A complete renovation project of a penthouse in the Arco della Pace area of Milan, curated by the Milanese studio GDG Design, which transforms and gives new life to a flat from the first half of the 20th century.
The complexity of the design of the building unit is given by the planimetric proportions of the flat: a rectangle measuring about 30 metres by 7 metres which, before the intervention, had a sequence of rooms with access from individual central distribution corridors.
The views on both long sides of the building constrain the composition, and in their current state they were not exploited either towards the internal courtyard or towards the wonderful terrace with its priceless view of the city.
In keeping with the client’s wishes and the multiple functions required by the new project, a completely new distribution was organised, combined with the principles of circular use of the rooms, expansion of the spaces and alignment of the views.
The result is a reconquest of natural light that finally pervades the rooms, giving a regenerated and vital atmosphere, with warm and soft shades in balance between light and shadows. The lighting design relies on natural light to create scenes that, at sunset, through the use of uplights and cuts of light, draw with strong emotional intensity the frame of everyday family life as well as that of a social evening.
The concept of circular use of the rooms, which becomes the generator of the architectural composition, is built from the beginning around the flat’s intruder: the lift for exclusive use, which takes up its position in the centre of the living area.
“We wanted to transform the criticality of this impending presence into a design opportunity,” say architects Aprea and Bottarelli, founders of the GDG studio, “transforming the entire reinforced concrete box into a gravitational centre for the various activities of the day. Completely clad in carpentry, it loses its technological connotation and in a complete metamorphosis vanishes, becoming, in a play of wood and light, the scenic backdrop for the various functions that orbit around it.
“The stylistic code was dictated by the tastes of the client, who wanted a refined environment, inspired by Milanese tradition, but permeated with contemporaneity. We therefore drew on the rules and typical elements of the old Milan style, reinterpreting the proportions and juxtaposing them with greater lightness,” Aprea continues.
The furnishings were chosen in complete conceptual coherence: Molteni&C’s re-edition of the D.859.1 table by Giò Ponti, as well as the “Livia” chairs – also designed by the Milanese master – play in perfect stylistic cohesion with the decorative box, while the Ghost sofas by Gervasoni restore a distinctly modern character to the living room despite the delicacy of their soft forms.
The result is an elegant and balanced atmosphere, first imagined and then transformed into reality under the control of the expert and unmistakable hand of the GDG studio.

Location: Milan, Arco della pace
Year: 2018 – 2019
Highlights: Penthouse
Designer: GDGDesign – Arch. Lucio Aprea
Photographer: Giacomo Albo

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