The project is a journey, an adventure. It is like crossing unknown borders, taking care to be coherent in one’s choices, movements and actions.
“(…) Form never has absolute freedom inasmuch as it exists, is conceived, manipulated, forced to ever express itself on the basis of the nature of the material which substantiates it” (cf. www.architetturadipietra.it). Kuma’s architectural work can be interpreted precisely as work “on materials, starting from materials”.
In its configuration the Padiglione consists of three founding elements: the suspended floor; the labyrinthine floor; the reflecting false ceiling.
The usable vibrant stone floor surface, an elongated rectangular shape (13 m x 8.02 m), has a surface area of 104.26 sq. m. and is raised by some 20 cm. Formed by 900 “giallo etrusco” sandstone slabs, the suspended floor was determined by the need to easily integrate the plant engineering as well as incorporate the continuous foundation of the labyrinthine wall beneath the floor.
Where the labyrinthine wall is, the stone floor elements consist of sandstone slabs measuring 23 cm in width and 1.5 cm in thickness. This solution aims to accentuate the “floating” effect of the wall, according to the stone’s different reaction to the light.
In continuity with the idea of a labyrinth, which creates an ambiguous perception of “broken up” space, the “reflecting false ceiling” produces a deceptive duplication of the space through means of a technical device. The mirrored ceiling is formed by a roughly 3-cm-thick sandwich panel, onto which a metallized polyester film is laid. This film has reflecting optical qualities owing also to its slenderness (25 microns); a quality which can be added to those of safety (class 1 fireproof product), easy maintenance and the almost complete reuse of the entire system.
The lighting elements are built into the ceiling, placed above the reception desk and tables.
Like the false ceiling, the suspended floor also has built-in light fittings. The light intensity, lowering upward, produces a kind of “cut” at the base of the wall, making the labyrinthine wall appear to float.
The reflecting surface hangs over the labyrinthine wall without ever touching it: 1 cm of void runs along its entire perimeter.
To the direct, unequivocal vision of the world, Kuma prefers a myriad of potential meanings, an emotional experience which crosses reason and passion, intuition and sentiment, reality and imagination. Because “architecture is only the instrument through which I seek to ‘unveil’ a place”.