Mosè Ricci, Filippo Spaini, Orazio Carpenzano
Human settlements are places that are in constant evolution. But given our own impermanence, it is only by observing the urban fabric and buildings from a historical perspective that we can perceive a process what would otherwise require centuries of time-lapse photography. Lanciano, a town in Italy’s Abruzzo region, is no exception and only a peregrine falcon soaring over the Sangro Valley would have the privilege of taking in the urban patchwork in a single instant. Founded in 1179 BC by the Trojan refugee Solima, the town expanded over the millennia, establishing itself on three hills and erecting walls around the historical nucleus. It was not until the end of the nineteenth century that the town began its extramural growth, carrying out major urban works and commencing construction of the «new town», which was built from the early twentieth century onwards to a project by architect Filippo Sangiacomo. The backbone of the settlement is the new street Corso Trento e Trieste, opened in 1904 and dominated by large, eclectic-style institutional buildings constructed from the 1920s onwards alongside elegant middle-class residences, which in turn fuelled the town’s steady growth. The Corso, which originates in the Cathedral square, is the main urban promenade and is popular with both tourists and locals. To reaffirm the street’s role and value in terms of the collective heritage, the municipality of Lanciano signed an agreement with the firm RicciSpaini Architetti Associati and the Department of Architecture and Design of the Sapienza University of Rome for a complete redevelopment and pedestrianisation project with a view to hosting social activities, cultural initiatives, commercial offerings and religious events.
One of the highlights of the project is the new paving system, a kind of enormous carpet extending along the entire pedestrianised route that removes architectural barriers and eliminates the height differences that were present in the previous pavements.
Orazio Carpenzano, Director of the Department of Architecture and Design (DiAP) of the Sapienza University of Rome who was responsible for scientific and project coordination together with Mosè Ricci and Filippo Spaini, explained: «Restoring the street’s identity and dignity was achieved by redesigning the pavement, which incorporates some of the Abruzzo region’s traditional decorative motifs and transforms them into an urban backdrop to the interactions between citizens and the interplay between old and new collective rituals.»
The entire pavement was created from porcelain stoneware elements which were specially cut to fit into the sophisticated grid layout created by the architects. As the starting point, SistemN20 double-loaded porcelain stoneware slabs from Marazzi Tecnica were chosen in a 60×60 cm size and the colours Sabbia and Grafite.
With their extra-large 20 mm thickness, non-slip surface and stylish colour palette, together with scope for creating custom elements through specialist machining operations, SistemN20 slabs have a high level of resistance to mechanical stress, making them ideal for intensive use and heavy loading in outdoor civil, residential and urban design applications, as well as in commercial and industrial environments.