WALLPAPER* ARCHITECTS’ DIRECTORY 2019: Marcello Bondavalli, Nicola Brenna and Carlo Alberto Tagliabue established Studio Wok in Milan in 2012. Taking an artisanal approach to each project, their priorities include environmental sustainability, choosing materials that evolve over time, and building positive spaces, evident in their modern renovation of a farmhouse (pictured) near Verona.
Milan-based architecture practice Studio Wok engages, above all else, with the idea of ‘habitat’. As well as creating walls and structures, they sensitively approach the site, ensuring the ultimate symbiosis between place, environment, concept and materiality.
‘For the development of our work, we carefully note the physical features of the project site: the landscape, the materials that characterise the area, the light, the atmosphere,’ the trio explains of their site-specific approach.
Ecological responsibiltiy is also high on the studio’s priorities list, and provides a foundation for each project on the portfolio: ‘Our aim, as Italian architects, is to work on the sense of responsibility for the sustainability of the landscape. Our approach is guided by the search for beauty, not only expressed in the quality in the choice of materials, but above all, the harmony between architectural components and their surrounding territory – without renouncing energy efficiency.’
Studio Wok’s work has taken them across Italy, from a chocolate-box ice cream laboratory in Milan (that we first featured back in 2018), to this particularly impressive farmstead conversion (pictured) in Chievo, at the gates of Verona, where history and modernity converse. Here, facing the garden – and framing an evocatively solitary magnolia tree (preserved at the client’s request) – a large original arch has been reopened to recall the site’s historical agricultural function.
‘Our approach is guided by the search for beauty’ – STUDIO WOK
Inside, birch plywood cladding scales the upper walls and ceiling, adding textural, warm wood tones. These are carried onto elements of the facade, where the front facing courtyard is characterised by a glass wall, punctuated by wooden uprights, nodding to the (often characterfully fractured) wooden walls typical of barns across local rural courts.
Founded in 2012, Studio Wok soon gathered a series of international publications, commissions and awards, stemming from a shift in focus towards what the studio calls ‘quality of living’. It’s a sensitive and holistic approach, where ‘conceiving, designing and building positive environmental conditions’ is the defining aim. Refreshingly, this approach underpins the studio’s urban projects, as well as its residential ones – look out for an award-winning school designed by the studio come to light in the near future. §