Every project we develop is unique and, for us, is very important to analyse them in order to measure their success. It’s not always an easy task because what we design is not just related to quantities.

Every project we develop is unique and, for us, is very important to analyse them in order to measure their success. It’s not always an easy task because what we design is not just related to quantities.

With our homes we want to create welcoming spaces, making our tenants feel at home since they step through the entrance door. It’s a challenging goal because there’s not a defined process to obtain a homy environment, therefore we need to create our personal one, a Colonies one. We always try to keep some elements of the existing structure, because these give the house an added value that we couldn't create otherwise, it tells a story. As an example, an old staircase might show signs of the time, but it also makes the space feel inhabited and it gives a glimpse on the house's history. A little bit of imperfections can create a warm environment, but we always need to balance with functionality and efficiency (for example, old windows can be charming but, if not working properly, they can affect in a bad way the tenants’ experience and wellbeing). The tenants are, infact, the centre of our projects and, for this reason, our job is not done when we open a house, it’s not when we gain new residents' trust, it’s not when we receive feedback from them. Our job is to keep an ongoing conversation and connection with them to maintain a friendly environment and really understand their opinions and user experience. This is how our choices have been evolving since the first house opened, adapting  more and more “the box” to its content.

What is key for us is that we don’t want to simply design spaces, we want to design experiences. We want to make the Colonies stay unique for our tenants, something they will remember for life.However, in the very end, a house is not a home without a community in it and this is something that goes beyond our faculty. We can’t plan something that needs to have a natural evolution, but we can make sure we’ll offer the best possibilities for this to happen. Human bonds will always be first and foremost in each ones’ life, our intention is to sustain those as much as we can.These are some steps of our process to create a homy feeling, a process where most of the decisions are a balance between technicality and perceptions, and it changes for every project. Every time and every project is a new process because there is not a formula we can rely on and, most importantly, we don’t want to have one. We want to keep the human factor alive and the only way to perceive it is designing with both our minds and our hearts.

This is why every project is unique, this is the beauty of being immeasurable.

Written by Carlotta Valente, Junior architect in the Product team at Colonies

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Colonies