We all remember the travertine façade with its chessboard-like pattern of openings wrapped around his beautiful ‘Lotus House’. Recently the master of structural surfaces and façades, the Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, realised this impressing 2826 m2 installation made from technical porcelain stoneware slabs for the Italian ceramics manufacturer Casalgrande Padana.
“The ‘CCCloud’ transversally divides the space of a roundabout like a thin diaphragm curtain dynamically attracting the viewers’ sight. The layout plan of the work is oblong and streamlined at the ends and the central section reaches a maximum width of 1,7 metres. It is almost 12 metre tall.
For the first time, ceramic material is tested for structural purposes. Its 3D structure is composed of nine layers of large technical porcelain stoneware slabs (60x120cm) – standard production items by Casalgrande Padana – placed one onto the others and interconnected by means of thin hidden threaded bars. The innovative nature of the project and the need for unconventional solutions called for the active participation of Casalgrande Padana as co-protagonist of the project, constantly exchanging contributions and know-how: on one hand a constant and sophisticated instrumental verification, which has seen two groups of Italian and Japanese professionals involved in a constant remote dialogue; on the other hand the constant design and construction by the experts working for the company of the numerous prototypes which preceded the final construction.”
“The work is the fruit of an agreement between the Company that has incurred the financial costs of the initiative and the municipal authorities of Casalgrande and will be donated to the community, thus contributing to the enhancement of the changing locations of Italian landscape through a top-quality modern work.
To design this work, Casalgrande Padana has chosen not only Kengo Kuma and his staff as its main interlocutors, but also the University, represented by professors Alfonso Acocella and Luigi Alini, both involved in a wider research project on ceramic materials which was assigned by Casalgrande Padana to the Faculties of Architecture of Ferrara and Siracusa. The University has played and important mediation and interrelation role between the client, the architectural and structural planning team, the light project team coordinated by Mario Nanni on behalf of Viabizzuno, the team involved in the narration and communication of the work. It cannot be denied that the Casalgrande Padana’s CEO, Franco Manfredini, was farsighted when he understood the potentials of a synergy between complementary sectors and started an innovative and mutually beneficial interaction process between the production of the company, the culture of project and university research and training.”
Location: Casalgrande, (Reggio Emilia) Italia
Area: 2,826 Square metres
Material: Unglazed stoneware slabs, 1200 x 600 x 14 mm, stone, steel
Max. height: 5,90 m
Date of completion: September 2010
Architecture: Kengo Kuma & Associates
Project Manager: Mauro Filippini, Casalgrande Padana S.p.a.
Cost supervisor: Mauro Filippini, Casalgrande Padana S.p.a.
Engineering: Ejiri Structural Engineers (Tokyo) Norihiro Ejiri and Pieter Ochelen,
Architecture: Alfonso Acocella, Università degli Studi di Ferrara; Luigi Alini, Università degli Studi di Catania
Urban Planing: Angelo Silingardi (CCdP)
Structures: Enrico Rombi (CCdP); Alberto Zen (CCdP);
Systems: Cesare Brizzi, Luigi Massa, Casalgrande Padana S.p.a.
Lighting: Mario Nanni (principal charge), Federica Soprani
Communication: Nadia Giullari, Elisa Grisendi, Sara Costi, Veronica Dal Buono
to the Kengo Kuma profile @ Architonic