a | talk · Federico Pavese / fARCHITECTS

Federico Pavese is the founder of fARCHITECTS, a multidisciplinary studio with branches in Asti, Torino and in Toronto, operating since 2012 in Interior Design, Urban Planning, with a specialisation in healthcare and sport facilities.

The Studio philosophy can be summed in the expression “form follows function”, with a specific approach towards use and the inherent differences in each and every project.

A work method that dedicates a great attention to sustainable themes – backed by a very specific academic background: Federico Pavese is LEED Green Associate (soon to become LEED AP), is among the 189 Italian architects CERTIFIED PASSIVE HOUSE DESIGNERS and soon with a Degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering.

What makes you go for a rubber flooring in a project? Is it an obvious choice, given the purpose of the building (for example a school, a hospital) or is it a creative decision?

The way I see it, my profession is all about prototypes. Relaying just on past experience can be deceiving.

You have to analyse the case at hand very carefully: the most important thing is the reason behind every choice. Each project is different at many levels.

Considering our work at Villa Annunziata, the job was to design a facility for people with cognitive disorder. That is why I chose a sensorial approach, working on every sense: colors for the eyes (with different palettes for different areas), softness for touch and noise reduction for the ears.

Colors are meant to be a sort of guide, helping identify the areas, providing relief to a sense of bewilderment that can affect the patients. The softness of the flooring is also extremely important, in case someone trips and falls.

In a word, I wanted to create a protective environment, and rubber turned out to be the perfect material. You might say every choice I made had the patient at the centre.

Do you think that rubber, as a concept, adds value to a project? Which are, in your experience and opinion, the “winning” features of rubber as a material for floors?

 

The answer to the firsts question is positively yes, just as I was saying before.

The best “winning quality” of rubber floorings is the variety of colors, which provides an immense potential and allows me to add a certain element of character to a space.

Scientifically speaking, color is the result of wavelengths in visible spectrum and individual sensibility, so there is always a subjective element in perception. That is why color has such an impact on productivity and mindsets.

Color, texture or surface value (smooth vs studded): what makes you most excited when working with a rubber flooring?

 

I would like to answer “it depends” or better yet “do not assume”.

It depends on the requirements and the features the project must assure. As an example, textured rubber floorings always look cleaner, because the texture somehow hides stains and scratches, but for the same reason they are more difficult to keep perfectly sanitised.

Aesthetically, what I love more is the smooth surface, because is more sincere.

Is there a “dream project” on your desk featuring rubber floorings?

 

More like a practical goal: considering my expertise in healthcare and sports, I would like to build fitness and rehab centres, big structures, both in North America as well as in Italy.

 

Certain qualities of rubber floorings, such as low emissions and LEED credits make them extremely “a la page” given the current high level of attention towards ecology and sustainable architecture.

How do you see the future for rubber floorings?

I have a specific preparation when it comes to LEED and I can say this: every natural material, low on emissions and easily disposable – as rubber is, in certain forms – is definitely on the best road to the future.

There are also other aspects. I always talk about the well-being of interiors, where acoustic comfort is fundamental. As of now there is no quality standard concerning acoustic comfort, but when there will be (and it is only a matter of time), 4 mm-thick rubber floorings will certainly be at the helm. Rubber in this aspect performs much better than its usual competitors.

Another thing: you can sanitise rubber floorings using far less “aggressive” cleaners than the ones required for other kinds of surfaces. Might seem a detail but it is not: just consider the volume of detergents that get poured in the environment daily. A truly sustainable philosophy must comprehend every aspect of what happens in a building.

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