Caffè delle logge

Location: Prato, Toscana
Designer: Prof. Ing. Arch. Marco Dezzi Bardeschi
Project: Renovation Antico Caffé delle Logge
Client: Comune di Prato
Use: Caffè-ristorante
Works of art: pavimenti in mosaico - Diego Esposito
Painted decorations in the Small dining hall: S. Casagrande e R. Recalcati; Palme del Salone: M. Partini
Painted decoration in the Hall: V. Locatelli
Structures and 494/96: Ing. M. Marrani
Executive coordinator and site management assistant: D. Dezzi Bardeschi
Designer for the Bar Counter, lights and tables: Archh. T.Turi e M. Bettarini
Building firm: Edil Como
Construction of the window frames and iron work: M. Pascarella
Bench constructed by: M. Ferretti
Steel window and doorframes: Palladio SpA
Phots: P. Belvedere
"My convictions about restoration work that have been built up over long years of teaching, research and application (projects and sites)"

A small compendium for innovative quality building work

  1. Conserve, not restore; this has already been repeated, before us, by many great European Fathers of the culture of conservation. Read their writings, and follow their clear example.
  2. Respect, not contaminate or violate, the autographed witness of material culture that we have inherited from the past in a unique copy, with all the subsequent contribution which have been placed on the material palimpsest.
  3. Do not subtract essential matter from the great building that Architect is working on, rather consider it as a handwritten document of the Archaeology of knowing and look after it, with a precise project of knowledge and permanence, with integral transmission to the atteintion and the knowing use, without that consumer culture typical of the new generations.
  4. Consider the growing, singular complexity of the “constructed” resource as a work always open to further intake if quality that can dialogue with the existing part in a direct and transparent manner; i.e. guarantee that the conservation is as integral as possible potential new resources with an autonomous, legible and potentially reversible nature; i.e. again: consider the additional parts as a testimonial work of quality with specific features “of our time”.
  5. Do not deny the dialectic confrontation between Ancient and Modern, i.e. the dialogue the existing historic matter for the needs (functional, plant engineering, furnishing) to resolve a direct dialogue between old materials and site techniques and new materials and modern innovative techniques.

This is why, for new architectural elements that must be inserted in a strongly characterized historic context, I have always personally preferred iron-glass rather than rough concrete. In particular, for the structures, the protagonists in my work are sections and bent sheet in carbon or stainless steel, corten membranes, planes and panels of stratified glass.
Here, in Prato, on the site of the Caffé delle Logge, for both the window and doorframes I confess that I really appreciated the rigour and flexibility of the new minimalist steel profiles produced by Palladio, so elegant, fine and essential.

By Marco Dezzi Bardeschi

Acciaio Arte Architettura 19