Some of Europe’s most demanding and beautiful concrete creations or reconstruction is done by Treviso, Italy’s Ideal Work, a company that was founded in 1996. Its product, Nuvolato, was recently used as a flooring in two Venetian museums: The Teatrino of Palazzo Grassi and Murano Glass Museum.
The Palazzo Grassi, a palace located along Venice’s Grand Canal, was originally completed in the late 18th century. It was sold by the Grassi family and is now owned by the Fiat Group, which manages it as an art museum. The Teatrino is the palace’s 600-seat theater.
Today, the Teatrino has been restored as part of a renovation project led by the Japanese architect Tadao Ando, known for his extensive use of concrete. The restoration required a gray surface capable of blending in with other design choices and in harmony with the surrounding area. According to Luca Seminati, Ideal Work’s managing director, Nuvolato Flooring provided a visually appealing unifying color and a durable surface suitable for high-traffic, public spaces.
Seminati says that Ando’s design retained the dimensions and geometry of the original exterior but inside, two main areas were created from scratch: an auditorium and a grand foyer with large triangular openings in the walls.
“The interiors were treated with Ideal Work Nuvolato Flooring, creating an effect of material and chromatic continuity between the floors, walls and ceiling,” says Seminati. “We used a shade of gray called Pewter along with a cloud effect to finish the surface, which emphasized the originality of the interiors in a play of light and shade that surprises and enchants the visitor, enveloping them in a whirl of multiple sensations.”
The floor in the display area of Venice’s Murano Glass Museum was also renovated with Nuvolato. “Ideal Work’s Nuvolato Flooring helps lend elegance and harmony to the ambience,” says Seminati. “The new Architop product enabled the existing surfaces to be regenerated, avoiding the removal and relaying of the floor. This choice was based not only on the beautiful appearance but also the high quality of the product. The museum now has reliable surfaces for visitors to walk on that are durable for even heavy traffic.”
The Murano Glass Museum is inside the Palazzo Giustinian, which has housed the museum since 1861. The interior of the museum is now contemporary minimalism, resembling a large, white cube with angled wall supports and display areas utilizing artificial and natural lighting.
The unifying color of the Nuvolato helps the building recede, emphasizing the exhibits. “The zinc color chosen for the museum’s floor produces a very elegant color effect that harmonizes perfectly with the simple, sophisticated space of the rooms,” says Seminati.
Ideal Work recently developed a new product, Architop, a polymer concrete solution that enables renovation of existing floors at very low thicknesses of just .08 to .11 of an inch (2 to 3 millimeters). Architop is a useful topping for restoration of high-traffic areas where removing the old floor is not practical for a variety of reasons. The Italian word nuvolato means “clouded,” and the adjective aptly describes the varied surface color and appearance of this type of floor system. Nuvolato floors rely on acids from metallic salts which penetrate the concrete and change its color.
“Once Architop was applied, the cloudy ‘nuvolato’ appearance was created in line with the requests of the designer,” says Seminati. “Subsequently, in order to make the surfaces stain resistant, Petrotex-S, an oil and water-repellent protective treatment was applied. This also ensures the reduction of cracks and chips and allows the floor to be kept clean for longer. Needing little maintenance, the surfaces keep their appearance intact over time.” Below are photos of both projects, courtesy of Ideal Work.
Murano Glass Museum