With a legacy of nearly 30 years, The Casalgrande Padana Grand Prix is an engraved chronicle for the international architecture setting. Envisioned by Casalgrande Padana, a leading manufacturer of ceramic materials, the Grand Prix identifies the most significant projects that explore the potential of the company’s porcelain stoneware. Since its launch in 1990, the competition has witnessed an extensive entry of over 1800 projects from 1300 designers. The Grand Prix aims in recognising architectural projects where ceramics play a key role, and where the products are a vital element of the design process and not mere covering material. Though ceramic has traditionally been a part of art and architecture, the innovations in the industry opened up a new paradigm where ceramic becomes an ally to dynamic designs well beyond its conventional constraints. As the competition takes into contemplation the buildings over design ideas, it serves as a platform that discusses the creative application of Casalgrande Padana’s stoneware with attention to its technical properties.
The 12th edition of the Casalgrande Padana Grand Prix considered projects completed between 2019 and 2021, which was judged by an illustrious panel and was chaired by the President of Casalgrande Padana, Franco Manfredini. The entries were evaluated under four categories, namely - headquarters and shopping malls (large surfaces); public, service, and industrial construction; residential buildings; and façade cladding, outside flooring, and swimming pool. Keeping up with the consistency of hosting the award ceremony in locations of great cultural, architectural, and symbolic significance, the Grand Prix XII awarded its winners on May 27 at MUDEC, the Museum of Cultures in Milan.
Here is a look at the winners in each of the four categories of the Casalgrande Padana Grand Prix XII.
Headquarters and shopping malls, large spaces
Narrating the story of newsprint and the efforts of journalists in the tones of black and white, the Associated Press Headquarters in New York designed by TPG Architecture was awarded first prize under this category. Followed by Experimenta Science Centre Heilbronn in Germany by Sauerbruch Hutton, and Studio Transit’s Angelini Headquarters in Rome, Italy, rounding up the category with the third prize for enhancing the volumetric complexity of the building with ceramic coverings. For the commendable use of ceramic, Dekada Shopping Centre Nysa in Poland by JSK Architekci, and Market Hall of Oulu in Finland designed by Laatio Architects, were cited as special mentions.
Public, service and industrial construction
Under the category of public, service, and industrial construction, Szent Gellèrt school in Budapest, Hungary, by designers Csilla Kutlik and Árkád-Terv was awarded the first prize. Designed by Simon Barazin and Jonathan Canetti as an almost abstract dimension, blending in with the city landscape, the Buza gelato gallery in Tel Aviv, Israel, was announced as the second prize winner. Bagging the third honour was The Aga Khan University Karachi, Pakistan, by designer, Princess Zahra Pavilion for bringing a homely sensation to the hospital setting. Special mentions were awarded to Nuovo Complesso Parrocchiale in Italy designed by TAMassociati, Room XIX at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, by Giampiero Peia of Peia Associati, and Lycée Simone Veil Liffré in France designed by Pierre Chomette of Chomette-Lupi et Associés Architectes, and Philippe Loyer of Atelier Loyer Architects.
In joint first place are Una piscina nel paesaggio in Italy, a project by Augusto Ortoleva and Giuseppe Motta of Studio Cantone-Ortoleva, and another by Guendalina Salimei of T Studio, Riqualificazione del piano libero del Corviale: il Chilometro Verde. The second and third prizes were awarded to Bruzzesi 7 studios in Milan by Christian Bianco of CBArchitects, and Private Apartment in Prague, Czech Republic, designed by Barbora Léblová of Barbora Léblová Interiors & Architecture respectively. Additionally, House NB Szczecin in Poland by designer Anna and Krzysztof Paszkowscy-Thurow of Anna Thurow Architecture and Interiors, Jesolo Lido Beach Villa in Italy, and Villa a Ginevra in Switzerland by designer Jacopo Mascheroni of JM Architecture were named under special mentions.
Façade cladding, outside flooring, and swimming pools
Multiple projects that expressed 'Right to Matter' by Alfonso Femia of Atelier(s) Alfonso Femia, which are a part of an ongoing research project bagged the first prize. The winning entries included Urbagreen, 8ème Art, Complesso Turistico plurifunzionale, Living in the Blue and Sangiovanni Housing. Cited for having a sophisticated style and a quality not found in public facilities, Centre Aquatique Aqua N&S in Flixecourt, France, by Philippe Deprick of Atelier d’Architectures Le 212 was awarded the second prize. The monolithic geometric shell with ceramic coverings of The Spitfire Gallery, Potteries Museum, and Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent, United Kingdom, designed by Glancy Nicholls Architects has conferred the third prize. With an array of versatile design approaches, the special mentions were awarded to the UAE Pavilion in Abu Dhabi by the Italian Commercial Project, the Nuova sede Croce Rossa by Studio M2R Architettura, and Due Fabbricati E.R.P. by SAG Architettura and Elvira Romano.
As stated in the official release of the Grand Prix XII, "Production Culture and Design Culture have been the two benchmarks for Casalgrande Padana's development strategy since the early years. We have always endeavoured to promote and strengthen a solid relationship of collaboration and engagement with the architecture and interior design scene worldwide. One of the aims of the Grand Prix is to implement a virtuous cycle and an exchange of skills and ideas between the world of architectural design and Casalgrande Padana, a leading manufacturer in the sector at the international level." While the curtains went down for the 12th edition, Grand Prix remains a piece of evidence of Casalgrande Padana’s profound relation to designers, and the brand's dynamism to create more innovations in ceramic for the architectural world.
(Text by Sunena V Maju, intern at STIRworld)