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Conference: Zintek in the Davines Village

Form and Matter in Architecture

The “Zintek in the Davines Village: form and matter in architecture” conference, organized by Zintek with the patronage of the Milan Polytechnic and the Milan and Venice Architects Association, and the collaboration of the Milan and Venice Architects Association Foundations, was held on March 21st 2019 in the prestigious Salone d’Onore of the Milan Triennale.

The objective of the event was to present the new Davines headquarters in Parma, highlighting the synergy between the various subjects involved in the project.

Following the institutional welcome speech by Marco Sammicheli, coordinator of international activities for the Triennale, the architect Stefano Tropea from the Milan Architects Association Foundation kicked off the first part of the conference, underlining the importance of narrating the complexities of local design projects and of transforming the whole process into a cultural approach and educational opportunities, as Zintek has been doing for many years.

The next speaker, Stefano Benetti, COO of Davines, briefly introduced the history of the company and its ecological commitment, implemented with its adhesion to the BCorps companies, which share the goal of maximizing their positive impact for the planet. This is one of the reasons why Davines chose rolled zintek® titanium zinc products as a “skin” capable of meeting the company’s needs, from both a literal and figurative point of view.

Gianni Schiavon, chief executive officer of Zintek, expressed his pride regarding the network the company has been creating with designers, companies and professionals. This is a network based on reciprocal esteem and trust, as proven by the much appreciated attendance of the conference by architects who signed various projects Zintek was involved in.

The second part of the conference, focusing on the architectonic aspects of the Davines Village, was introduced by architecture historian Fulvio Irace, one of the most authoritative scholars on the topic of interactions between international and local cultures.

Starting from the idea of “beauty in imperfection”, the architect Matteo Thun gave a passionate speech about the ethical and professional responsibility all architects have towards our planet, indicating Davines and Zintek as examples worth following in the construction of buildings that, instead of falling into decay, become even more beautiful and precious over the years. The architect Luca Colombo examined the technical details of the construction, showing how the key idea of placing man at the centre of the project was interpreted. Another fundamental figure for the success of this approach was landscape architect Tommaso del Buono, who accurately described the green project built around and within the village complex.

The last speaker was Marco Imperadori, a professor in the Milan Polytechnic, who revisited the fascinating relationship that has always linked Milan and Venice, and focused on the engineering solutions used for zintek® titanium zinc cladding in the Village.

At the end of the conference, all the speakers received a specimen of Marco, a sculpture-vase created by Murano-based firm Salviati and winner of the Compasso d’Oro award in 1962. These vases, a perfect combination of industrial technology and manual skills – just like zintek® constructions – were delivered by Martina Semenzato, President of the Glass-making School and member of the board of Salviati, who underlined the relationship between the historical Venetian brand and Zintek.

All attendants received a copy of the precious 250-page photographic volume dedicated to the Davines project, and enjoyed the opportunity to visit the photography exhibition set up by Zintek and dedicated to some of its most relevant construction projects.