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The Sensorial Designs of Claudio Silvestrin: Minimalism as a Catalyst of Deeper Expression

By Maria Lorena Lehman — Get more articles like this sent to your email HERE.

Image Credit: © Aldo Castoldi


To experience the latest book by Claudio Silvestrin is to experience architecture on a more spiritual level. The book is entitled Claudio Silvestrin’s Timeless Italian Style Architecture Design Philosophy (affiliate link), and as I turned the pages to consciously experience his work, I savored the moments as they evoked peace, joy, and even spiritual sensibility. Throughout, Silvestrin’s spatial sketches translate into built form similar to the way strategically placed words on a page transform into poetic meaning.

Claudio Silvestrin’s architectural projects showcased on each page, take the reader on a journey where light engages with form to create poetic experience that captures the essence of beauty through function. As details echo throughout the spaces Silvestrin creates, one is drawn in – not only to the space, but subsequently into themselves as a point of reflection.


Architectural designs for the Giorgio Armani Stores manifest Claudio Silvestrin’s philosophy, “It is not a matter of scale, proportions, light efficiency, floor finishes, and white walls. It is a matter of awakening people’s sensitivity”. (1) Essentially, I found that the architecture, with integrated technology that appears purposefully “invisible”, sparks a ripple effect where the architecture and clothing are extensions of each other.

In the Giada Store, I could feel how architectural moments where water and stone together sculpt the space, can feed the soul through the senses. Silvestrin uses the texture of stone to juxtapose and complement the textures of clothing, to ultimately find the reciprocal language of texture where each stands more authentically because of the other. The experiential journey of Claudio Silvestrin’s architecture translates throughout the pages of this book, as one can feel how people simply “belong” in these spaces, being fully with themselves in the universe. The architecture connects to such oneness of being.

Silvestrin’s projects convey both a sense of deep familiarity and wondrous discovery, and this paradoxical condition appeals to what makes us most human. The architecture does not confine with minimalism. Instead, it leverages minimalism as a catalyst for deeper expression.

Click Here (affiliate link) to learn more about or to order Claudio Silvestrin’s book.


(1) Silvestrin, Claudio. (2019) Claudio Silvestrin’s Timeless Italian Style Architecture Design Philosophy. Digital Media Publishing Ltd.


I had the opportunity to ask Claudio Silvestrin three key questions that capture the essence of sensorial architectural design. It was an honor to gain the following insights from such a master of design.

Each of my questions is followed by Silvestrin’s answers – in his own words:

1. What is the most important part of your design process to get right in order to achieve high level poetics for sensory experience?

The principal moral is that the idea, (or thought, intuition, sparkle) that comes to me, it should not be my point of view, I should not be arbitrary: the idea must line-up with the ethereal forces of the Universe, the evolution of our earth and our being.

2. What is your design philosophy on the balance and/or fusion between essence of form and innovation of form? How does technology fit in?

Innovation gives a life force to what is lacking of vitality, to what is soulless, merely material. At the same time innovation should be connected to the essence of form, space and time, that is their quality and not their quantity. For instance, we measure up space (tape measure), time (watch), nature and beings (academic science), merely as objects and numbers but this activity disregards the wholeness of life, to measure is about quantity not quality.

It is the manifestation of quality I am after, it’s essence. In order to manifest the quality of space, Technology may be present but it should not be dominant or on show. Technology, in my works, is concealed (the original apple iPhone is a good example of hidden technology).

3. How would you like to see architectural design evolve into the future? Would it be different from the architecture of today? If yes, how so?

Today we are dominated by materialistic thought in science and culture in general, architecture too of course. In a remote future architecture will return to its sacred origins, that is, detached from materialistic goals: materials, forms and ideas will aim at our whole evolution by searching for the manifestation of the spiritual and the ethereal aspects of our life and planet earth (a new heaven and a new earth).




what members are saying...
Maria: I came across your website through a reference in today's Architect Weekly ezine and am delighted I did. I'll bookmark your site and check back often. I read the first article and then the second and thirty minutes later realized how much time had passed. I've been practicing for thirty years and have always missed the stimulation of academia. I find each of your brief dissertations sort of like a day in design studio. Thanks for the inspiration.

Ron Ward
AI Group Design
I am excited to see you touch a vein of values in architecture, I have been chasing myself for years. Your depth of involvement in these very deep subjects is really beautiful and passionately dealt with and well written. Sound, color and value, shape, texture, scale, smell.... all definitive measures of the spaces we should be alert to. [...] I will savor the rest of your investigation of sensuality in architecture. I'm Glad I found you.

Dennis McLaughlin
McLaughlin Architect
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Maria Lorena Lehman is a multi award-winning visionary author, designer, and educator from the United States. Maria holds a Bachelor of Architecture with Honors from Virginia Tech and a Master in Design with Distinction from Harvard University Graduate School of Design. CLICK HERE to learn more.

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