Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Twirl in Milan, Italy by Zaha Hadid Architects
May 25th, 2011 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Zaha Hadid
This project is a contemporary interpretation of the architecture of the 16th-century courtyard of the State University of Milan,translated and transformed from rigid Cartesian geometries into the linear fluidity of dynamic space. Adapting to the natural contours of the courtyard and the forces that converge towards its center, the project emphasizes the slope of the arches, creating a powerful vortex of spatial distortion that favors dialogue with the surrounding colonnade.
The development of the complex threedimensional curved geometries of the installation, starting with the flat ceramic tiles, adds another level of complexity to the whole. Visitors are encouraged to explore the sculptural sensibility and formal dynamic of different elements in which the balanced relationship between solids and voids expresses the project solution. Each individual piece can be interpreted not only as a whole, but also as a captured fragment of a magnetic field. A certain margin of strangeness introduces a stimulus that has evolved between latent force and physical material.
The project consists of planar ceramic labs (Slimtech by Lea Ceramiche), 1 meter wide, cut at various heights, up to 2 meters. The edges follow the elegant flow of the geometry that corresponds to an overall tiled surface of 800 m2. Each panel is composed of two layers of ultra-thin tiles (3mm). For the installation 7 different color codes have been used, creating shadings from white to black. Seen from the side, the various colors give rise to constant changes of appearance, taking advantage of the changes in the daylight and the nature of the curvature.
The installation transforms the courtyard into a space that constantly alters its form and color, depending on multiple perspectives. It aligns the deformed grid of the colonnade with the tiles of the pixelated floor, and underscores the shadow of the vertical tiles. A series of fluorescent tubes (Algoritmo lamps specially produced by Artemide, designed by Carlotta De Bevilacqua) spread light from the center toward the edges of the site, lighting the existing architecture and forming a link between the rigid Cartesian setting and the linear fluidity of the installation.
Zaha Hadid, founder of Zaha Hadid Architects, was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize (considered to be the Nobel Prize of architecture) in 2004 and is internationally known for both her theoretical and academic work. Each of her dynamic and innovative projects builds on over thirty years of revolutionary exploration and research in the interrelated fields of urbanism, architecture and design. Working with senior office partner Patrik Schumacher, Hadid’s interest lies in the rigorous interface between architecture, landscape and geology, as her practice integrates natural topography and humanmade systems, leading to experimentation with cutting-edge technologies. Such a process often results in unexpected and dynamic architectural forms.
The Guangzhou Opera House, the first project realised in China; the maxxi: National Museum of 21st Century Arts in Rome, Italy; the bmw Central Building in Leipzig, Germany and the Phaeno Science Center in Wolfsburg, Germany are excellent demonstrations of Hadid’s quest for complex, fluid space. Previous fundamental buildings such as the Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati, Ohio, have also been hailed as architecture that transforms our vision of the future with new spatial concepts and bold, visionary forms.
Currently Hadid is working on a multitude of projects worldwide including: the London Aquatics Centre for the 2012 Olympic Games; high-speed train stations in Naples and Durango; the cma cgm Headquarters tower in Marseille; the masterplan and the tower for Citylife in Milan, as well as major master-planning projects in Beijing, Bilbao, Istanbul and Singapore. Zaha Hadid’s work of the past 30 years was the subject of critically-acclaimed retrospective exhibitions at New York’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 2006, London’s Design Museum in 2007 and the Palazzo della Ragione, Padova, Italy in 2009. Her recently completed projects include the maxxi Museum in Rome; the innovative Nordpark Railway Stations in Innsbruck, Austria; Mobile Art for Chanel in Hong Kong, Tokyo, New York and Paris; the new Zaragoza Bridge in Spain and the Burnham Pavilion in Chicago.
Excellence, innovation, enthusiasm, aesthetics, competency and reliability: these are the founding values of Lea Ceramiche, the Fiorano Modenese-based company which designs and produces floor and wall ceramics for all kinds of settings. The company’s ability to innovate lies in its continuous experimentation, which leads to the development of cutting-edge production systems and technologies and allows Lea Ceramiche to supply its customers with a wide range of high quality products which lie at the top end of the market in terms of excellent technical performance and design qualities.
Slimtech is one example of this: the revolutionary laminated stoneware, just 3 mm thick and extra-sized at 1×3 metres,suited for uses which until now have not been accessible to traditional ceramics. This product is the main material used in Zaha Hadid’s installation for Interni Mutant Architechure&Design 2011. Lea Ceramiche is part of Panariagroup Industrie Ceramiche S.p.a., a leading international ceramics group quoted in the Star segment of the Italian stock exchange. Design and Technology Made in Italy for New Surfaces . Slimtech is the ultra-thin 3mm laminated porcelain that comes in extremely large formats. With a wider chromatic palette, the collection has a total of 23 colors presented in 7 product series: Lines and Waves designed by Patrick Norguet; Mauk and Gouache.10 designed by Diego Grandi; Slimtech Basaltina, Slimtech Arenaria and Slimtech Shade by the Lea research dept.
Slimtech is the new creation that completes the project of Surfaces by Lea Ceramiche. Thanks to the innovative porcelain compactiontechnology that revolutionized the traditional production process, Slimtech is produced in full slabs of 3×1 meter without using any mold. Starting with an accurate selection of raw materials wet-grinded and made into an atomized powder, we proceed with compaction and pressing with a strength of 15.000 tons.
The slabs obtained are then sintered at 1200 Celsius through firing in kilns, reducing the CO2 emissions and the dispersion of think powders. Thin and Light (a piece of 40×40” that is 3mm thick weights only 15.4 lbs), Slimtech is ideal for the renewal of floors. The thin slab can be simply laid over the old surface avoiding demolition and production of waste. This drastically reduces installation time and the existing doors don’t need to be cut or filed.
Easy to cut, shape, perforate and install, thanks to its reduced thickness, Slimtech allows for great precision and continuity in the plan of the floor. Moreover, with less joints, it reduces the problems linked to maintenance and sanitation, particularly in public areas. Resistant (impact tested), reliable (guaranteed up to 20 years) and flexible, it can be used in multiple ways: for outside applications like ventilated facades and covering of entire buildings and for the flooring of terrazzo, porches and lodges.
And for indoor applications as wall coverings, floors, panel walls, false ceilings, elevated floors, doors, closets, kitchen and bath countertops. Available in 3 versions: Slimtech 3 mm for wall covering only; Slimtech Plus 3.5 mm reinforced with fiberglass backing for both floors and walls; Slimtech Twin 7 mm with a double layer of material and fiberglass in the middle for extremely heavy traffic areas.
Contact Zaha Hadid architects