There is no doubt that for some, Milan, Italy is synonymous with ultra chic living as a cosmopolitan capital of innovative design and fashion trendsetting. With grand architecture and historic beauty at every corner, there is also a lot to be proud of as Italy’s second largest city. Why would one want to break with design tradition when you have architectural monuments like the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele and the Duomo di Milano as part of your urbanscape? Enter this first-of-its-kind eco urban residence in the heart of Milan’s fashion district. Sustainably renovated and uniquely energy efficient with its Finnish soapstone fireplace and green rooftop, this eco casa has set new design standards for Milanese city dwellers who are eager to green their views.
Architect Alessio Rogoldi and Designer and Professor of Green Management, Fabrice Leclerc, dedicated two years to renovating this classical Milano flat into a state-of-the art, multilevel eco residence. Located in the Duomo neighborhood of Milan’s center, the duo has created a true oasis that boasts a rooftop garden with thirty five fruit trees, forty-seven rose species, and medicinal herbs that help filter the industrial air of Milan. The once concrete dwelling is also now cooled by this greenery and shaded year round. In one year’s time, the greenhouse on the roof will be fully equipped with solar panels, allowing the house to not only to produce its own renewable energy, but create a possible supply for neighbors in the vicinity.
The residence’s loft has, at its center, a Finnish ‘Tulikivi’ soapstone fireplace, which can heat the entire home for twenty-four hours with only four pieces of firewood (wood that is acquired from local, sustainably-managed Italian forests less than twenty-five miles away). This ‘Tulikivi’ fireplace has also won the Fine Particle Achievement of the Year Award, for its clean(er) combustion and the reduction of carbon particle emissions to a figure seven times lower than traditional fireplaces.
To add to overall energy-efficiency, the home’s walls are also insulated with local Italian sheep’s wool. The designers state that the energy costs have essentially been reduced by five times with all of these combined features. Additionally “the presence of a fireplace in the heart of the house makes the vibe very different from a residence with a standard heating systems – much healthier as well. The atmosphere is comparable to a hot stone sauna or infra red cabins that aid one’s immune system. Plus, it really feels like a home”.
A variety of European companies collaborated with the designers to create eco solutions for home fixtures and appliances – Gaggenau, Bulthaup, Iguzzini, and Haastens, to name a few. But the touch we like the most is the recycled ‘preserve jar’ wall filled tinted liquids. The resident gnomes also add some color as the garden sprites of this renovation project. Evidence perhaps, that even with the most advanced and sustainably-minded undertakings, a bit of whimsy and light-heartedness is good for the soul and home.
+ Alessio Rogoldi and Fabrice Leclerc’s website is under construction, though you can e-mail them @ [email protected]