Palazzo Spinelli: this is how new life has emerged in this historic building in Florence

Sabrina Benami: We believe that the design of the house always arises from a meeting between the personality of the people who will live in it and the personality of the building. As with any encounter, respect, sensitivity, and sincerity are required. For us, this creates the inspiration and foundation for the project, which is always fresh and contemporary. Living in old buildings does not mean giving up on the “modern” lifestyle, as we often hear from our clients. If anything, it is to live in the present while also having a dialogue with the past… which leads to a richer experience.

Kitchen in polished brass and black marble. The overall design of the B-Arch.


Did you have to do a lot of renovation or is the soul of the house already exposed?

We scanned the building extensively, with tall projections on the ceilings, walls and floors, for traces of the past, looking for signs pointing the way forward. We also studied natural light very carefully. Light is always a central theme, especially in the oldest houses of the historic center of Florence, it is a rarity. However, at the same time, we were also accompanied by a vision of a contemporary lifestyle that brought new rituals – and why not? – To these places. – You should also find many surprises. With this said, we have found our way out of the predicament many clients get into when they are proposed to have a kitchen in the first room – that is, in the same room through which you enter the house. We have never thought of ‘dividing’ spaces: we often see ‘architectural tricks’, such as walls whose upper part is made of glass, to give the impression that spaces are undivided. We have solved this problem elegantly and flexibly by using panels. They can partially “close” the view of the kitchen and thereby highlight the dining table as an eye-catcher, but at the same time do not remove the entire depth of the room. By moving it around, you can open up the kitchen and make the central counter the focal point.

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