"Le Torri" shopping centre - Villa Verucchio (RN) - Villa Verucchio (Rimini)

A non-place with a strong identity

Carlo Paganelli
Giordano Gasperini
Ceramic surfaces
Year of completion

Le Torri is a shopping centre first conceived as a business venture back in the 1980s and recently constructed in the Rimini hinterland. With around sixty shops of different kinds and a Crai supermarket, the centre serves consumers from a wide geographical area given that it is the only shopping centre within a radius of around twenty kilometres. As well as forming a nexus of shops, shopping centres also have a social aggregation function, although the fact that they are often highly stereotyped diminishes their appeal to more discerning consumers. They share features of identity drawn from architectural typologies of the past, particularly the Renaissance period, and form a kind of composite landscape (a frequent device in cutting-edge constructions that only sometimes yields excellent design results) generated from a template in which the architect selects tympanums, entablatures and pilasters to be combined with contemporary compositional elements. Marc Augé defined shopping centres as non-places, as structures lacking an anthropologically recognisable identity. In reality, these spaces are now increasingly tending to acquire their own aesthetic autonomy, and when designed creatively can represent an added value for the metropolitan landscape. The breadth of scale of some shopping centres makes them authentic partitions of urban space and in some cases they follow precise road hierarchies based on the two main streets of Roman towns, the Cardo and the Decumanus. They are authentic agoras where the rites of consumer society are united with the activities of socialisation; microcities where clear spatial references are crucial for simulating the open-air atmosphere of the city. Resorting to stereotypes from the past diminishes individual identity but it is always possible to find an antidote to standardisation. This can be done in particular through a careful choice of surface coverings so as to create an authentic two-dimensional territoriality. Drawing from the options available in the field of ceramic tiles, architect Giordano Gasperini has created a chromatic geography in which raw materials manifest their aesthetic variability through sophisticated textures combined with a wide range of colours. Ceramiche Caesar supplied around 7,000 square metres of porcelain tile for the construction of the complex, including 3,200 square metres of tiles from the D-sign series for the gallery, skilfully distributed with various colours and sizes to create strong visual appeal (Light, white, together with Skyline, anthracite, both in a 45 cm square format). A high-thickness botticino marble from the Industria line was chosen for the Crai supermarket area. So once again Caesar porcelain tiles have played a key role in a project that combines aesthetic appeal with the technical qualities of this extremely reliable product.

Ceramic surfaces
Ceramiche Caesar, D-sign series
porcelain stoneware
Skyline, Light (D-sign)
45x45 cm (D-sign); 20x20 cm (Linea Industria)

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