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How to illuminate an open space with Karman: the example of Messner House

Posted On 21 November 2019

In the marvellous natural expression that represents the highly suggestive landscape of South Tyrol, at the foot of the Sciliar massif, is the dolomitic plateau “Alpe di Siusi”. In this splendid setting, a simple barn has been reborn as a private residence: Messner House.

The lighting design project was taken over by the Karman team, who wanted to bring the historical and characteristic South Tyrolean tradition back into that particular home, recreating the same enchantment that nature spontaneously creates in those magical places.

The challenge that Karman faced with this new home was creating a lighting design project that could communicate tradition and, at the same time, depend exclusively on it, detaching itself just enough to define a personal identity, a new way to live and give the entire structure a different perception of the domestic space.

In summary, Karman had to deal with the demanding task of working with the remains of an abandoned house in the centre of town dating back to 1850 in Alto Adige, at 1100 meters above sea level, at the foot of the Alpe di Siusi, recognised as a Unesco World Heritage for its naturalistic beauties.

Therefore, it was essential for the noa* studio in Bolzano, which took over the renovation project, to respect the original construction and the urban layout of the town, even if this project was an opportunity for them to give the home a personal touch since, ultimately, they were the clients. They aspired to move away from traditional standards to architecturally recover the taste of their childhood memories spent among those mountains.

The Karman team, consequently, had to adapt the lighting design project to the type of structure conceived by the designers, who wanted to give life to the ideal house born with two souls: externally, a traditional alpine dwelling, perfectly inserted in the surrounding scenery; internally, the owners’ visionary representation, or rather the surprise of an unusual, innovative space free from schemes.


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Architecture that manages to create a dialogue between the past and present

Messner House opens its curtain on the ground floor, where we find a large open space, divided into three different functional islands: the conversation corner, the dining area and the kitchen have been designed to recreate an atmosphere of public conviviality typical of the squares of mountain villages and more.

The house then develops upwards vertically, where the classic rooms that form traditional interiors have been replaced with 'floating boxes', positioned at different heights. This idea was conceived because, along the stairs and walkways that connect the boxes between them, one has the feeling of going up a mountain path that leads to the summit.

These walkways not only connect but house the remaining rooms, including the library and bathrooms, which have visible bathtubs and showers, leaving only the toilets inside.

In general, as you go upwards, the structure creates an ever-increasing level of privacy and intimacy, but only up to the highest box that contains the sauna, as this area was designed to open up to the scenery of the Santner mountain.

The uniqueness that characterises the interior spaces is also perceived externally, through the contrast with the traditional façades: the two boxes of the rooms, clad in copper, are visible from the north from the external wooden façade, a feature designed to create a significant contrast of materials, while from the south the sauna box shines through the window.

The architecture is extremely courageous because it is a risky innovation capable of evoking an atmosphere with a highly sought after antique flavour. The structure in larch that supports the floating boxes, with the roof truss at 12 meters high and ample space, presents the image of old barns.


How to illuminate an open space with Karman: the example of Messner House


The lighting design project designed by Karman

Karman wanted to make the most of the lighting for this ambitious project, so they started with the study of natural light, which was fully taken advantage of throughout the entire structure.

As for the exterior, the south façade is entirely made up of a large window, where the light is filtered through an external wooden grid, located about 2.5 meters from the front. The roof that shades the interior during the hottest hours of the summer season is equipped with a skylight open to the east, which provides an additional contribution by exploiting the zenithal light.

On the northern side, on the other hand, no window has been provided.

Taking these features into account, Karman used the following lighting systems to illuminate the interiors: in the area dedicated to the double-height living area, suspended lights prevail to guarantee punctual and specific lighting for the various functional areas, in particular, for the dining room and kitchen.

The Karman lamps that proved to be the most suitable for the project are the Domenica and Sahara lamps.

Karman’s Domenica lamp breaks us the monotony like a day of celebration, goes beyond matter and explodes into space, spreading like an evocative melody.


How to illuminate an open space with Karman: the example of Messner House Domenica


The collection provides an appliqué and a suspension lamp, and its structure is composed of white plaster with the addition of a white metal mesh.

Karman chose this lamp because it combines perfectly with the project’s intent to play with the stylistic contrast between old and modern and the flavours of the past and the innovation of the present.

The Domenica lamp by Karman responds optimally to the needs of the project, thanks to its break design that transmits the project's message very clearly.

The Sahara lamp, on the other hand, was chosen for the warm light it emanates, like a suspended oasis, a material that becomes alive, shiny and lively in its emerald green, with an evocative power that remains intact even in the pure white version.


How to illuminate an open space with Karman: the example of Messner House Sahara


In the Karman collection, this suspension lamp has a double-coloured ceramic structure: copper green on the outside and white on the inside.

The Sahara lamp proved to be the perfect solution to recall a vintage style able to communicate the ancient style of the external facades with the modernity of the interior, through the use of a structure with a vintage design that nevertheless has a fresh and modern soul.

To illuminate a very characteristic open space like this, Karman prepared for a strategic positioning of both the Domenica lamp and the Sahara lamp, to give continuity and fluidity to the various areas of the interior, joining the high ability of functional lighting to the activities carried out in the various spaces, with an optimal design to continually underline the concept and ideals with which the Messner House project was conceived and realised.


How to illuminate an open space with Karman: the example of Messner House Domenica Sahara

Domenica and Sahara

The optimal lighting design for every type of open space

Illuminating an open space requires strategies that adapt specifically to the reference project, which is an essential element for drafting a lighting design project that is tailored to the client’s needs.

The Karman team carried out the Messner House project with professionalism, complying with the client’s requests without ever disrespect the environmental framework in which the structure is immersed. All the lighting was designed by trying to restore, with artificial light in the evening, the same quality of natural light that the South Tyrolean sun gives by day and around which the whole architectural project revolves.

This is where the Domenica and Sahara lamps by Karman come into play, whose unquestionably unique and highly recognisable designs have allowed the architectural project to be enriched with products that enjoy a high-level design and are handcrafted in the Karman laboratories.

Trusting in Karman products, you too will have the opportunity to enrich every project with style, functionality and luminous bodies created through the use of various types of materials. All this is done to offer you always innovative collections that never lose the charm of the past, one of the design features that differentiates the company Karman in its sector.

If you find yourself dealing with an open space project, as in the case described in this article, bringing your clients into the Karman universe, and you will surely have a positive response that will give merit and success to your lighting design project, both in indoor and outdoor.

Take a look at the collections used by Karman to illuminate Messner House, and make it one-of-a-kind, and include other collections based on the projects you need to realise and your client’s needs. You will discover that Karman has something for everyone, through a wide range of products made in Italy able to illuminate any indoor or outdoor structure, products all recognisable and attributable to Karman’s style from the first visual impact.


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For more information, support and assistance in choosing the right impactful models of modern suspension lamps for bedrooms, do not hesitate to contact us at this link. We are at your complete disposal.

Camilla Rossi


Camilla Rossi


Karman, an Italian company, was founded in 2005 in Fossombrone. The company's world moves itself with simplicity towards an original and personal decorative use of lighting in both private surroundings and public spaces.