The genesis of a unique and exclusive product is told directly by the author, Dante Oscar Benini, and sculpted in his relationship/meeting with a great protagonist of the project culture.
Factum was taken from the “Verum ipsum factum” inscription on the monumental front door of the IUAV at the Tolentini in Venice, designed by Carlo Scarpa. The motto “truth is itself something made” is a vivifying principle of the philosophy of Giambattista Vico, where the Latin terms VERUM and FACTUM have a reciprocal relationship.
As for the Neapolitan philosopher, also for the Venetian architect the search for the truth became one with the doing; and that “doing” contains in itself the germ of thought – the generator of development of any idea or project – which is proper to the human mind.
The story reaches Venice by water, accompanied by the sound of a “mental percussion”, that of a continuous hammering that derives from Maestro Scarpa, which the architect Benini feels every time he is about to embark on a new journey, a new project: in fact, it is the role of the drummer in a band, but this relentless musician is in his head.
Solid: we mean the material of the Gate that welcomes the students of the IUAV, a huge stone that necessarily evokes the image of a solid and not a stone slab.
A split solid, because it is firmly cut with an inclination that has been brought back inside the wooden surface project – exactly in the upper right corner – thus creating a showy and characteristic missing angle in the solid described above.
During our last meeting, Benini said that “Even though Prof. Bruno Zevi warned me that, under penalty of being deleted from his reviews, I should abandon my deep-rooted mental percussion, which originates from my training with Carlo Scarpa, the mark and DNA of his teachings are like indelible scars in my soul. Although I am aware of the responsibility I have in transferring a thought to something that will become material and of social use and, perhaps due to my humble ambition, even make history, when I am about to use the pencil on a blank sheet, my mind runs through all his signs and all his works”.
The Scarpian signs are piercing: you either understand them or you have no soul. However, if you understand them, worlds to be explored open up. And this is what happened with FACTUM. This project is also the result of a personal meeting with a company, Listone Giordano, and a working group led by Andrea Margaritelli. We fully shared ideals and values, and thus the research and experimentation process took off: “in the piercing silence of the feelings, the challenge of trying to draw a new dream was taken on”. Benini tells us with his study partner Luca Gonzo. And here the Scarpian images re-emerge and stop on the solid of the gate of IUAV in Venice.
“The solid split in the right corner inspired organic compositions, which I went back and read in all the preparatory sketches of the maestro; hence our experiments, mine and Luca’s, to transform a thought into a parquet full of spirituality and endless composition that gives the designer or the end user the possibility of having a Unicum, both formal and chromatic, without this affecting in any way the industrial production, which in fact has a historical handicraft matrix that will never be lost.”
A collaboration that has deeply involved the company throughout the entire research process. A surprising and unprecedented floor, designed to climb on the wall and become boiserie, yet fully aware of where to stop. Will it? Or will it colonize other levels of the décor project, as it is embedded in his genetic code. FACTUM is now a reality and prepares the ground for a new leap in the history of wooden décor surfaces.
The designers: Dante O. Benini & Partners Architects
In 1997, Dante Oscar Benini founded Dante O. Benini & Partners Architects, which he leads as President together with Luca Gonzo, Senior Partner and Managing Director. With offices in Milan, London, Istanbul, and a staff of about 60 people, the studio is active with its various departments in the fields of architectural design, urban planning, interior architecture, design, and nautical design. The firm produces projects for entire urban districts, headquarters of large groups, industrial laboratories, commercial spaces, exclusive clubs, private homes, yachts, and design pieces, for an international audience. Each project has its foundations in technical, economic, and environmental sustainability, and offers a quality architecture whose attention to detail is the fundamental principle. The studio has received many awards and mentions (the latest being Best Lighting at the BOAT International Design & Innovation Awards 2018), achieved victories in international competitions, and organizes seminars and conferences in Italy and abroad. There are many publications dedicated to the studio; many have written about it, to name a few: Bruno Zevi, Cesare De Seta, Cesare Casati, Ada Francesca Marcianò, Renato Pedio, Roberto Guiducci, Giampiero Bosoni, Maurizio Vitta, Luigi Prestinenza Puglisi.