The windswept shores of the Adriatic Sea may seem like an unlikely place to find a minimal, Nordic-inspired cottage, but Italian architect Valeria Aretusi has built just that. Set into olive tree–speckled hills overlooking the Italian village of Roseto degli Abruzzi, Residenza Q is a stark contrast to the ornate 19th-century villas and sixties-era apartment buildings populating the town below.
“[It is] unique in its style, especially for its contemporary character and Nordic design,” says the architect. The wood-frame dwelling is an uncommon mode of construction in Italy but one of Aretusi’s areas of expertise. The pitched-roof, 118-square-metre house is divided into two slightly staggered mirror-image modules: one for the multi-generational Ferretti family, the other as a working showroom for the clan’s nearly 60-year-old confectionery business.
With the intent of improving thermal and acoustic insulation and to protect the structure from coastal humidity, Aretusi looked to Italian decking and cladding manufacturer Déco for an energy-saving ventilated facade, specifically its Ultrashield system in an antique finish. She chose the material both for its tone, which mimics the grey of salt-weathered wood, and its sustainable qualities, of which there are many.
“The whole house is built with ecological materials and technologies,” says Aretusi, who also installed a rainwater collection and purification system to irrigate the garden — a Moroccan-inspired alcove painted Yves Klein blue — and surrounding lawn. “I looked for a facade covering that would complete the eco-sustainable project and marry with the design,” she adds.
Composed of recycled hardwood shavings mixed with a biodegradable PVC substitute and wrapped in a polymer shield, the slats (which are stain-, fade-, and crack-resistant) were simple to install; similar to decking, the boards are affixed with bolts to a substructure of joists.
The wood-look composite was necessary “to make the project warmer and to integrate it with the surrounding landscape without forgetting the sense of continuity between inside and outside,” says Aretusi. Simple and sustainable, it was a move in keeping with the home’s Nordic roots.
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Manufactured by Déco, the composite lends warmth – in more ways than one – to the minimal house designed by Valeria Aretusi.