Open Conference Systems, Kainua 2017

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Reconstruction of Villino Florio’s wooden ceiling using 3D technologies
Francesco Gabellone, Ivan Ferrari

Last modified: 2017-03-21


This work starts from a simple assumption: it is possible to reconstruct destroyed architectural or decorative elements starting from documents that describe details, shape and materials? An important limitation, in the past, was the lack of technologies and materials that can replicate original object in detail - technology that can ensure accurate reconstruction, both on the morphological and aesthetic values, in terms of materials and finishes. Today  this gap has been solved thanks to the development of numerical control processes during the production phases (CNC). This experience is part of the restoration of Villino Florio in Palermo, which was partially destroyed by fire in 1962. A building designed by architect Ernesto Basile for the Florio family and built between 1899 and 1902.  It is one of Italy’s first architectural works of Art Nouveau style, considered a masterwork in the European panorama. In the Art Nouveau paradigms the creativity led to the creation of handcrafted works characterized by great artistic value, thanks to the centuries-old experience of the workshops where skilled carvers created unique works, structurally complex and finely decorated. The restoration directed by the Superintendence for the Cultural and Environmental Heritage of Palermo has also involved the monumental staircase, with the complex wooden floral pattern ("ramage") which decorated the ceiling. Starting from the survey of the entire entrance hall and using the old photographic documents, we recreate the 3D model of original Ramage. This NURBS model represent the basis for the subsequent implementation within numerical control machines on oak modules, assembled and finished just as they appeared in the photographs before the fire. The numerical approach has allowed the control of the entire process by adopting structural solutions to avoid that the ceiling was stressed by excessive weight.