The Italian architect achieves the impossible in his designs. Bringing unprecedented warmth to minimalism, he showcases the most refined sense of elegance and classicism.
By Patricia Abaroa
Uncomplicated and elegant, architect Claudio Silvestrin’s stripped down aesthetic articulates refined simplicity in architecture and design as ornamentation takes a back seat to function and emotion in his rooms. Musings and interactions are the real stars of his projects, which exude the kind of tranquility one would find in an idyllic summer day: warm and full of life and light.
Armed with a childhood passion for the arts, his attention shifted to architecture at 18. “Reading a book by Paul Klee I was strongly inspired by his quote: ‘the greatest form of art is architecture’”, says the designer. Before establishing his London office in 1989, Silvestrin studied under AG Fronzoni in Milan and later at the Architectural Association in London. In 2002, he co-founded 1+1=1, with partner Giuliana Salmosa, and in 2006, Silvestrin Architects opened another office in Milan. The firm encompasses real estate development, newly built houses and resorts, art galleries and museums, domestic and retail interiors. Silvestrin is the recipient of a number of prestigious awards, including the International Award for Architecture in Stone in 2005, and in 2009, the Chicago Athenaeum International Architecture Award. Read more about architecture and design.
Giorgio Armani Boutique. London.
If clients are an illustration of the architect’s point of view, the likes of Kanye West, Giorgio Armani and Calvin Klein imply that Silvestrin is forward-thinking. In a long-running partnership, the architect has been in charge of revamping Giorgio Armani boutiques worldwide, including stores in Paris, Moscow, and Hong Kong, among others. Organic simplicity infused with ebony and limestone delivers a timeless elegance that uplifts Armani’s aesthetic.
His fondness for serenity makes his residential units the perfect setting for relaxation and contemplation. In Monte Carlo, the P Penthouse showcases the firm's expertise in both architecture and design. The spacious living room is stretched to maximize views of the sea and the Cote d'Azur while bringing in light. A vast floor plan and limestone and bronze elements make the unit quite sophisticated but far from cold.
P Penthouse. Montecarlo.
In London, on the 32nd floor of the Shard, the Oblix Restaurant reveals Silvestrin’s inventiveness. In a novel twist, guests enter Oblix through the heart of the restaurant, the kitchen. This experience of sight and aromas continues throughout the space. Open windows let in beautiful views and floods of light while clean lines, sandstone and ebony give the venue a natural, welcoming character.
Oblix Restaurant. London.
Silvestrin has managed to infuse a soul to minimalism, a design genre he doesn’t necessarily relate to. Instead, he believes his work is a reflection of himself, only better. According to Silvestrin, “silence, strength, endurance, decision, serenity and calmness are present in my character and in my architecture, however, through architecture I can go beyond my character limitations: for instance, subtlety, finesse and sophistication in details." ■
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