LIU JO SHOWROOM

Commercial
Livorno, Toscana, Italia – 2018

The architects reinvent a typical industrial building on the outskirts of Livorno to host a hybrid space where light, color, and matter converge. The atelier-showroom is half exhibition space and half color laboratory, a place for invention and experimentation of surface and light chromatic potentials. The project plays on the duality between white and black, transparency, and materiality, innovation, and ancient techniques to create a theatrical space of great impact. Although connected, the laboratory and showroom have separate entrances on facades with distinct characteristics. An industrial aesthetic characterizes the laboratory, facing the street; here, the original brickwork and plaster are merely marked by shadows. A suspended staircase, leading to the showroom, conceals the entrance and becomes a tangible “signal” of the place. The building features a vibrant and lightweight skin with strongly horizontal lines, where large glass surfaces create reflections and play with natural light: the rigor of light and dark redesigns the interiors and hides outside. Two functions, two setups, two colors, marked and divided by mobile and transparent elements. A veiled curtain invites and organizes spaces; a glass partition separates offices and the showroom, lighting fixtures reveal colors and atmospheres in ever-changing sequences, a space never the same. Strong contrasts, theatricality, and deep suggestions characterize this space designed to stage new experiments in light and color. A project of great formal simplicity yet radical in its choice of materials: the diaphanous light of crystal and the solid, substantial quality of stone. At the center, an almost obsessive pursuit of natural lightness, an emotional and emotive environment, sensitive and mutable materials in light. An apparently naked yet subtly sophisticated space, a Baroque scene without decoration, pulsating, interactive with the lights of the seasons and the sensations of humans. Natural light, diaphanous, and LED lighting, diffused in all environments, project a perpetual “dawn.” A space not static but mutable, composite, so much so as to seem an artificial place, in the sense of artifice.