Fondaco dei Tedeschi, a famed building on Venice’s Grand Canal near the Rialto bridge, has been central to Venetian life since its construction in the 14th Century. The palazzo itself has undergone various changes, with the most recent architectural restoration work handled by OMA and the interior design, by Jamie Fobert. The building, now known as T Fondaco, has returned to its trading origins, with a store owned by DFS (in the LVMH group), boutiques and luxury display areas spread across four floors. The ground-floor courtyard was turned into a covered piazza to create a central area from which visitors can easily reach the various sections; for example, it has direct access to the ground-floor shops and to the upper floors. The upper levels were also heavily revamped, with a new glass and steel floor above which rises the display area, and the restoration of the roof to create a large terrace with a sweeping view of the city. Outside, the restrictions on this listed building meant the external walls, decorations and windows could not be altered. Thus, to create a “new image” without making changes, the architects turned to Secco Sistemi’s OS2 75 windows in natural brass, creating a visual link to the internal staircase, various partitions and numerous finishings. Brass also weathers well, maintaining its performance levels, but oxidizing to become a lovely, warm brown. Secco Sistemi’s OS2 75 thermal break windows recreate the feel of iron windows, but in quality materials like brass, Cor-ten, stainless steel and lacquered galvanized steel. 37 profiles are available - starting from 27 mm wide - for doors, and tilt-and-turn, folding and pivot windows. This system can hold insulating panels up to 32 mm, with the central section on a double window only 62 mm and the lateral sections, 47 mm. There are flush and non-flush options, with visible or concealed openings, and four types of glazing beads. The accessories, like the handles, drips and hinges, were made of the same materials as the profiles. OS2 75 is an ideal solution for contemporary architecture because it offers such composition freedom, but also provides the versatility required to work with listed or monumental buildings, seamlessly integrating into these through an essential, modern language.
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