Edificio Nave

The two buildings form part of the Leonardo campus of the Politecnico di Milano university’s faculty of architecture. Designed in 1953 by Gio Ponti, Piero Portaluppi and Giordano Forti, the campus is an extension of the historic piazza Leonardo site. The designers intended the complex to completely surround a courtyard, but only two wings were built and the plan was not completed until the Seventies, when Vittoriano Viganò designed the via Ampère structure, built around the large central patio. However, another two buildings, known as Nave and Trifoglio, were erected on via Bonardi in the Sixties.

These buildings’ facades are clad with ceramic tiles designed by Gio Ponti to provide colour effects which change with the sunlight striking their surfaces. Drawing on our experience with other facades designed by Gio Ponti, we contributed to the restoration of these two buildings by supplying glazed porcelain stoneware tiles of various sizes. For Nave, we produced tiles of 7.5×15 cm: one in relief with a faceted effect and the other flat and plainer but unevenly shaped. For Trifoglio we produced small relief tiles of 5×5 cm that accurately reproduce the shape, surface structure and colour shade of those designed by Giò Ponti.

In both cases, after meticulous research to produce the dies and then the pieces, we focused on developing shades of glaze as close as possible to the originals. The new ceramic material was used to cover the areas which had deteriorated over time, replacing the damaged original tiles and restoring the beauty of two major works by the great Milan-born architect.