The Academy is not just an exhibition space, it is above all a training centre. How much did that affect your project?
It is the most important part of all, because it brings into play the future in constant interaction with the past (history) and the present (experimentation). It is the pulsating heart and soul that we attempted to turn into something almost sacred, enveloping it in a space that only takes in light from the sky. A pause, a slowing down in the mechanical dynamics of the other spaces.
The other striking thing about Dallara Academy is the use of only very “stony”, textured materials and the incorporating of natural light and glass on the inside. Is this a leitmotif in your projects or is it just a one-off?
We always engage directly with materials. Every material has a soul and architectural design is the coming together of people and the soul a place has. Material reacts and interacts with light. It can make a building and its spaces either full of life or ascetic. It takes constant research and experimentation to bring together thought and action.
The importance of building materials in architecture. How have the selecting and introduction of new materials changed building work? How much does it help to be able to count on fully-tested cutting-edge products like those Mapei manufactures?
Focusing on materials means constant interaction with research carried out by companies investing in innovating, providing and developing products and solutions really in synch with projects, their intrinsic qualities and durability over time. This kind of interaction needs to return to how it was in the Renaissance, when everything was fundamental and related to everything else.
In this project, a notion of high-quality architecture takes pre-cedence, partly underlined by the products used. Do clients realise the importance of good architecture and quality products?
Good architecture means good design, good design means quality interaction between thinking, action, materials and dreams. We believe in perception-based architecture in which “all our actions come from perceptions” as Leonardo da Vinci taught us.