That branch of Lake Como
Unthinkable while studying at university, even more distant during the first years at work: with tenacious insistence, however, the memories of the lake returned whenever the mind contemplated serenity and peace, a reassuring presence that soon became an indispensable necessity. For the young engineer, Lorenzo Nardi, a return to his local roots was an inevitable choice that coincided with the construction of a residence specifically designed to confer Lario with undisputed importance in the housing scene.
We are in the small but beautiful Menaggio, on the western shore of Lake Como. The exclusivity of a private and not easily accessible road, the silence of the unique setting and the owner's focus on the construction of a home with a meticulously deliberate simplicity, form the backdrop to the story of this house. A house in which everything is inspired by a noble and overwhelming leitmotif: passion.
Passion for the lake, first and foremost, that the house seems to manifest in part thanks to its large arched glass walls. The passion for a well thought out space, designed and built with attention to detail, which cleverly combines sophistication and liveability. The passion for a profession through which state of the art applications regarding environmentally friendly materials, intelligent solutions and energy efficiency were thoroughly examined before being applied.
The result is a residence that can excite, which opens to the outside with no clear boundaries between the living space and the outdoors, where two olive trees define the edge of a terrace that otherwise would seem to lead directly onto the lake.
Few furnishings decorate the interiors in an essential colour scheme predominately in black and white. The co-existence between an ancient exterior and a modern interior is immediately noticeable, as are the unforgettable lamps with their unique design: the gorgeous Twiggy, for example, which follows the silhouette of a flower and illuminates the glass dining table. From the initial design of the residence by architect Rosanna Mazzola and surveyor Paulo Nardi, the owner was involved in the decisions taken for even the most minute details: from LED lighting in the floors to the unusual walls in black slate in the bathrooms or the glass doors he himself designed.
For energy efficiency, a major challenge was laid down: to build a house with almost zero consumption due to the exploitation of self-produced energy. A home that can give comfort to its inhabitants thanks to biological materials such as cork or calcium nitrate (which maximises the thermal conductivity of the radiant floor heating), the numerous passive bioclimatic strategies adopted, and to the measures to take advantage of the specific climate of the area, the location of the building and its shape. The solar thermal system provides coverage for energy consumption, from water heating to the operation of radiant floor heating system which ensures evenly distributed heat. The temperature control regulated through an external temperature sensor for optimised and balanced consumption, the magnetic induction hob and the large windows which take advantage of solar energy in winter, are all part of a deliberate project for the conservation of energy, well-being and protection of the environment.
In this context, Vimar provides the finishing touch with an intelligent home automation system that integrates the management of multiple functions: lighting, temperature, load control , video intercom, irrigation, automation of blinds and remote control via mobile phone. For the owner, the home automation system is almost a form of entertainment, but it also capable of providing surprising and these days, also necessary, functionality for optimising energy consumption.
Through the By-me control unit located next to the entrance door, the landlord has organised his home according to his needs, setting particular scenarios which activate different functions with the simple touch of a finger. The "wake up" scenario turns on the music and opens the curtains that immediately reveal the presence of the lake beyond the windows; the "evening" scenario on the other hand activates the LED lighting and in moments the exterior of the home becomes a theatre of colours and lighting effects. The same control unit and the individual thermostats control the temperature, and every available command has a dedicated symbol indicating its function, with a clear design that confirms a strong attention to detail. In a general expression of essentiality, the 4.5-inch touch screen is the first object that can be seen climbing up the glass staircase that connects the living area to the bedrooms and, by the owner's own admission, is itself an indispensable part of the interior furnishing. The Vimar touch screen is the most innovative aspect of the home automation system and allows control of the system, adjusting the lighting or the temperature, operating the blinds and activating scenarios.
Also, with By -me, energy is not wasted because consumption is constantly controlled and intelligently distributed for substantial overall energy savings. While telling us about the house and demonstrating how easy it is to manage with the Vimar automation system, the owner in fact emphasises the crucial role of the load control option: the home automation system can be fun, but from the perspective of residential energy efficiency, the ability to constantly monitor the energy consumption is a fundamental advantage. A maximum allowable power consumption level has been set on the control unit and if this limit is exceeded, loads are automatically cut off in order of priority set by the user: in case of necessity, for example, it is preferable to be able to continue to cook, and therefore the power to the washing machine, the dishwasher and the sprinkler system is interrupted. In this way, the system avoids triggering circuit breakers and independently manages the subsequent reactivation of appliances. Finally, the integration of the home automation system with the various thermo-hydraulic systems of the building further reduces energy consumption resulting in significant savings and an overall improvement in the energy efficiency rating of the house.
From an aesthetic point of view, the sinuous lines that are found in various structural details and furnishings of the residence find continuity in the products designed by Vimar. The Eikon series devices, chosen for their high refinement, blend harmoniously with immaculate rooms, framed by the soft designs of the Round model plaques in white metal with keys and buttons in a soft satin finish.
From every vantage point, the lake is visible from within the house, in a composed tranquillity and soothing beauty capable of holding your gaze and your thoughts for long intervals. Haunting poetic views often command the silence of those who, enchanted, take time out from reality as they sit on the soft white couches on the porphyry terrace. A beautiful residence that able to impress at any moment thanks to the ever-changing landscape.
Building design: Studio Tecnico Nardi, Menaggio (CO)
System Installation: I.M.E TV di Pisoni e figli, Menaggio (CO)
Home automation system: By-me
Published on 26/07/2010