Rhapsody in blue
ANTICHE FORNACI D'AGOSTINO
One might be tempted to make grandiose references to the genius loci or to postmodern examples of free design gestures inspired by nature, but in reality this architectural project has a simple objective. It is a fragment of residential building that strives to emerge from the typological and tonal uniformity of the surrounding fabric, consisting of regular four or five floor buildings with clearly defined volumes and orderly, linear facades. This aim is achieved thanks to the use of precise design solutions to create a strong identity, namely the interplay of materials used on the envelope and the movement and diversification of the colours of the facade. The six-storey building, designed by architect Carmelo Pagnotta, is an articulated volume traversed by flowing lines. And while the dynamic profile of the terraces, the hint of a curved gable and the sinuous vertical glass stairway at the centre of the façade are all elements that suggest the shape of a wave, the marine metaphor is driven home by the lively blue colour of the external cladding. The envelope consists largely of Blu Mare and Blu Notte tiles from the Riflessi di Cava collection produced by Antiche Fornaci d’Agostino, a Salerno-based company founded in 1823.
These tiles are produced in a region that boasts an age-old ceramic tradition as well as the expertise needed to recreate natural Mediterranean colours on tiles (in this case enhanced by a lava based body that enlivens the glazes) and to encapsulate the extraordinary rendering of the dark and light blue tones in a language and mark of origin. The glazed surfaces display a variety of effects, free irregularities, indeterminate shades, manual brush strokes, light and shadows, unexpected transparencies, random concentrations and dispersions of colour, layered films that recall the depth of the nearby sea and almost challenge the building to a play of mimicry with the sky. The portions of the ceramic envelope become a compact blue wall surmounted by a darker band that the strictly white waves of the balconies break against, contrasting with the vertical strips of plaster in a yellow (a reference to the Mediterranean light) or burnt clay colour.
Each of the six floors that make up the building (along with a basement level) is divided into two 116 square metre apartments served by the central stairway/lift unit. Here too, the ceramic sea crashes in to create a virtual connection between the inside and outside of the building. A portion of the hallway between the apartments is paved with blue ceramic tiles, a kind of pool of water that begins at the exit from the elevator. Likewise, the final section of the wall on each flight of stairs features ceramic tiling with an irregular curved design, like one last wave that pushes users on and upwards towards the landing.
Antiche Fornaci d'Agostino, Riflessi di Cava collection
Blu Notte - Blu Mare
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): ≤ 3%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): classe A
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): ≥ 30 N/mm2
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant