A river runs through it
A building by the river where light, design and atmosphere reign. The location is Pori, Finland, capital of the eponymous sub-region, also known by the name of Karhukunnat (literally the “bear municipalities”). The primary goal of architect Birgitta Hjelm-Luontola was to create a bright, spacious environment while making the most of the splendid surrounding landscape. Birgitta Hjelm-Luontola has enormous experience in the design of industrial and tertiary buildings. Her clients include large companies that operate in Finland such as Rolls-Royce, Nokian Tyres and Glaston. Along with architecture, she also works on the interior design of private residences, townhouses and villas. One such example, a two-house building called LuxLine, won her the First Prize in the Residential Building category of the 11th Casalgrande Padana Grand Prix International Architecture Award.
The first floor of the house features a spa, office, guest bedroom, sportswear closet and garage. The fitness area is equipped with a Finnish sauna built in traditional red wood and a closet hidden behind black sliding glass doors, while the floors and walls are extra-glossy veined white. But the real heart of the home is to be found on the second floor, consisting of the sleeping area with master bedroom complete with dressing room and shower, and a large living area with incorporated kitchen and the obligatory fireplace, built into a corner and complete with a firewood storage niche. A large window covers the entire outside wall, while the sofas seemingly ignore the presence of a TV/Home Theatre system and instead face towards the window to fully take in the landscape. A further distinctive element of the living area is a transparent armchair hanging by a chain from the ceiling – the iconic Bubble Chair designed by Eero Aarnio in 1968. Eero Aarnio described his design as follows: “After I had made the Ball Chair I wanted to have the light inside it and so I had the idea of a transparent ball where light comes from all directions. The only suitable material is acrylic which is heated and blown into shape like a soap bubble.” Thanks to its special acoustics and soft leather seat, it creates a pleasant sense of isolation, the ideal place to meditate while enjoying the view from the living room. Behind the white sofas, the open-plan kitchen has the appearance of a glossy monolith: completely black in the section facing onto the living room and incorporating the high snack counter; absolute white in the working area, which is partially shielded from view by the black counter. The full-height kitchen units housing the built-in appliances are likewise glossy white. The continuous floors consisting of large-size tiles are glossy veined grey. Glossy Marmoker tiles from Casalgrande Padana are used in all the bedrooms, the living room, the corridors, the bathrooms and the spa. Throughout the house, warm wood surfaces and raw stone surface coverings are meticulously blended with gloss and matt ceramic tiles in a perfect balance that emphasises the building’s modern design. Moreover, the glossy surfaces (including the ceiling) reflect the surrounding natural river landscape, thereby meeting one of the client’s declared objectives.
Casalgrande Padana, Marmoker
59x118 88x88 59x59
Grafite Lucido, Statuario Grigio Lucido
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): < 0,1%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): Nessuna alterazione
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): ≤ 150 mm3
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): > 45 N/mm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R9
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant