You are also collaborating with the University of Basilicata to test various products – including those from Mapei – on three churches in Matera. How important is research work into restoration methods?
Collaborating with universities is an essential component of a company’s activity, in that it forms the link between working practices and theoretical research, allowing you to raise the level of the quality of your operations. Our collaboration with the University of Basilicata involves experimental research work into new products for surface consolidation/protection and, above all, an analysis of the processes for their application. In fact, choosing Matera as a pilot site for this experimental research work is precisely the type of challenge that confirms the theory of the complexity of actions required to carry out restoration work.
When working on a restoration project, how much of a help is it to be able to count on cutting-edge products such as those supplied by Mapei?
The reliability of materials is fundamental, in terms of both their compatibility with the existing materials and the durability of the effectiveness of the intervention over the years. And this consideration becomes even more important in particularly complex situations such as the Sassi area of Matera where you also have to evaluate their state of conservation and their hygrometric conditions, which have a considerable impact on all renovation operations. The way the Mapei network is organised is very important, with the availability of specialised technicians in various sectors. The support provided by the Mapei Research laboratories is quite remarkable, in terms of both professionalism and the instruments they are equipped with, and they are available to work alongside our team to help them choose the most compatible and reliable cycles for each problem we are faced with. The reliability of a historical brand, one which is open to research and innovation, is a very important prerogative in order to conserve the historical and artistic heritage we are commissioned to work on.
What was the most complex and interesting project you have worked on?
The Cathedral of Santa Maria della Bruna, without a doubt, and not only for the complexity of a monument dating back almost 800 years, which certainly put to the test all those involved in the work due to the presence of different substrates and different coating and decorative layers, but also for the need to carry out restoration work by following a “logical thread”, that is, to make each and every historical feature recognisable without “encroaching” on any of the others. The intervention on Palazzo Zicari was also an interesting challenge, including of a structural nature, as well as the work we carried out on several churches in the Sassi area, because of their historical context. I have always said that a complex job that has been carried out well is a team effort by a group of designers, contractors, craftsmen, technicians, electricians, restorers, carpenters, builders and suppliers that have all worked with passion, dedication and professionalism. The work carried out by Local Heritage Authorities is also very important; they monitor all restoration work. Using Mapei materials is a winning choice because these products are renowned and their validity is acknowledged by all Local Heritage Authorities.