Materials represent collective design intelligence. In this fifth step, architects and Italian companies narrate the materials of the future. The selected works interpret the major themes of our time: space and health; circular economy and optimization of resources; new habitat models. Today we talk about composites & synthetics

3ndy Studio architecture design

“Lapitec is a full-body sintered stone, compact, waterproof, with a totally resistant surface. The sintering takes the mineral powders of its composition to very high temperatures, triggering a hardening process that conserves a series of important performance features over time, bringing a range of advantages in terms of hygiene. The Lapitec surface does not absorb stains, bacteria or mildew, and it is not slippery; this makes it ideal for use in wet zones like swimming pools, bathrooms, operating rooms and medical spaces. The natural aptitude of 3ndy Studio to experiment with new solutions has prompted us to become the first in Italy to use this material in interior design for residential projects, interpreting it in an artistic way and crafting it with waterjet technology. We have involved the artist Giorgio Milani, who has interpreted the memories passed down from father to son, the owner of the house, with a concept of lettering on vertical sheets just above the water of the pool. The creation of this totem with a height of over 3.5 meters required lots of time, because we had to carry out the engraving with different thicknesses and widths, as if we were working with traditional stone. This is why we have chosen a full-body material, hence without glazing or digital printing on the surface, and totally green, given the fact that the raw materials are 100% natural, without resins or other petroleum byproducts inside. Lapitec also lends itself to less complicated uses, for kitchen counters or outdoor paving, because on an aesthetic level it offers a wide range of hues, finishes and tactile effects. We have worked on a panel of Absolute Black, the first in that specific color to emerge from the plant at Vedelago (TV) five years ago, shortly before Lapitec made its debut on the market, because we wanted to play with the contrast between depth and reflection, in relation to the surface of the water of the swimming pool. We have opted for the Vesuvio finish, which is not smooth or satin but dense with a glamorous texture, like orange peel. It is an interesting, technologically advanced product that is already being widely used in international projects, because if you combine it with more technical materials it takes on a natural look, and vice versa – combined with more natural substances like wood or raw stone, it acquires a more technological image.”

Luciana Di Virgilio e Gianni Veneziano / Veneziano + Team

“In our output, from architecture to art to design, we have often worked with traditional glass mosaics. In this project, on the other hand, we have experimented with the Mosaico Digitale of Pepe & Con, a company based in Gravina, Apulia, which is easy to install (cut with scissors or blades), can be applied to any surface, and has a lower cost than glass mosaic, permitting larger areas. On the ground floor of a private residence, near the entrance, a large mosaic depicting a face and objects wraps the wall of the living area and then expands into the kitchen, and on the adjacent wall. The starting point for the development came from watercolors, reworked and printed on resin tiles, which in the assembly phase formed a gigantic puzzle. Like a painting without a frame, the images are thus imprinted and spread across the surfaces, without limits. A sort of pop revolution, with freedom of transposition of any form dictated by the mind. Digital mosaic offers the possibility of rethinking an ancient technique in a contemporary way, imagining a cycle of frescos in the 21st century. A dialogue between historical memory, what we call the ‘archaeology of sentiments,’ and the contemporary, an intrinsic part of our language and background.”


“For some time, we have been conducting research on the use of innovative materials in relation to experimentation with environmental perception. In this sense, we can mention the projects made with the material i-Mesh, a technical fabric composed of just two components, fiber and resin, that can be separated and recycled, as an effective device to develop a new language of site-specific constructions. Inspired by the concept of permeability, these weaves – supplied on panels ready for installation – lend themselves to the configuration of always changing patterns and scenes. We have designed the Shades tapestries, which are shaped by light and the relationship they establish with the surrounding space, through the graphic system of the textures. These are open, extremely permeable and dynamic forms, made to interact with emptiness, where the perception changes depending on variations of light and background. Two works from 2015 that offer good examples of this logic are the concept store of Mondadori in Milan, where inside white metal rings the light expands along the technical fabric with a forceful material weave, featuring a reminder of the logo of the publishing house, with large luminous planes on the ceiling to identify the different areas; and the roof terrace of Accademia Citterio, facing Padiglione Italia during Expo Milano 2015, another interesting opportunity for experimentation with the material.”

Marco Piva / Studio Marco Piva

“One of the characteristics of our studio is the way we work on the architectural use of materials generally applied for decorative ends. One of them is Vetrite, an innovative product by Sicis: sheets of glass combined with polymers to permit the cladding of large surfaces. This is a high-tech composite glass obtained by combining polymers in the liquid phase with metal lamination and textile fibers. The versatility of Vetrite technology can give rise to an innovative product, starting with special pre-treated glass, with self-cleaning, anti-bacterial properties, etc. The special glass for easy cleaning has a thin, transparent layer that grants very effective photocatalytic and absorbent properties. The photocatalytic layer relies on the combined action of UV rays from sunlight and water, to remove grime that settles on the glass. Besides having an attractive appearance and offering the option of custom patterns, the Vetrite sheets can be cut, shaped and installed with ease, like a normal facing material. They can also have backlighting, for a theatrical, engaging effect.”

Filippo Taidelli

“The need for a warm, welcoming atmosphere inside a healthcare facility in prefabricated metal like the Emergency Center in Bergamo made it even more stimulating to face the challenge of ‘domesticating’ hospital space, creating a living therapeutic environment capable of ‘embracing’ patients and making the feel at home, in a place set aside for wellbeing and health, not for illness. With this aim, we utilized a wood-effect vinyl sheet for the flooring – a material provided by a product of Graboplast that ensures an appealing, soft surface that is also durable and easy to wash. GraboSafe Silver Knight is antibacterial, skidproof flooring that stands up to abrasion and scratching, with a special layer of 0.7 mm for extra-permanent applications. These special technical characteristics make it particularly suitable for healthcare settings; the wide range of available finishes has allowed us to choose a texture that would give the space the domestic look we were seeking.”