Furniture can make a home work. Fabbricanove, a seven-year-old architecture practice in Italy, took that truism to heart earlier this year when it designed a 26-foot-tall storage box that organizes everything from work to sleep at a loft in Florence.
"All the daily actions of the client’s family have a relationship with this ‘domestic machine.’"—Enzo Fontana, architect
The house occupies three levels of a former 19th-century music hall, through which its centerpiece, a plywood matrix of shelving, flip-open surfaces, and drawers that glide inward and outward, rises continously. Its scale sets it apart from other furniture (it took five artisans six months to build and install), which is why Fabbricanove partner Enzo Fontana likens it instead to a Corbusian "machine for living."
Indeed, the behemoth is reminiscent of an old-fashioned mainframe computer, processing the home’s innerworkings within its compartments. At the base it is a pantry and kitchen, and on the second level it is a library and office. Near the top bedroom, the upper layer offers a place to store nighttime necessities. There’s even a play area for the residents’ child inside the maze. "The whole house has been articulated around the vertical core, without defining traditional rooms but by configuring portions of spaces," Fontana notes. As it climbs toward the vaulted ceiling, the box blurs the line between furniture and habitat. All told, it has about 170 pockets and chambers; more than enough storage for a family of three, but exactly the right fit for the dimensions of the house.
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