It consists of two higher volumes at the ends of the lot, connected on the ground floor by a large living room and on the first floor by a terrace. The other idea that shaped the interior space and its perception was the topology of the site.

Because of this setting, the indoor lounge is spread over 3 different levels and with the solarium and swimming pool, there are five levels of the cross section.

This has created different perceptions of the lake: from an aerial view of the kitchen step, in which in the window we have only the water of the lake, to the discovery of the sky on the step of the living room.

This makes you have a view of the lake amplified by the oblique perception of sight. In the end this “escamotage” has made possible to insert the supporting structure of the beams in correspondence of the changes of dimension, making it disappear like an element, but increasing its power through the volumes in which it is architecturally incorporated.

The choice to divide the building into two bodies was also to take advantage of the exposed sides to the island, keeping traditional holes on the lake front of the buildings, opening instead the north-east sides with more generous openings that frame the island and its colours that change continuously during the day.

Internally the tension and drama of the spatial telling is given by the passage “compression and dilation” between sleeping and living areas and by the continuous passage from light to shadow and shadow to light in the paths that make the spaces alive.

Finally, the detail of the cladding in moraine stone owes much to the traditional constructions of the lake. Also here the roof and facade merge and the mere gesture of tilting the slopes generates a variation on the theme, that transforms the two centimeters high facade splits into slabs.

Technological innovation, constructive tradition and invention of language try to merge in the best possible way. The idea to rotate the volume of ninety degrees to each other, is given by the strong link with the place.

The pool in the villa is not here a mere cliché, but it has an architectural and symbolic function very strong: it is the water domesticated that act as parapet, uniting visually to the wild “aqua dulza” of the lake. So that there are no boundaries between the interior and the exterior landscape of Villa Molli.  

Photography by Giorgio Marafioti

Architecture & Design by Lorenzo Guzzini

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