Wednesday, May 2, 2018

A study in white

By Savitha Hira with inputs from Annie Aggarwal
Photography: Diego Opazo; courtesy the architect
Read Time: 2 mins
"Fran Silvestre residence indiaartndesign"
Apartment in Valencia (inset)Ar. Fran Silvestre

Ar. Fran Silvestre’s architecture touches the metaphysical as it throws light on important conjectures in design. Here is an apartment that alludes to a study in white…

With white as the specifier, this apartment is abstract in conception and minimal in form. Applying the tenets of the simple process of whitewashing (lime paint is a low-cost type of paint made from slaked lime and has lost its popularity to more lasting paint and surface-finish options), the architect shrouds the entire apartment in white, creating an illusory effect that camouflages services and promotes in its wake, a serenity that is almost sterile. 

"living room Fran Silvestre residence indiaartndesign"
"living space Fran Silvestre residence indiaartndesign"

Colour psychology is integral to design. It constitutes an international visual language understood by all. And, when viewed on the positive front, it expresses openness, vastness, purity and neutrality – all at the same time. With interaction between human and built form at the core of any built environment, this apartment stands as a testimony to predictable responses and the subtle wow factor of elements of surprise that tend to emerge from the all-white canvas. 

"play of light Fran Silvestre residence indiaartndesign"
"kitchen and dining Fran Silvestre residence indiaartndesign"

Naturally, the entire house is characterised by spatial continuity. The furniture, all in white blends in seamlessly with the whitewashed surfaces; as furniture units conceal construction ‘accidents’ and intrusions and integrate within them modern technical services to improve thermal insulation and acoustics. 
"divider Fran Silvestre residence indiaartndesign"
"towards bedrooms Fran Silvestre residence indiaartndesign"

Keeping it minimalist (another signature of Fran Silvestre Architects), a clutter-free program evolves into the configuration of a two bedroom flat with an island kitchen, dining and flexible living space. Walls dissolve at will as sliding partitions, electrical boxes disappear into cabinets, and indirect linear lighting is integrated into the ceiling… essentially working towards making things visible only when required. 

"corridor Fran Silvestre residence indiaartndesign"
"wooden flooring Fran Silvestre residence indiaartndesign"

The layout is basic – with the two bedrooms opening out to the patio, the living room looking out at the main avenue, and the kitchen as the heart of the home has dual access. The linearity of the plot is augmented by the all-wood flooring – the only other colour that binds the all-white interior landscape. A touch of colours in stark contrast like black and ink blue deepen the sense of frugality that we see in this home. 

"Fran Silvestre residence indiaartndesign"

Viewed philosophically, as perhaps the architect intends – the architecture is as vocal as it is silent, maximizes spatial amplitude (largesse of life), facilitates cleaning (pragmatics) and perhaps also life - the act of living, wanting, needing, searching…the list is endless!

Fact File:
Architecture: Fran Silvestre Arquitectos
Interior design: Alfaro Hofmann
Project team: Fran Silvestre | Principal in Charge
Ricardo Candela | Project Architect
Rubén March | Project Architect
And several collaborating architects
Built Area: 118,86 sq. m.
Location: Valencia

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