Every age has its colour
Studio Dubini, Risari e Melzi d'Eril Associati
FAES Monforte in Milan is no ordinary school; and that’s not just because it’s a girls’ independent school. Run by “FAmiglia E Scuola”, an association more commonly known by the acronym FAES, the school has built its methodology on the belief that every child’s educational journey should be based on a partnership between school and family. The method first took hold in the 1960s and is based on the principles developed by Saint Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer, the founder of Opus Dei. It is now used, under various names, in 25 different countries. Founded in 1974 in Milan, FAES celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, and still offers a tailored education designed to give students the best possible opportunity to realise their full potential.
FAES Monforte comprises a kindergarten, a primary school, a secondary school, a classical high school and a scientific high school, all housed in a school building dating back to 1935. This was originally run by a religious institute, before being taken over by FAES, which financed the remodelling project undertaken by the firm Dubini, Risari e Melzi d’Eril Associati.
The work involved upgrading the building to meet new regulatory requirements, and installing heating systems and electrical installations that make extensive use of energy-saving technologies. A geothermal system, for example, draws water from the ground to heat the school; and brightness sensors, combined with the classroom lighting system, switch the lights on or off according to changing conditions of light intensity at different times of day. The project has transformed the interiors into a series of stimulating environments, where the design interacts with the FAES educational method, through the captivating language of colour and imagery, with a view to shaping students’ use of the space. This principle has been applied to the collective toilet facilities on the lower ground floor, the reception rooms for parents and the offices for the school’s management on the ground floor; the kindergarten on the mezzanine floor, the primary school on the first floor, and the secondary and high schools on the second floor.
Each storey is decorated with different colours and gigantic photographs donated to the school by Alessandra Soresina, a nature photographer. The colour scheme makes judicious use of the tones that experts in the psychology of colour consider to be the most appropriately stimulating for the various age ranges and activities concerned; in other words, light blue for the kindergarten; orange for the pre-school; green and orange for the primary school classrooms and blue for their laboratories; and red, orange and yellow for the secondary school and high school.
The school’s interiors therefore differ according to the age groups and activities for which they are used. The only constant against this changing backdrop is the grey porcelain tile of the walkways, which were created by laying tiles from the More series, manufactured by Caesar, over the existing flooring, for an overall total of approximately 6000 square metres. Chosen partly for its wear-resistance and ease of maintenance, and partly for the reassuring sense of chromatic continuity that it provides, the new flooring, in conjunction with the pure white of the walls, creates the right conditions to allow a powerful injection of colour. Colour is always deployed on just one wall of each room, and the same colour is then reprised for the furnishings, lockers and aluminium suspended ceilings.
Caesar, More series
60x60 - 89,5x89,5
Irirdium (Light grey)
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): 0,05%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): compliant
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): <= 145 mm3
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): >= 50 N/mm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R9 naturale-matt
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant