When Flavio Pinardi purchased his 148-square-foot bachelor pad on the ground floor of a 1919 building in Milan, he knew he wanted to renovate. The apartment had some design and construction issues, but rather than make usual wish lists and plans, he let his imagination run wild. The result is a unique, warm small home that ended up with the nickname “imagination to the power.”
Pinardi enlisted the help of architect/blacksmith/carpenter (and friend) Carlo Corradi, also known as “Iron Man.” When Pinardi asked Corradi what he thought about accessing the space over the bathroom using a small blue step ladder, the home’s mantra was created. “This is imagination to the power! There are no limits in your mind,” Corradi replied, marveling at the homeowner’s creativity and desire to make the most of every inch of space in his small home.
In order to create more usable space, the duo placed a soppalco, or mezzanine, in the living room, creating a bedroom.
To make the place feel brighter, a large vitrine was constructed in the living room, allowing more light to reach the sleeping area.
The owner thought about the design of each room in terms of theme and mood. This dictated the colors and materials used in each space.
|Entrance/kitchen||Post-industrial – futuristic||Gray aluminumYellow melon
|MetalsWood coated and/or painted
|Living room||Mother Earth – primitive times
The living room divided in 3:
|Bedroom||Mother Earth – the temple||Browns White
|Bathroom||Fashion (well, the apartment is in Milan!)||WhiteBlack
Gold and silver
Pinardi used many sources of inspiration for the decoration of his house. Beyond the pauses of meditation in search of inspiration, continuous brainstorming was done with all those friends who came to take a look at the construction site, “A thought, an opinion, mixing others’ points of view with what I wanted or was about to do, ” Pinardi said.
Possibly the most interesting sources of inspiration were the shops of Milan world-renowned fashion district, Quadrilatero della moda. The inspiration for the color of the mezzanine came from a day of fake shopping, wherein Pinardi would feign interest in what the stores were selling in order to get inspiration for his home.
A volte non serve parlarsi. Sometimes one doesn’t need to talk.
The trap door down into the cellar, made with the minimum dimensions required to avoid damaging the brick vault that holds the slab of the room, was 31.5 x 31.5 inches. Without the space to install a staircase or boat ladder, Pinardi had to come up with an innovative solution.
“I needed Iron Man, so I called him immediately,” Pinardi said. “[I told him] ‘I understand what I need to go down to the cellar.’ And when he said ‘You have thought about a lift, haven’t you?’ I knew we were on the same wavelength.” After a few months spent accruing the right pieces, Pinardi created his own custom elevator to access his cellar.
Il vecchio e la macelleria. The old man and the butcher.
“One afternoon I was with the masons who were installing the big window overlooking the public park. An old man passed on a beat-up bicycle, stopped, and then kept going. Then he came over again and settled there to watch,” Pinardi said. “After seeing a man drawing a bull in charcoal on the wall, the old man curiously asked, ‘Are you opening a butcher’s shop?’ Startled, I replied ‘No, a home.”
Sacro e profano. Sacred and profane.
The collection of crucifixes that are proudly displayed in their niche at the side of the bed was born by chance. The very first piece, in bronze, put right in the center, came from a funeral in the 1920s.
“I confess that this collection is the thing that, along with the trap door to access the cellar, perturbs my guests the most,” Pinardi said.
Il pavimento firmato. The signature floor.
One night at a pub in the suburbs of Milan, Pinardi was introduced to Lucio Lanzarotta, an Italian architect and emerging artist, whom Flavio later asked to do something the artist had never done before: make a piece on his floor.
Lanzarotta accepted and decided to design two of what he terms Gianifantasmati, after the mythological character Giano, who had two faces, and fantasmato, because of the ghost-like shape. Since no piece of art is complete without a signature from its creator, Lanzarotto left his mark on Pinardi’s home.
Unfortunately an error in the implementation of the substrate of the resin has caused the painting to begin deteriorating. “But who knows, as with The Last Supper … I wonder if Lucio will be going places, in a few years, I’ll have to fence off my kitchen floor.”
La genesi delle idee. The genesis of ideas.
The renovation lasted nearly two years. “For me and my father, the construction had become a game, a second work,“ Pinardi said. “My father and I spent long hours making speculations on the color to use for the heater and the lineup of the kitchen. The pleasure of creating had overcome the need to finish. And I must say that my mother did not take it very well, being such an efficient woman.”