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Panariagroup ceramic surfaces chosen for the Holy See Pavilion

June 2018

Panariagroup has been chosen for the construction of one of the buildings of the first Holy See Pavilion at the XVI International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale, which will be held from May 26th to November 25th 2018.

The Panariagroup has contributed to the construction of the chapel by the architect Francesco Cellini, providing the cutting-edge technology and aesthetic qualities of large, thin slabs in laminated porcelain stoneware.

"The collaboration with the Holy See for this sixteenth edition of the Architecture Exhibition in Venice," says Emilio Mussini, President of the Panariagroup, "is undoubtedly a unique opportunity to emphasize the properties of our materials that on their own succeed in giving the project a solemn tone combined with great lightness, perfectly in line with the spirituality of the chapel."

The Pavilion, called Vatican Chapels and curated by Professors Francesco Dal Co and Micol Forti, is inspired by the model of the Chapel in the Wood, built in 1920 by the famous architect Gunnar Asplund in the Stockholm Cemetery. It is divided into eleven chapels, each an interpretation by an internationally renowned architect, grouped together in the garden of the Cini Foundation on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore. The architects were given the freedom to explore the architectural concept of the chapel - defined by the Swedish architect as a place of orientation, meeting, and meditation - giving their own personal understanding and vision to their building.

The work of the architect Cellini and the Panariagroup bases the building on the use of the material and its interaction with the surroundings, with a rational architectural style that leaves ample space for reflection on the place and its significance.  The structure is distinguished by its rectangular parallelepiped shape, and by a central transept that intersects the ceiling perpendicularly, hosting the two main symbols of the chapel: the altar and the lectern.  The project also shows the strong chromatic contrast made by the use of ultra-thin laminated stoneware slabs with a surface texture inspired by iron and glossy white slabs chosen to deliver effects from reflections of the natural environment within the building.  Clean and essential lines, enhanced by the thin ceramic surfaces, preserve the lightness and rationality of the architecture.

The ceramic slabs chosen for the project are from the Group’s main Italian brands, Cotto d'Este, Lea Ceramiche and Panaria Ceramica. They are used to clad the interiors and exteriors of the structure and are combined to show the charm of an original architectural project while emphasising the technical and aesthetic qualities of the materials.

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