By Phil Roberts…
Producing intricately detailed projects is why clients keep coming back to Capoferro. The Toronto design-build firm’s staff of architects are supported by a field crew of in-house personnel. They employ foremen, craftsmen and carpenters who make sure that the design concepts are executed on-site.
“With a closer construction review process, we don’t get bogged down in paperwork,” says president of Capoferro, Francesco Di Sarra. The company has two divisions: FrankFranco Architects, consisting of architectural & interior design services, and Capoferro, which is the project management and construction arm. Even with two separate businesses operating under the same roof, there remains a seamless communication between the two and between internal and external agents. That reciprocity is reflected in their projects in both intangible and tactile ways.
For one residential project in Kleinburg, Ontario, they designed a house with a diversity of spiritual aspects for a client who prayed frequently in a meditative manner. The house is called Argento, which means silver in Italian, because of its overall use of grey metals as decorative and practical features. There is a long, vertical handle on the glass front door panel with excerpts from a religious book, punched through in a Braille pattern. Natural light passes through the handle into the house. The scripture inspiration gives the handle the appearance of an artefact, linking exterior and interior in a spiritual and architectural connection. Since the Braille is on the door handle, one is forced to interact with it, so it’s not just a visual feature, but a tactile one. Similar patterns can be found on various elements throughout the house. “Braille is a language of touch,” says Di Sarra. “The pattern, which reads like a lattice work, acts as a prayer for when the owner leaves the house.”
Many of the firm’s house projects have inspired unique architectural objects and furniture, displaying a scale transcending continuity throughout their work. “As someone walks up the driveway towards one of our houses, they may see a certain form or shape on the roof from a distance, but when they enter the house that same form or shape will be appear as part of a table or another unique object,” Di Sarra explains.
Zooming out of details, super-sizing others, while playing with scale, is a skill that is worked on in-house, on paper and in the shop. Attached to the office is a workshop, which includes a new CNC machine, an acquisition to demonstrate their deft at fabricating custom architectural objects and mock-ups of details at 1:1. “It’s great when you can take clients through the shop to look at full scale mock-ups and show them their custom designed furniture pieces in progress,” says Di Sarra.
Phil Roberts is the creator of sixty7 Architecture Road.