Projects

Lea Ceramiche Showroom - Milano

A universe of communicating surfaces

A return to minimalist design in the Lea Ceramiche Showroom in Milan represents a splendid tribute to the architecture of the masters of rationalism
Author
Carlo Paganelli
Architect
Diego Grandi
Surfaces
LEA
Year of completion
2010

In a period dominated by superfluity, the essential spatial concept and well-designed functionality of this new showroom pays tribute to the architecture of the masters of Rationalism and the “less is more” concept that distinguished the work of Mies van der Rohe. It was he who transformed the industrial revolution into a language capable of defying time and challenging the use of superfluity in decoration to compensate for lack of content. Showroom spaces are more suited than others to playing a narrative role, to exploring the possible versions of a product or material. They write a kind of unwritten text that captures attention, creating a flow of information through a highly appealing ambience. More than merely elegant commercial spaces, they are a kind of wunderkammer, an allusive ambience that, by displaying products for interior architecture and façade cladding, helps the architect to predict the final result of a project and determine the building’s relationship with its surroundings.
The relationship with urban space is essential. Via Durini, where the Lea Showroom is located, has always been an institution in the design world, with prestigious buildings where every furnishing element is immersed in a magical atmosphere that creates an exciting interior design experience.
The relationship with this landmark street in Italy’s design capital Milan is the underlying theme of the project. Divided into two areas of a total of a hundred and fifty square metres, the ground floor space is naturally the area chosen to present the image of Lea Ceramiche to the outside world. The street and the interior of the building communicate via large windows that break down barriers between the inside and outside worlds. Designed to host events, exhibitions and installations, the showroom exhibits can be modified to display products in a wide variety of different versions. The floor and wall coverings feature the new Mauk accents from the Slimtech Basaltina Stone Project collection (designed by Diego Grandi). The lower floor serves for studying technological aspects and selecting accents. The ground floor space, designed to ensure a high degree of flexibility in organising temporary exhibits, is equipped with a system composed of hidden rack type uprights mounting metal frames that hold the ceramic surfaces. On the lower floor, in place of the traditional sliding panel system, there is a continuous wall of thin sheets clad with Slimtech. Sample materials, product sheets and colour charts are arranged on mobile swinging elements that allow the collections to be viewed rapidly and conveniently.

Tiles
Lea Ceramiche, Slimtech Basaltina, Mauk
Type
porcelain stoneware
Sizes
20x100
Technical characteristics
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): 0,1%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): ULA - UHA resistente
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): < 145 mm3
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): conforme
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): conforme
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): >1200 kg/cm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R9
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): conforme
Certifications and awards
LEED
EMAS
ISO 14001
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