As architect and lighting designer for Targetti (one of Italy's premier developer/ manufacturers of contemporary lighting fixtures), Mastro created interiors and lighting plans for Targetti's showrooms and stores throughout Italy. She was then commissioned to completely redesign the conference room at company headquarters in Florence.


Long underused, the room was to become the focus of Targetti's expansive initiatives.


Although long and narrow, with an all-glass window wall and an entryway only seven-and-a-half feet high, it would be needed for staff meetings, receptions, and classes (part of Targetti's collaboration with the University of Florence a laboratory for advanced research in lighting design). So components for hospitality and extensive media facilities had to be incorporated into the makeover program.


Using ingenuity and her knowledge of both the region's historic architecture and Targetti's contemporary products, Mastro designed several innovative components, then combined them harmoniously into a radical and highly effective transformation.


First, the entry foyer. Drama was created within its tight dimensions with a curved wall of wood, painted in textured copper, setting off walls of frosted glass leading to the conference room beyond.


The entry wall was of stone in horizontal bands of contrasting color chosen as a reference to Florence's Renaissance cathedrals, and for their ability to create the illusion of height.


A modern kitchen for easy hospitality was built to the right, and access to the room was on the left.


The entry's compression lifted suddenly in the conference room, where the ceiling rose, but only to nine feet. The window wall was lined with slatted wood radiator covers, echoed exactly by storage space on the wall opposite. At the far end of the room, white floor-to-ceiling sliding doors concealed chairs and audio-visual equipment required for classes, and served (when closed) as a screen for film and slide projections.


Commanding the room's center, and its visual highlight, was an octagonal conference table, a piece of sculptural geometry custom-designed by Mastro in graphite gray laminate; its modules could be artfully reconfigured and reassembled as needed. Lighting was another challenge, which Mastro met by showcasing Targetti's new top-of-the-line Struturella lights.


Mounted on small tracks, these miniature halogen fixtures could be positioned for intense illumination, yet extended down only inches from the nine-foot ceiling.


What now appeared at first glance to be a hospitable room of gracious proportions was actually a compact and attractive space created by the interplay of light, color, texture, and beautifully designed, flexible components. Like many projects of restricted size and multiple functions, its very limitations became powerful catalysts for imagination and creativity.


Architect/designer: Giusi Mastro