Building on the aesthetics and techniques developed by Elastico Farm in its experimental House of Cards scheme, which explores the structural possibilities of granite, the lab is made up from panels of interlocking pink-pigmented concrete.
The concrete planes vary in tone and are paired with panels of blackened aluminium and translucent polycarbonate to give a patch-work appearance. Some panels overshoot the facade at corners of the S-LAB building, creating fins that shade windows and doors, and playfully breaking down the traditional boxy warehouse typology.
“The project adopts the traditional construction technology for manufacturing buildings and, by reinterpreting it, avoids the repetition of the typical image of industrial warehouses,” says the practice, which was set up by Stefano Pujatti, Alberto Del Maschio and Sara dal Gallo in 2005.
“The deconstruction of volumes is emphasised by the use of reinforced concrete infill panels of different colours which protrude beyond the boundaries of the building. Some of the concrete panels conceal a message that only reveals itself under certain precise conditions of air humidity; an experiment, on the skin of a building created for experimentation.”
These “hidden messages” – the letters INFN to spell out the name of the institute – are only revealed in the concrete panels under particular environmental conditions.