Building façade in Piazza Erculea - Milan

Tiled façades, Milanese style

The façade of a building in Milan's city centre has been renovated using a classic solution with a touch of innovation: cladding the façade with three-dimensional green tiles
Antonia Solari
Ruggiero Scardigno
Gioacchino Pirrello
Ceramic surfaces
Year of completion

Ceramic tiled façades are very common on Milanese buildings. And while the most common solution in the mid-twentieth century was clinker, a kind of clay product that was fired at a very high temperature, almost to the vitrification point, there are many other examples of the same façade cladding principle being used with different materials.
A case in point is the façade on one of the buildings facing onto Piazza Erculea in the centre of Milan. Constructed in 1967, this building stood out for its main façade clad in green bevelled-edge tiles.
When the façade needed to undergo conservative renovation, architect Gioacchino Pirrello was commissioned to lead the project. He describes the early stages of the project as follows: “The building had two main requirements: the first was to repair the balconies jutting out from the façade, which were suffering from seepage; the second was to check the façade cladding, which consisted of small bevelled-edge tiles that in some cases had come detached.”
The design process proved less straightforward than anticipated. While it had initially been assumed that it would be sufficient to fill in the gaps where tiles were missing, after erecting the scaffolding and conducting an in-depth analysis the architect realised that the entire concrete substrate was also degraded. This lengthened the timeframe of the work – which began in 2018 and was completed in June 2021, partly due to slowdowns caused by the pandemic and the shortage of materials – and made it necessary to search for alternative solutions. “We had to do some research to figure out the best way of preserving the identity of the building,” explained the architect. “The options were either to completely transform the aesthetics of the façade overlooking the square by choosing simple plasterwork (as in the case of the courtyard side façade and on the interior façade), or to use a modern ceramic tile cladding, which however would result in a rather two-dimensional surface. But during our research we came across glazed porcelain tiles from Ceramica Vogue’s Flauti series and after conducting a number of simulations we realised that this solution would allow the façade to retain its strong identity. The effect that was previously achieved by the small bevelled-edge ceramic tiles was recreated in a modern vein using a new series of textured ceramic tiles.”
This product from Ceramica Vogue maintained the green colour while enhancing the play of light on the three-dimensional surface and creating a sense of continuous movement across the façade.

Ceramic surfaces
Ceramica Vogue
FL LM 20 Superficie Lucida
5x20 cm

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