Projects

APOTECA Provviste Alimentari - Roma

A touch of inspiration in Rome’s Flaminio neighbourhood

Observe, design and restore are the golden rules of an architectural renovation project in the heart of Rome, gastronomy included
Author
Federica Andreini
Architect
Studio Gad
Surfaces
FIORANESE
Distributor
Paolo Mancini
Year of completion
2017

The first thing that comes to mind when you see a photo of the Apoteca is that you are in a bar somewhere south of Palma de Mallorca, a place that has remained unchanged from past times and where you might sit and enjoy the view of the sea shimmering just outside the entrance.
The place appears to embrace the visitor, taking him back to the colonial period when one might enjoy a tonic and lemon while cooling off from the tropical heat. In a place like this, you wouldn’t be surprised to meet Hemingway with his panama hat perched on the table and his notebook always open.
But the only notebook open today is the one used by this writer to record the characteristics that contribute to the unique atmosphere, a line of research that leads us back to the original 1960s sausage factory and the conversion project carried out by the new owners. The first aspect of note is the flooring with its splendid imperfections, details that create a well-used look and a sense of the passage of time, a testament to the many people who have walked through and shared the space. The Urban_Avenue collection from Fioranese brings together the memory of our grandparents’ era with the ultramodern post-industrial world of global metropolises. This sense of continuity derives from the mimetic power of porcelain, the veins and irregular surfaces that bring the material to life under our feet and allows us to experience the texture of the floor as we walk across it. Drawing inspiration from the history and materials of Rome, the interior design firm Studio GAD envisioned this space as a levelling of experiences and lives, of profession and history, and coordinated the renovation project intelligently to prevent it from becoming an “end in itself”, as designer Rosella Grassi put it. They allowed the demolition work to rediscover the history contained within those walls and then used that history to inspire their choice of interior layout and furnishing accessories, many of which were custom designed and built. Examples include the chestnut wood counter, the display cases made by a master craftsman, and the original walls framed by Cementine Black&White collection tiles, also from Fioranese, chosen in the B&W_1 version for the bathroom and the B&W_3 version behind the counter. Urban_Avenue is used here in a grey colour.
When writing about a project like this, it is natural to reflect on what architecture teaches us about renovation projects, about the motivation, capacity and methods for transforming existing spaces. An architect must be fully aware of the transformative power of his craft, making it accessible to everyone and recognising it as a fundamental value. An architecture project involves collaboration between a number of different professionals who, as in this project, work together to adapt the existing building to the new requirements. The creative process of architecture lies not only in designing new buildings but above all in restoring spaces that already have a long history and adapting them to the needs of contemporary living.
In renovation projects such as the Apoteca in Rome’s Flaminio neighbourhood, this involves choosing a harmonious combination of materials (whether industrial, as in the case of porcelain tiles, or more artisanal in nature), but above all understanding that the place itself is more important than the individual architect. The energy of the place is allowed to flow freely, communicating with visitors and restoring the sense of harmony that was the starting point for the entire design process.
The only thing we can’t do justice to in this article is the aroma of the products on sale, but perhaps that is best left to direct experience!

Tiles
Fioranese, Urban_Avenue
Type
porcelain stoneware
Sizes
7.5X40.8 - 20.4X40.8
Colours
Dark Copper, Full Grey
Technical characteristics
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): ≤ 0.5 %
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): conforme
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): conforme
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): conforme
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): conforme
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): conforme
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R10
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): conforme
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): conforme
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): conforme
Certifications and awards
EMAS
ISO 14001
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