A very central loft/penthouse in Milan: magical alchemy of light, shape, matter and nature.

Originally from Messina, Paolo Rizzograduated in Architecture at the Polytechnic Universityof Milan in 1993 and after specializing at the studio of Mies Van der Rohe, Lohan Architects, Chicago, he came back to Italy as Ignazio Gardella’s pupil and junior architect; in 1955 he opened his own studio.

The abode that he strongly wanted as his home is a white and bright loft/penthouse in the shape of a semi-attic parallelepiped, located on the top floor of this “Casa di ringhiera” dating back to 1800, in a privileged position.

From here, you can admire the roofs of the city centre, the bell towers and the copper domes of the churches, on which the spires of the Milan Cathedral with its Madonnina stand out.

The green terrace runs along one of the two long sides of the floor plan: the owner, who personally takes care of it, wanted to enhance the terrace with plants and flowers, thus creating the magical illusion of a place surrounded by greenery, and not on the top floor of a town building.

This space can also be enjoyed from the inside, as a sort of outdoor scenographic backdrop, where an imaginary perspective axis ends, and extends the sculptural and chromatic visions of the furnishings towards the outdoor, in a perfect formal consonance between design and nature. Everything is made possible thanks to the large window that runs along the axis of the terrace.


The renovations required great efforts, but in the end, the result is a space where to enjoy silence and peace – rare in Milan –, ensured by the height and the position of the building, very central but sheltered from the noisy and busy main streets of the city.

This is how “Casa di ringhiera” was born, as the owner wanted to call it, located in the district of Conca del Naviglio, a place where light and nature define its character.

Inside, he organized spaces and functions by distributing them around a large central block, covered on the living side by a wall of stone and concrete slabs.

This large central block incorporates the open-plan kitchen in mirrored steel, designed by the owner. On the opposite side, overlooking the terrace, there is the bathroom with the tub area in white marble, and the bedroom. Here, through the mirrored wardrobe, the green terrace and the Milanese roofs enter the environment, creating an evocative game of reflections and in-and-out bounces.


The interiors are influenced by the architect’s passion for the great 1900s design – Castiglioni, Joe Colombo, Saarinen, Eames, Mies van der Rohe, just to name a few –, for the highly-tactile exposed concrete and brass, a love inherited from Ignazio Gardella.

Paolo Rizzo, between architectural inventions and creative details, thus gave life to an eccentric environment, minimal at first sight, but actually decorative. Being a designer, he skilfully combined the masters’ pieces with his creations.

“Given my profession, I wanted to amaze with special effects: vanity is definitely my favourite sin”, the landlord remarked.

Renovation project by architect Paolo Rizzo - Photography and text by Michele Biancucci - Styling Elena Ciccioli

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