A Nocturnal Marvel in Montalcino

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When we talk about architecture, we talk about light. How it moves through spaces, how it penetrates façades, and how it interacts with us in our daily routines. So it’s not uncommon that most of the time we focus on how a building looks and performs in the daytime. But to discuss Marco Pignattai’s work on remodeling a house in Montalcino, Tuscany, we must approach the project as dusk retreats to the night, for this truly house shines as a nocturnal marvel. As daylight creeps away from the Tuscan villa, it is replaced by the glow of carefully organized light fixtures, beacons that guide us both to, and throughout, the home.

The home is dotted with sparse twinkles, points of light that try to delicately maintain the natural calmness of the landscape in the dark with a need to invite your approach.

The lights are designed with the intent of embracing the home, created in partnership with designer Davide Groppi. The home is dotted with sparse twinkles, points of light that try to delicately maintain the natural calmness of the landscape in the dark with a need to invite your approach. Though few in numbers, these lights still provide an adequate path to the home, which glows through its stoic windowpanes. One window in particular peaks your curiosity, as it lets you inquisitively witness an unusual globe in the interior. Entering the house you find this to be the “Moon,” an enormous light that illuminates the kitchen in a soft manner that reflects the quality of its namesake’s glow. This moon acts as the centerpiece for the interior’s design, and despite its size it never feels overpowering.
Great care is taken in the placement of fixtures in the rest of the home, using the light they cast as a means of bringing people in and bringing them together. Tables are spot lit to invite conversation around them, like how minds once gathered around a hearth for warmth. Small bedside nightlights are angled (and adjustable) to let you read before turning to sleep, precisely placed to shine over one’s shoulder. And even in areas where the light is a more pragmatic tool, it is integrated wonderfully, as in the long indoor pool and in the minimally modern bathroom. Each light feels like an architecture in and of itself, dancing through the home in a game of reflection and feedback. So while the home stands proudly during the day, it is at night that its true nature comes to light.

Nathaniel Barlam

Nathaniel

Amid the unrest of earning his Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from RISD, Nathaniel manages to find the time to read, write, hang out with friends, play drums, and listen to music. Nathaniel has learned a lot about architecture firsthand thanks to opportunities to live and work in Rome and Brooklyn during the past year. Coming from a family with strong roots in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Nathaniel has always maintained a strong love for NYC especially, and after his studies finish up in Providence he may move there for a while. He hasn't decided yet. You can connect with him via Linkedin or by visiting his Portfolio page.

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