Cassano d'Adda, Italy – In a residential area on the banks of the Adda River between Milan and Bergamo, architects Elena Sacco and Paolo Danelli of Dapstudio designed the Cassano d'Adda Music Centre. The two envisioned the institution's architecture as a physical and social hub for the town and surrounding region, and a house of music to welcome one and all.
The most graphical and joyful gestures the architects made in the building's interiors comprise fields of colour that pop from white perforated walls in the form of Artigo rubber flooring and stair treads.
Sacco and Danelli designed the building to optimise its flexibility. The spacious lobby can accommodate events, exhibitions or music recitals and small concerts like an indoor plaza. Its void bridges the various floors and activities visually, while performing multiple functions. It features a 300-seat auditorium and unpartitioned, convertible, commercial space – for a cafeteria or music shop, for example – that could operate independently from the institution. On the second floor is a music school.
Across the first two levels, Dapstudio clad the Centre's walls with press-formed perforated white metal panels. This neutral but also bold background frames the vivid colors of Artigo's Nd/Uni rubber flooring in three saturated hues: orange (U105), blue (U18) and green (U107). This particular flooring comes in 30 colors, giving the architects ample choice, and in custom designs cut via waterjet or in two standard formats, rolls of 10 x 1.9 m that create broad single-color surfaces and square tiles of 61 cm that can be combined to generate bold graphic effects.
The architects also chose these same colors to cover the 566 sq-m of stairs, making them an especially dynamic feature and the focus of the space. The stairs were important, not just visually, but because they double as atrium seating during performances that take place in the auditorium. The rubber treads are a standard product in the brand's catalogue and make usually hard-bare floors more resilient and comfortable.
The Centre's copious rubber surfaces serve multiple purposes, however. They dampen noise: a 3-mm floor can tamp down sound values up to 10 db, while the brand's acoustic version is certified up to 21 db. They prevent slipping and enable the interiors and especially interstitial areas to stand up to heavy traffic. In fact, Artigo floors have been known to last for more than 40 years in public settings under heavy use. Their smooth surfaces are also quick to clean, hygienic and, because they are non-porous, both anti-bacterial and anti-microbial. They also contribute to LEED credits, BREEAM certification and credits in a number of architectural environmental sustainability ratings. These features make Artigo's products especially virtuous, but there must be a certain delight in seeing the range of colours, like a child's watercolour paint palette, to choose from.