Pura Vida

The restyling of the school, carried out in collaboration with the artist and illustrator Tony Gallo, has given rise to a project of great liveliness where art and architecture intertwine indissolubly.

The school is divided into three floors connected by a freight elevator or, alternatively, by an external staircase. Crossing the entrance, from which the illustrated characters of Gallo wink, we enter a space without time or place, inhabited by fairy-tale figures and enveloping colours. The scenic blue staircase, which like a fantastic waterfall leads to a small wardrobe-floor, is another dynamic element that invites the imagination of children to new adventures. Secured by a weave of jute ropes attached to the floor that recall the maritime atmosphere, the staircase becomes an architectural element that divides the space creating a further functional and stimulating environment. The entrance leads to the freight elevator, where, in the company of the creatures of Gallo and a kaleidoscopic illustrated tree, which changes its appearance during the ascent and descent, we get to the first floor: the middle school.

The middle school is characterized by a more sober interior, in line with the age of the children who attend, but without losing the joy and lightness that characterize the general project. Between the spaces, in fact, there are no walls or clean separations, but glass walls underlined by asymmetrical wooden wings that sometimes become bookcases.

In the central area of the floor, a teacher’s room has been created, reserved for the activities of teaching and administrative staff, around which the classrooms and other rooms unfold. On the floor there is also a common room, equipped with tables and sofas, to be used when waiting or during breaks.

The ceiling is moved by a spectacular system of circular elements in coconut, functional to the system of ventilation of the premises. Painted in warm, natural colours that recall the tones of the earth, the rooms are reassuring and welcoming, pervaded by the natural light that enters through the large perimeter windows.

Gallo’s creative touch is expressed on the doors of the freight elevator, camouflaged by an illustrated bookcase that transforms them into another decorative element. From here we can access the third and last floor, the one dedicated to the elementary school.

The space dedicated to the kindergarten follows the same concept of fluid space applied to the lower floor enriched with natural elements, such as tree trunks to be used as stools, making it perfect to accommodate younger children. Unlike the middle school, the classrooms have a circular plan, almost as if to embrace the children, and the same principle of circularity is taken up on the wall with niches where you can sit.

The colour scale is lowered to create an atmosphere of great tranquillity and Tony Gallo’s illustrations gladden the walls of the toilets with a natural pattern reminiscent of a fantastic forest. The kitchen environment is a further touch of design, with the reclaimed wooden table and the beautiful aphorism of Novalis which, through the words “Das Herz ist der Schl├╝ssel zur Welt und des Lebens” (The heart is the key to the world and to life), almost seems to give a key to interpreting the project itself.

  • Creditsi: Silvio Stefani, Architect. Clara Galanti, Photo.
  • Illustration: Tony Gallo.
  • Category / Company
  • Location / St. Gallen, Switzerland
  • Year / 2017
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