Craft shop "La bottega degli intrecci" - Spello (PG)

Where past and present intertwine

A project to convert a former printworks into a craft weaving shop in the central Italian town of Spello aims to introduce new functional solutions while preserving elements of the original architecture and blending in harmoniously with the location
Silvia Airoldi
Giacomo Pizzardi
Year of completion

With its perfect combination of history, art, nature and craftsmanship, Spello is a destination that ticks all the boxes for the discerning visitor in search of traditional beauty. Located in the central Italian province of Perugia, the picturesque village stands out for its pink “tower houses” immersed in the silvery green landscape of olive groves growing on the slopes of Mount Subasio. While strolling through the narrow central streets of this “splendid Julian colony” – as the Romans used to describe it – the visitor may well chance upon a craft shop called ‘La bottega degli Intrecci’. Owned by a family of traditional weavers, the shop was recently renovated by engineer Giacomo Pizzardi with the aim of introducing aspects of contemporary functionality while maintaining the building’s original appeal. The goal was to convert the 40 square metre former printworks into an elegant, timeless workshop that would fit in well with the local context and would be perfect for displaying traditional woven products. The approach adopted by the engineer was to “restore the typological and architectural values of the space, improve the quality of the materials, ensure visual continuity between interior and exterior, and achieve an extremely practical distribution layout. It also had to make the most of a limited budget”, he explained. Prior to the renovation project, the property’s original structure was concealed by later additions. Anonymous terrazzo tiles had taken the place of the old terracotta pavers, the wood beams and hollow clay tiles of the ceiling had been covered with heavy dark paintwork and the brick arch had been entirely plastered over. By eliminating some of the original building elements and adapting the installations and services, the engineer created a single open-space volume, then reorganised and optimised the interiors according to the needs of the shop. The more noteworthy architectural elements underwent extensive restoration work, particularly the exposed floors which were sanded and treated with protective coatings, the archway which was cleaned of plaster to reveal the old brickwork, and the walls which were repainted in their traditional colours. In this context, the flooring materials needed to combine aesthetics with practicality, reproducing traditional handmade Umbrian terracotta while achieving the characteristics of functionality, durability and ease of maintenance necessary for a space open to the public. To meet these various requirements, the engineer decided to replace the terrazzo tiles with Toscana collection porcelain tiles from Blustyle by Cotto d’Este in the colour Capalbio. The texture and ochre/pomegranate tones are reminiscent of old brick colours typical of renaissance tiles. The 15×30 cm glazed tiles, installed in a herringbone pattern in keeping with the Umbrian rural tradition, enhance the sense of spatial continuity. And as a special finishing touch to the restoration project, the ceiling lights consist of reclaimed old wrought iron and ceramic lamps used for public lighting in the old town centre.

Blustyle by Cotto d'Este, Toscana
porcelain stoneware
15x30 cm
Technical characteristics
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): 0,05 %
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): GLA-GHA
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): PEI 5
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): R 9
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant
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