Palazzo Sais - San Marino ((RSM))

A jewel in the centre of San Marino

The twentieth-century Palazzo Sais has been converted into a university building and given a fresh identity through an effective use of materials
Elisa Montalti
Augusto Betiula
Marcella Michelotti
Ceramic surfaces
Year of completion

In an area renowned for its natural beauty and rich artistic and cultural heritage, Palazzo Sais was built in 1930 as part of a major expansion project for the City of San Marino. Originally used as the headquarters of the Public Administration, the imposing building subsequently passed into the hands of the Diocese of San Marino Montefeltro and remained a well-known landmark for many years. After a long period of disuse, a project was launched in 2018 with the aim of giving new life and prestige to an architectural asset that is of great importance to the community. Following the restoration of the exterior façades some ten years ago, the decision was taken to repurpose the building for use by the University of San Marino and to convert the various rooms into an entrance hall, library, auditorium and classrooms. This ambitious project was assigned to architect Marcella Michelotti, who sought to “restore the prestige of the past, but in a new form”. This primarily involved “upgrading the interior spaces through the use of modern, functional yet sumptuous materials capable of blending in harmoniously with the original structure, which preserved traditional San Marino stone facings and pilasters as well as exquisite wooden doorways”.
The original decorations and finishes dating from the 1930s were preserved wherever possible. The existing red and yellow hexagonal floor tiles were retained over the entire first floor along with the terrazzo-covered monumental staircase. The same colour schemes were used on the various floors of the building to harmonise the new with the old. Following extensive research, the choice fell on full-body porcelain floor and wall tiles with a glossy marble effect from the Boutique Onice Fantastico collection produced by Del Conca Group member Ceramica del Conca together with the San Marino-based parent company Ceramica Faetano. These surfaces are inspired by a Mexican onyx variously described as “fantastic red” or “hell red” due to its reddish-coloured background streaked with transversal veins in a variety of shades ranging from cream to hazel, brown and teal. This marble effect, with its rich colours and eye-catching veins, was chosen “not in the matt version, which might have an excessively plasticised look, but in the glossy version with its outstanding reflectivity and colour depth”, explains the architect. Mechanical strength, durability and ease of cleaning and maintenance were the key factors that led Marcella Michelotti to choose this material, whose aesthetic effect has garnered much praise. Large 60×120 cm and 120×120 cm slabs were installed on the floors and walls, while the 30×30 cm mosaic version was used on various sections of walls, on some of the thresholds, as skirting boards and as a ceramic carpet at the entrance between the historic wooden door and the glass window. This kaleidoscope of colours, veins, contrasts and patterns blends perfectly with twentieth-century flavours and atmospheres in a convergence of styles and periods that is sure to appeal to the younger generation.

Ceramic surfaces
Del Conca
porcelain stoneware
Onice Fantastico
120x120, 120x260 cm

Request Project info >