“Architecture is not taught at school; you must have it inside”. That is how Alessio Princic starts. He is an architect who has devoted so many resources and so much energy to teaching and spreading ideas.
We spoke with him about architecture, aesthetics, craftsmanship, and, of course, about Mycore blinds which Princic has chosen for the interiors of Villaverde Hotel & Resort in Fagagna, in the province of Udine.
Architect Princic, let’s start from the beginning: when did you decide to take architecture as your profession?
I think the first time was when I was twelve, and I was helping my father in his furniture factory in Cormons. I started to combine colours and materials, and a new collection of upholstery was created out of that. There, I realised that that would be the path I should follow. Then, it was my grandfather who suggested the exclusive Faculty of Architecture in Ljubljana to which I am still attached today.
Your university career not only included getting a degree but also a busy teaching schedule.
I was an assistant at the School of Architecture, I got a PhD and I was a temporary lecturer. Now, I am an associate professor in Ljubljana and I hold two chairs in Maribor, – Studio 1, which deals with the bases of composition, in the second year, and Smart, a research into an advanced architecture, in the last year. I find teaching exciting; it provides continuous stimulation and keeps minds open and flexible, especially in transnational contexts like the one in which I work.
How has your approach towards architecture changed over time?
My matrix is linked to Wright’s principle of ‘organic architecture’ and the architecture of Alvar Aalto. I took my first steps in that atmosphere. Consistency and clean-cut design, that mirror clear thinking, are the key pillars on which all my work is based. Over time my projects have, however, become increasingly warmer, richer, and more vibrant. I am against extreme minimalism because the world around us is not minimalist at all but rich in colours, shadows, and shades. I try to stick to the number of three dictated by Armani, almost impossible; I like the combinations of different finishes, the colours; in materials I seek textures, tactile effects, because when light casts shadows, they are three-dimensional, they tell a story to be seen, the work of man, the will and the character of a place.
Let’s talk about the Villaverde Hotel & Resort project
The Villaverde Hotel & Resort was born out of the visionary approach of Gabriele Lualdi, who wanted to create in Fagagna a unique structure where hotel, events, health care and wellness intersect and intertwine, with the added value of a golf club.
He wanted this venture to be a tribute to Friuli and I wanted to continue such tribute to the land by giving visibility to its characters and companies. Master painter Celiberti decorated 2200 square meters of hall; Snaidero, Moroso, and Gervasoni along with many artisans supplied and made, under my instructions, the furnishings, which were chosen after reinterpreting and revisiting the materials that connect with tradition, looking for colours that can replicate the atmosphere of these landscapes- intense greens, the reds of blossoms, the gold of wheat fields-, colours that I chose for the Mycore blinds used in the hall.
The ones you used are soft, customised blinds, so different from the typical roller blinds on which Mycore works.
Since I wanted warm and enveloping spaces, I needed blinds that contribute to such atmosphere. It is true that Mycore generally works on roller blinds typical of minimalist environments, but it is also true that they understood what I needed and strove to interpret that the best they can. Mycore’s range of fabrics is interesting, and has given me the chance to make ad hoc colours, a proof of how versatile Friulian artisans are. I showed a picture taken from a magazine and just three attempts later, they succeeded in getting the colour that I wanted.
The hall is an imposing room, a great design challenge.
It is about 1000 square meters, visibly enlarged to 2200 thanks to a triple curvature covering that contains and protects you like a nest, while black and white, the Udine colours, of the great work by Giorgio Celiberti merge interior and exterior.
For the floors, I chose a very ‘poor’ material but which is present in our subconscious because it was used to decorate cellars and the terraces of our grandparents and our parents, the Simagres red reinterpreted through the design of seventeen different carpets, which, together with the blinds, help to define some environments.
Colours, materials and contrast of materials are elements that characterise the whole project.
On the walls I combined glossy marble types with matt and untreated ones; the dyed paste plaster is scratched into the depths of the material, the brick colour and the texture that delineates the wall recall somehow earthenware and somehow Moroccan handwork.
The search for the texture that characterises the interiors is revealed immediately in this work, as well as the soft lines and curves are the particular features of the exterior.
Together with the blinds used in the hall and rooms, you worked with Mycore on a novel project for the meeting room of the Villaverde complex.
Yes, I needed to check the acoustics of this large oval room and here I wanted to play with materials and contrasts just like I did in the rest of the project. Instead of using many acoustic panels, I made the most of the fabrics of the Mycore blinds, arranged in parallel lines throughout the ceiling and anchored to the steel substructure with just magnets. A kind of technology- not quite a technology actually- that can perfectly respond from a technical point of view, and that at the same time recreates an original aesthetic effect of superb attraction.