There is a reflective calm to Claudio Silvestrin’s work. His minimalism is elegant and soulful, executed with clarity of mind, creative ingenuity, and a concern for details. It is therefore no wonder why successful personalities such as Giorgio Armani, Anish Kapoor, Calvin Klein, Poltrona Frau, Victoria Miro, and Kanye West have sought his services.
An award-winning architect, Claudio Silvestrin studied under A. G. Fronzoni in Milan and at the Architectural Association in London. He established his firm, Claudio Silvestrin Architects, in 1989 with offices in London, and later, in 2006, with offices in Milan. But Silvestrin has not limited his creative energy to architecture alone; his kitchen, baths, tiles, and objects have entranced users with a Zen-like peace and beauty, making his work both prolific and versatile.
When it comes to his philosophy on architecture, Silvestrin has been described as ‘anti-room,’ meaning that he prefers to think of space in terms of how it is to function, to be lived in ? relaxing, conversing, sleeping, eating, and so on. A strict focus on rooms, he feels, causes one to lose sight of why architecture exists in the first place. Rooms, he feels, close people off to one another.
To this end, he asks, “Why should people buy a box and then box it in some more?”
Hence his work remains open and unspoiled, in harmony with the context in which it is built. Some of his recent architectural projects include a 30-bedroom cloistered hostel for visiting scientists and artists for a foundation in Germany called Hombroich. Here, international bio-scientists and sculptors, poets and philosophers, writers and painters will exchange ideas, hold seminars, and take a sabbatical. Silverstrin used Cistercian architecture as his muse for this project. His firm has also completed the Victoria Miro private collection space, a museum in Turin for the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Jay Jopling’s White Cube gallery in London and the Calvin Klein store in Paris.
For Brix, Silvestrin designed a fluid, jointless tile system called Frammenti. Imagining this system as a field of small, square fragments, Silvestrin created tile like no other, tile that seems weightless as it illuminates the purity and essence of the material.
And for Boffi, Silvestrin designed I Fiumi, a series of bathroom shelves with panels of wood or white Corian, assembled by a folding technique. By eliminating the need for handles, the shelves are seamless and magical, coming to life with a light, almost floating quality. Similarly, his bathtub for Boffi, Po, can be produced in either Corian or stone, and stands apart from other tubs with its graceful oval form that envelops the user in sensual calm.
A modest sketch inspired by Silvestrin’s Aquapura project in Brazil drew viewers in to its otherworldly, almost childlike space during PaperLove 2008. ‘Essence’ was exhibited and auctioned to help raise funds to support cancer research.
Silvestrin is an architect and a designer with great sensitivity to his surroundings and to the effects of light and color. His artistry produces work that is as visually compelling as it is soul-moving, as awe-inspiring as it is functional. There is little doubt that he is indeed one of the finest creatives of our time.
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