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Palazzo di Spagna

The restoration intervention proposed a chromatic uniformity for the entire façade, restoring a hypothetical “stone” reading of the entire structure, in continuity with the travertine basement. The resulting image differs from both the original image and the last nineteenth-century remake, because both were based on a two-color pattern that distinguished ashlars and cornices from the bottom, attributing a figurative “structural” value to architectural scores.

The intervention carried out, replacing the last modern painting in plastic quartz with a new coloring made with lime and travertine powder, transforms the rigid nineteenth-century scheme, characterized by a clear distinction between base and elevation, in a new elevation where every single part is perceived as a decorative relief of a single surface, following the example of some Roman palaces entirely covered in travertine (Palazzo della Cancelleria). The technique used for the realization of the finishes was directly taken up according to the written indications left by one of the designers of the building: the architect Francesco Borromini.

He explains in one of his writings how a faux-travertine façade should be made through the use of a paste called “brodata”: a mixture of travertine powder with the addition of a white lime grout. This compound, even through the spreading technique on the plastered areas, which must be done with the brush given in the head, actually manages to give the feeling of real travertine. The resumption of this technique of historical matrix, today attributes a cultural depth to the intervention, while in ancient times it was used because the coating entirely in travertine was extremely expensive.

The restoration of the building continues with the restoration of the facades of the internal cloisters. Notable emergencies such as the large windows that line the staircase of Borromini, the fountain and the restoration of some fake frescoed windows, have made the restoration work complex and has been conducted with particular care.

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Client: Private
Location: Rome
Mission: project and realization
Date: 2007
Role: Designer