I Giardini di Gabriel
The Atelier(s) Alfonso Femia studio won first prize in the "façade cladding" category at the 11th edition of the Grand Prix with the "Gardens of Gabriel" project. Particular attention was paid to the choice of ceramic material used for decorating the 1,000 square metres of cladding for the façades: Diamante Q30 by Casalgrande Padana. For the interior flooring, the colour Cala Luna was chosen from the Pietre di Sardegna collection in 45x90cm format.
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Here we are in Asnières-sur-Seine, between the beginning and end of the urban axis which is fundamentally important for the entire city, given the grand railway station of the Grand Paris line which resides here.
The residential complex is comprised of 144 housing units and 39 social residences which go from the first to the eighth floor and include 360 square metres of commercial space. The volumetric composition of the project was subdivided into three buildings developed primarily along the track of the RER C railway line.
This segmentation allows the central section to remain completely visible, while allowing a reduction in the number of units exposed exclusively to the north and the creation of a supplementary façade exposed to the south. The various bodies are interlocked in order to highlight the unitary elements of the composition and encourage urban diversity.
The two façades situated on the edge of the site benefit from a particular treatment: the north façade faces towards the area in front of the regional high velocity RER train station and serves as an entrance to the urban development zone, with the shop on the ground floor exhibiting a façade made entirely of glass. The south façade, however, along with the car park, presents the urban face of the structure, in contrast to the glass façade on the north side.
The project has been developed thanks to the analysis of various possibilities: the atmosphere, the light of the landscape, the environmental constraints and the shape play that defines the three bodies of the building; that is, the jagged arrangement of the windows and floors which seem to open up, slide across the building and get cut off at its edges.
The city is in continuous dialogue with the interior park, creating a building/landscape harmony.
The façade cladding: a Magical Diamond
Particular attention has been paid to the choice of materials: the project is in fact characterised by the restatement of the decoration with the use of ceramics from the special Diamante collection, in the colours Oro and Bianco in 10x20cm format: an exclusive type of porcelain stoneware tile characterized by its three dimensional shape and thickness. Thanks to their brightness and the diamond-inspired faceting, the tiles of this collection are able to define changing surfaces, created by reflections and light and dark contrasts.
At the residential complex in Asnières-sur-Seine, the ceramic cladding, in its particular three-dimensional diamond style, marks the summit of the buildings and changes its appearance based on the light, adapting its colours according to the seasons and time of day.
The window frames, some of which were designed by the artist Danilo Trogu, together with the surrounding bricks, create a pattern of ‘harmonic counterpoints’ across the façade.
Completing the decoration of the facades are six angels, from which the project takes its name, placed on the top of the terrace walls, which appear to watch over the entire building.
Unity, urban rhythm, classic vertical stratification, a unique material that integrates shades which are able to anticipate the soft metamorphosis of the sky, where the city’s ancestors reside, observing us, looking towards the horizon and towards the sky. The decoration reappears in the city as an instrument of identity and of joy, beauty and culture.
It powerfully expresses the principle that Alfonso Femia defines as “the right to matter”, a reaffirmation which invites a reconsideration of a living space as a home, a place in which to live and not just a list of needs to be satisfied.
“We created a dialogue with materials, artists, businesses, artisans, architects. The client, the city, context. We gave ourselves a challenge: open up Asnières-sur-Seine to the sky.
Ph: Luc Boegly