Railway station - Elmas (CA)

A pixel-effect ceramic envelope

The recent renovation project for the Cagliari-Elmas railway station stands out in particular for the use of large-size ceramic panels combining outstanding technical characteristics with a harmonious aesthetic language that blends in with the surrounding landscape
Livio Salvadori
Cedric Dasesson
Fadda, Tradori, Onali, Sollai

The history of the Cagliari-Elmas railway station dates back to the second half of the nineteenth century when the Royal Company of Sardinian Railways began construction of Sardinia’s standard gauge public rail network. According to the plans, the line connecting Cagliari with the north of the island was to pass through the southern area of the municipality of Elmas, a few hundred metres from the lake of Santa Gilla.
Being part of the Royal Railways network, Elmas station changed ownership in 1920 to the Italian State Railways, then in 1938 changed its name following the annexation of the municipality of Elmas to that of Cagliari.
In the 1970s, work began on doubling the Cagliari-Decimomannu section of the Dorsale Sarda line, which included extensive renovation of the Cagliari-Elmas station. This involved construction of a new and larger passenger building, pedestrian underpasses to the platforms, and an intermodal freight terminal with a dedicated section of track.
In the new 2019 configuration, alongside the transport service areas the station also features spaces that have transformed it from a place of transit to a location for social gathering – complete with small retail businesses and a bar-restaurant – in an urban context severely lacking in services.
Overall, the redevelopment project drawn up by Paolo Fadda, Marco Tradori, Michele Onali and Federico Sollai has created a building with a high level of aesthetic and compositional coherence. In particular, the porcelain façade cladding consisting of large-size panels produced by Ceramiche Caesar is designed to create a „pixel effect“, an abstract design with similar colours to those of local sedimentary rock, almost as though the station were built from a material originating from the silt and sediments of the nearby lake of Santa Gilla.
The station stands out for its fluid, continuous interior space that runs seamlessly from the square to the tracks. The sense of permeability is particularly evident in the fully glazed areas on the sides of the extended building. As well as giving more space to the interiors, the design reflects the urban layout of the Elmas historic town centre with its parallel streets oriented along an east-west axis.
Easy to transport and work with, the large-size panels chosen for the envelope are the ideal solution for façade cladding as they cover the walls entirely without horizontal joints. Their extraordinary aesthetic qualities add value to many different types of buildings, whether residential, public or commercial, while maintaining the excellent technical characteristics of resistance and strength typical of porcelain stoneware.
The remodelling project for the Cagliari-Elmas railway station won the Institutional category of the „Ceramics and design 2019“ competition, with the following jury statement: „Railway stations no longer have the sole function of acting as passenger transit areas. In accordance with the new design principles, the Elmas station maintains its form while accommodating newly expanded spaces in which the large-size porcelain panels have the function of dialoguing in terms of materials with the surrounding landscape.“

Caesar, More
porcelain stoneware
30x120 cm
Nylus, Iridium, Lux
Technische Eigenschaften
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): compliant
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): compliant
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): compliant
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
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