The railings and brass cladding of the new luxury center in Venice «T Fondaco dei Tedeschi» were supplied by Gonzato Contract of Vicenza, which designed them following the design of architect Rem Koolhaas.
The supply included the construction of the parapets for the panoramic roof terrace, for the openings on the escalator shaft and for the internal stairs on which special coatings were also installed. A total of 20 tons of brass were used for the production of the semi-finished products designed by architect Rem Koolhaas. The metal used is both raw and with selective oxidation in 15 shades. Part of the 260 meters of parapets were made of vertical plates with variable sections with special mechanical fixing systems, through retractable pins, which avoided the use of welding, while ensuring maximum structural rigidity. A LED lighting system has been inserted in the handrails of the internal stairs, which today represents the maximum expression of energy-saving architectural functionality. For the lateral and lower claddings of the main staircase, a steel substructure was created which the brass plates were attached. In order to guarantee the continuity of the metal cladding to the particular shape of the staircase, each panelling has been studied individually, as well as the concealed fixing systems. To avoid the effect of galvanic corrosion, the points of contact between the steel structure and the brass panels have been suitably insulated. The design of all the metal elements was performed by the experts of Gonzato Contract, a division of Ind.i.a. spa (Malo – Vicenza) dedicated to major works, while production was entrusted to the artisans of Arteferro, another division of the Vicenza company dedicated to the production of ornamental semi-finished products.
This intervention was part of the overall restoration and functional recovery project of the building, owned by the Benetton group, for which the OMA studio of Rem Koolhaas and the Italian construction company Sacaim were involved. Starting from Saturday 1 October 2016, the date of the official inauguration, the Fondaco dei Tedeschi has rediscovered its original destination with its 7,900 square meters of commercial space, becoming the first Dfs-branded department store in Europe, the travel retail division of the global luxury giant LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. The palace, which dates back to 1228, overlooking the Grand Canal in a position adjacent to the Rialto Bridge, was the centre of Venetian trade, then became a Customs station in the Napoleonic era and the post office headquarters in the 1900s. The project intends to go beyond the traditional concept of the department store, in order to constitute a meeting place for the city and promote events open to the public in collaboration with the cultural institutions of Venice.
A note from the president of In.d.i.a. Spa, Arch. Bruno Gonzato
«We are deeply honoured to have been chosen as a partner in the restoration of the Fondaco dei Tedeschi. Due to several factors, this order has a great value for us. The privilege of collaborating with an international star architect like Rem Koolhaas, the prestige of the organisations involved in the project and the awareness of the fact that we have installed our metal in a commercial and cultural centre where visitors, coming from all over the world, will be able to enjoy Italian architecture, art and hospitality, together with a high standard commercial offer, guaranteed by Louis Vuitton».