Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Olivetti Showroom

Thought I would kick things off with some information about the Olivetti showroom, which I studied as part of my Masters in architecture education.

The Olivetti showroom is located in Venice, Italy.  It was designed in 1957 by an Italian architect known as Carlo Scarpa (1906–1978.)  The brief was to design a display area for typing products and machinery. The use of Scarpa in the design process was important to the Olivetti Company as they had built a strong reputation and association to quality design work in their products.

The main feature I studied within the show room was the marble staircase resting towards the rear of the showroom area.  Scarpa's staircase is a testimony to the ability of architectural pieces to change the character and quality of an entire space.  The staircase is a marvel structurally and aesthetically beautiful.  Each stair is an individual slab of solid stone, a brass support rod lies within the stairs to support the weight, however from a building user's perspective the staircase appears to float like a cantilever with no support at all due to the shadow cast over the support structure.  

While Scarpa had a masterful control over the design and construction of staircases, sadly he did not share his abilities when it came to walking down them.  He was killed from injuries sustained when he fell down a flight of concrete stairs.

Please enjoy the images below, they are a mix between professional photographs of the showroom along with some of the physical models I constructed at 1:20 scale to explore the space in real time!

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