Casa Totem, the secret apartment in the heart of Trastevere

January 25, 2022

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Casa Totem, the secret apartment in the heart of Trastevere


In Rome, in the heart of Trastevere, STUDIOTAMAT designed Casa Totem, an apartment of just 65 square meters on the first floor of a listed building to accommodate up to four travellers.

The apartment is spread over an entrance hall, two bedrooms, a kitchenette and a living area with flexible furnishings, in order to calibrate the historical peculiarities of the apartment and elements of contemporary architecture.

The apartment, originally covered with seventies wallpaper, has been stripped, revealing a layering of original colors and glazes of the time in which it was built: these were the starting point for the architects.

The wall left rough with the pre-existing scratched color and the brick vaulted ceiling characterize the entrance, where a circular mirror with a burgundy-colored sheet metal support that incorporates the mini Flos globe and linear appliques suspended in the void, are the only furnishings.

The “totem” – a multifunctional and sculptural volume that rises from the ground to the ceiling acts as a pivot for the reorganization of the spaces in the center of the apartment, dictating a completely new order for one of the bedrooms and the passage leading to the services, illuminated by a full-height window and featuring a small custom-made kitchenette at the back.

Hollowed out and articulated in an apparently casual way, the volume of the totem not only shields the living room from the bedroom, but also houses internal functions on all sides, such as wardrobes, lights, a refrigerator, a wine cellar, and a bookcase. An imposing horizontal top in black lacquered wood is set upon it, which projects towards the walls of the room, designed as a seat for the dining table or as a chaise-longue.

The casual use of color is the stylistic signature of the entire pied-à-terre, which alternates warm and cold shades to enhance the additions without overpowering the original colors.

The second bedroom, in a more secluded and independent position, appears as a game of clearly colored walls, finely decorated fabrics and geometrically elaborated materials; the perfectly integrated en-suite bathroom is separated from the rest by a perforated brick wall in terracotta from Mutina, part of the Celosia line designed by Patricia Urquiola, which partially screens the shower and the sink under the window overlooking the internal cloister.

Respecting the vocation of the neighborhood, which has always been to celebrate the shops and artisans who have marked its history, the whole project Casa Totem is tailor-made, from the furnishings to the lighting, in order to show a creative, vibrant city, far from clichés.