Pale, soft and essential atmospheres
With its single pale colour, warm materials and bright, welcoming atmosphere, the San Lorenzo dental centre in Mandello del Lario in the northern Italian province of Lecco declares its identity as soon as one steps through the entrance. Based on the client’s brief, architect Enrico Curti designed an efficient and functional medical space with three operating rooms of various sizes and functions intended to be used by a team of four or five practitioners. It also required “an aesthetic quality suited to the high professional level and reputation of the clinic, which has long been established in the area,” added the architect. The project, which involved remodelling a former retail space and demolishing the internal dividing walls, “sought to arrange the operating rooms around the central hub of the sterilisation room and the main atrium leading to the work areas”, Curti said. However, the spatial organisation proved fairly challenging due to a number of critical aspects, including a floor space of just 103 square metres and the presence of a structural element located right on the centre axis. Adapting the layout to the needs of the centre’s activity proved difficult, and it was only after several attempts at dividing up the spaces that a solution was found. This involves exploiting the lengthwise extension of the space by dividing it into three sections: a lateral strip occupied by the three operating rooms, a central section housing the distribution spaces, and a third section devoted to the accessory areas, the waiting room and the administration office. “To avoid the risk of ending up with a maze-like layout, the distribution routes follow a circular path leading to the various rooms and operating spaces,” continued the architect. As a result, the partition walls between the atrium and the rooms follow a curved, fluid profile that not only defines the space itself but creates a dynamic and welcoming overall layout. The choice of pale, monochromatic materials creates a relaxing atmosphere in keeping with the intended use of the space. The materials “are few in number and essential in nature: glossy enamel for the plasterboard walls and ceramic for the floors, crucial for defining the aesthetic and geometric qualities of the space”, explained the architect. The material chosen for the interior floors consists of large, thin classic marble-inspired ceramic panels from the Zero.3 Trilogy – Onyx Light Lux collection in a 100×300 cm size from Panaria Ceramica. The result is “a regular pattern and luminous but soft-look coloured background that meets the decorative and psychological needs of a medical space of this kind”, explained Curti. Specifically, Zero.3 Trilogy is part of the Protect product line from Panariagroup which features antibacterial protection developed in collaboration with Microban®. Incorporated permanently during the firing stage, this technology almost totally eliminates bacteria from surfaces – a major benefit in the case of a dental clinic.
The bright interiors are illuminated by a wall- and ceiling-mounted lighting system with adjustable levels according to the working activity, and feature lacquered furniture and chromed metal and leather medical equipment. “Everything helps to define the essentiality of the project, in the quest for dimensional, geometric, colour and material qualities shorn of all redundancy and formal exhibitionism,” added the architect.
Panaria Ceramica, Zero.3 Trilogy
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): <_ 0,1%**
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): LA, HA (SOFT) LB, HB (LUX)
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): 175mm3
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): 50 N/mm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): DCOF ≥ 0.42 (SOFT)
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant