At his desk overlooking Politecnico di Milano is where architect Hannes Peer feels most at peace. ‘A home is where you feel comfortable and in Milan I feel accepted,’ he says. ‘I’ve lived and worked in many cities – in New York, Berlin and Rotterdam for Rem Koolhaas – but Milan always pulls me back.’
The architect set up his own practice from the comfort of this apartment in 2009. From within its walls he has designed homes for fashion designers and art collectors in Milan and beyond, as well as retail spaces from brands like N°21.
Creating a home, for Peer, is all about making someone feel at ease. ‘It should be a combination of the public and the private,’ he explains. ‘Sitting on the couch and seeing my desk feels exciting. It inspires me to think of new days, new projects and new adventures.’
The architect fell in love with this corner of Milan while studying at the Politecnico. ‘You have very beautiful homes here; historical apartments with high ceilings, which are stunning. They have marble floors, like mine, which in other areas are not so common.’
Peer’s apartment is designed around the concept of a palimpsest, overlaying 1960s Modernist details – like the window frames – with Neoclassical sculptures and contemporary lighting that picks out details in the fabrics and artworks. ‘My mother is an artist so I have several pieces by her here, as well as prototypes that I’ve designed or even built myself, like the chairs and lighting.’
There are many architects that influence his work, in particular, those who pay meticulous attention to the research process. Among them are Peter Zumthor and Aldo Rossi – ‘one of the finest architectural theorists in the field’. Their influences add to the palimpsest. ‘I try to absorb the best from each.’