When it comes to the notion of a property with breathtaking views, the ante has been significantly upped thanks to Santambrogio Milano, a design collective that specialises in glass houses.
The brainchild of architects and product designers Carlo Santambrogio and Ennio Arosio, the enterprise (which has offices in Italy, London and New York) creates custom glass houses in a variety of sizes and dimensions (from €3,500 per sq m). It uses extra clear Diamant glass from Saint Gobain Glass (used to build IM Pei’s pyramid at the Louvre) for every specification, from crystal clear kitchen counters to staircases and bookshelves.
The designers work with a client using the Glass Concept Home (pictured) as a starting point, to identify and create a structure that works within a particular landscape, and meets the individual’s needs. The resulting designs range from simple, streamlined spaces (from 25sq m) to three-floor villas with luxury amenities. Depending on the location – a snowy mountain setting or a warm, seaside site – the architects vary the thicknesses of the structural glass to ensure just the right heating and insulation, to retain warmth in the winter and remain cool in the summer. Walls and ceilings are created from especially thick glass, while all surfaces are tempered and laminated to prevent glare and the build-up of precipitation.
For the customer who craves a little more privacy, Santambrogio is happy to mix the glass with other materials and finishes – stone or wood – as well as coloured, frosted or opaque glass to shield certain areas from prying eyes. The spaces also lend themselves to dramatic floor-to-ceiling curtains.
Most commissions take three months to a year – a small wait, however, for a lifetime of sleeping under the stars.