In the Northern Italy town of Mantova—named the “Italian capital of culture” by the national government last year—local architects
Archiplan Studio used a light touch when rehabbing a circa 1600 apartment for a private real estate investor. The one-bedroom flat reveals the remains of a 400-year-old fresco throughout, making the passage of time the home’s primary decorative element. Sleek, all-white Italian furnishings are secondary players.
Davide Galli, courtesy of Archiplan Studio. Above: Nearly all the furnishings are white, save for the occasional antique or light fixture. Above: The architects preserved an original archway, which dates to 1600—it now frames a custom, white laminate kitchen. Above: The original fresco is carefully integrated into the new plaster walls. An essential dynamic at play in the apartment is the “blurry relationship between the natural and artificial,” say the architects. Above: The architects installed new wood plank floors and painted them in glossy white paint. Above: Fresco painting, popular during the Italian Renaissance, is created by applying water-based pigment to wet lime plaster; as the plaster dries, the pigment becomes an integral part of the surface. Above: Throughout the apartment, light fixtures project illumination upward to highlight the textural frescoed ceiling. Here, the Toio Floor Lamp for Flos, designed by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni. Above: A built-in hallway storage closet is covered in mirrors. Above: All interior doors are original to the apartment and painted white. Above: A single unifying curtain rod runs along the entire windowed wall of the apartment. Above: The bedroom is open to the hallway, and two double doors open onto the bathroom. A projector system in the all-white bedroom means no unsightly television is on view. Above: The bathroom was completely remodeled by Archiplan; it features new plumbing fixtures—including the requisite Italian bidet—and an antique mirror. Above: The new shower is lined in Simply diamond-edged white ceramic tile by Devon & Devon. Above: Bathroom storage is tucked inside an antique blue-and-white armoire.