OPEN HOUSE
Wallpaper|November 2020
Dividers rule in architect Francesco Librizzi’s free-flowing Milanese apartment

The key to understanding Francesco Librizzi and, indeed, his new apartment on Milan’s via Mauro Macchi, is how he looks at space. For starters, it is so easy, he points out, to separate one room from another with walls and doors. ‘But how do you let a space and, therefore its users, flow without interruption, while still feeling the specificity of different functions, such as dining and work zones?’ For the Palermo-born architect, and artistic director of design label FontanaArte, any attempt to restrict movement, much less dictate how a space should be used, is forbidden. ‘I like to unlock spaces and create endless circulation. Working, interacting, cooking are not always distinct moments in time and space,’ he explains. ‘You need to allow a space to change. You have to create freedom, which means accepting that the inhabitants will use a space in ways they have not yet imagined and of which the designer cannot conceive.’

These touchstones, already firmly embedded in Librizzi’s 15-year-old architectural practice (which works on everything from buildings to exhibition and product design), took on greater importance for him this year when, as he was in the midst of renovating his new apartment, Italy retreated into its Covid-19 lockdown. The experience, along with his inability to work on the renovation for three months, only amplified his approach to space, its multifunctionality, and its relationship to the human psyche.

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