The historical setting of the new Salento Biomedical District is undoubtedly of great architectural value: it is in fact the former Dominican cloister, in Lecce, built between 1626 and 1635 by the will of Beatrice Acquaviva of Aragon. Inside, the University of Salento currently uses some rooms on the ground floor for courses, conferences and events related to the teaching activity of the various university departments, while the first floor, which has been unused until now, houses rooms that have been revisited thanks to the intervention of interior design designed by Studio Giuseppe Tortato Architetti.
The firm's involvement in interior design was born from the initiative of the biomedical company Medtronic Italia, with which the architect Tortato has been collaborating for some years. In the creation of the spaces of the former cloister, the intent of both was to create a large sharing space to host events, training courses and workshops, in which the informal home-design inspiration generated involvement and synergies between the students.
A reception is located on the ground floor to welcome guests. The simple and geometric design of the counter does not steal the scene from the environment, characterized by high scenographic ceilings and, thanks to the choice of the dark calamina coating, it maintains its own character, creating contrasts with the pale Lecce stone of the walls.
Already from the reception area it is possible to grasp the historical value of the ancient building, where the white of the Lecce stone is emphasized by the natural light that comes from the large central portico. The choice that guided the design approach was to act with the utmost respect and sensitivity towards the pre-existing, enhancing its beauty through careful insertion of contemporary materials and fabrics in cold colors in different shades in contrast with the light stone.
Crossing the reception and climbing along a monumental staircase, you reach the first floor characterized by important heights and a vaulted ceiling where there is a lounge area and a large break area, environments for sharing and socializing, informal spaces that invite to sharing. The remaining rooms on the floor can accommodate different types of activities: “focus” areas for moments that require concentration, operational areas with traditional workstations or organized on long desks equipped with irregular shapes. There are also coworking and brain storming areas, with modular furnishings that make the layout flexible.
A large, informal and reserved meeting room can be glimpsed through two arched windows; also this environment, thanks to tables on folding and packable wheels, can be modified and reorganized according to the needs of the users. The redeveloped spaces end with a large conference room that can accommodate up to 64 people.