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The winners of the 2002-2004 Grand Prix receive awards in Venice

Friday 13 May 2005 at the prestigious headquarters of the Scuola Grande di S. Giovanni Evangelista in Venice they held the 2002-2004 Grand Prix awards ceremony, the sixth edition of the international architecture competition promoted and organized by Casalgrande Padana. After the welcoming speech by architect Giancarlo Sfriso, on behalf of the P.P.C. Architects Guild of Venice, which sponsored the event, the podium was taken by Franco Manfredini, chairman of Casalgrande Padana, who reminded everyone how this totally singular competition is unique in terms of both the way it is held and the inspiration upon which it is based. “Ever since the very first competition that was held back in 1990-1991 the goal has been to present, not simply a contest dealing with theoretical considerations, but a real test conducted on the concrete terrain provided by the actual use of the materials produced by our company in the various construction contexts.” Shopping centers, executive centers, public buildings and services, industrial and residential construction, tile façades, exterior paving and tiled swimming pools: for every edition the Grand Prix organizers select projects carried out in every part of the world, comparing different sorts of experiences which provide interesting food for thought and analysis in order to evaluate the progress made in terms of design research in the various fields of architectural endeavor considered. “The occasion represents a coming together which generates a truly constructive dialogue between two different areas of expertise: that of a manufacturing company on the one hand, and that of architectural designers and engineers on the other, people involved in improving and rendering more beautiful and comfortable the environment, for both individuals and the society at large. A dialogue, debate and collaboration that is always useful, but especially interesting and stimulating when it’s a question of making the most of an evolved ceramic tile product like Granitogres, Marmogres or Pietre Native, materials that stand out for their technical characteristics and with physical properties that make them highly suitable for applications even in major construction projects and contexts featuring a high level of aesthetic content in addition to their functional aspects.” The importance of dialogue and discussion among the various players in the design and construction process was also underscored by Prof. Francesco Dal Co who, during the course of his talk, highlighted the difficult Italian situation. As a matter of fact, our country is demonstrating an alarming backwardness when it comes to the construction of major projects and infrastructures that are considered to be of crucial strategic

importance for the social and cultural development of the country, not to mention the economic growth. When it comes to confronting and, most importantly, resolving the problems pertaining to the transformation the cities, land management and the construction of major architectural projects (museums, train stations and airports etc.) we are fully twenty-five years behind the rest of Western Europe. In the late Fifties the designers of the PanAm Building in New York were inspired by the example of the Pirelli Building in Milan; we used to provide models that inspired the rest of the world. But today, while in Madrid, right next to the Prado Museum, they are constructing and inaugurating important museum complexes, in Italy it takes us six years just to decide whether or not to provide a new entrance for the Uffizi Museum. In order to overcome this critical impasse, it’s not enough to count on innovation, architectural culture and the usual way of getting things done in Italy, we must revamp and redefine the role of the client, both public and private. The meeting continued with the talk given by

The sixth edition of the Grand Prix international architecture competition, promoted and organised by Casalgrande Padana, saw the participation of more than 150 designers coming from twenty-two countries, with more than 220 proposals of a high qualitative level, demonstrating how ceramic material is becoming more widespread and exploited in architecture. The works submitted were assessed by a selected international jury, chaired by Franco Manfredini Chairman of Casalgrande Padana and composed of Alfonso Acocella Architect, Florence (I) (Professor at the Faculty of Architecture, University of Ferrara) Gilda Bojardi director of the journal “Interni”, Mondadori, Milan (I) Pierre Colboc Architect, Paris (F) (“Grand-Prix de Rome”) Adalberto Dal Lago Architect, Milan (I) (Studio Holding Plan, Milan) Franco Frison Architect, Belluno (I) Biagio Furiozzi Architect, Florence (I) (Professor at the Faculty of Architecture, University of Florence) Bengt Lundsten Architect, Helsinki (FIN) (Professor at the Institute of Technology of Helsinki) Angelo Silingardi Architect, Reggio Emilia (I) (Chairman of the Order of Architects at Reggio Emilia; Director of the Centro Cooperativo Progettazione, Reggio Emilia)

architect Adalberto Dal Lago who, on behalf of the panel of judges, pointed out how, over the course the various editions, the Grand Prix has taken on a more international scope, developing significantly in terms of prestige and qualitative level. In a parallel manner Casalgrande Padana has also grown over the years as a world leader in the production and sale of ceramic tiles for the building sector, registering annual sales increases well above the average for the tile sector. As company chairman, Manfredini pointed out, “in 2004, when the entire industry on an international level was experiencing a period of stagnation, Casalgrande Padana posted a healthy increase of 9%. Active in more than 70 countries around the world, the company’s sales were also up for the first four months of this year, increasing fully 10% over the previous year, marking a clear departure from the sorts of performance figures being posted by the rest of the sector.” The reasons for this success are to be sought in the intrinsic properties of the elements found in porcelain stoneware products like Granitogres, Marmogres and Pietre Native, environmentfriendly materials manufactured in industrial facilities operating according to environmental and energy policies that strongly stress sustainability as witnessed by the declarations of suitability issued by the certification authorities in compliance with ISO 14001 and EMAS directives. The awards ceremony continued with the announcement of the winners which took place in the magnificent setting of the Scuola Grande di S. Giovanni Evangelista. The sixth edition of the Grand Prix included the presentation of over 220 projects submitted by 167 designers from twenty-two different countries. On the whole, very fine works and all deserving of recognition, a situation that “made it difficult to select the best ones and thereby assign the awards”. The event symbolically concluded with the official opening of the seventh edition of the Grand Prix competition, which will terminate at the end of 2006. As always, for a project to be entered in the competition, it must have been completed by that date and not have been entered in one of the previous competitions. And, finally, as he expressed his thanks to all the participants, Franco Manfredini also wanted to remind the audience of the motto recently added to the Casalgrande logo, “Pave your way”, continuing to explain, “a slogan that figuratively sums up the goal of our company mission, i.e. to contribute with our products and services to the improvement of the environment in which contemporary society lives”.


Percorsi in Ceramica 11  
Percorsi in Ceramica 11