by Samuele Tordini - Technical and Manager Director

«A stitch in time saves nine»

Yeah, I came back. I came back to do one of the things I do best, talk about my job, after doing it, of course. 

Why do I have to talk to you about this? Simply, because “a stitch in time saves nine”. 

For those of us who speak Italian the most pertinent idiomatic expression is “prevenire è meglio che curare”. In French we would say “mieux vaut prévenir que guérir.”

And in German? Well, I’m sorry, no offense, but I don’t know German. 

Back to where we belong. What should we prevent? The failure of a project, of course. 

How to do that? The components for a successful project are a lot, one of these, as we told you in another article concerns the choice of materials.

Yes, this stage is very delicate. It goes without saying that the choice of one material over another will affect the duration and maintenance costs, but it does not end there.

In fact, even the character and style of an environment will depend to a large extent on the choice of these elements, but it does not end here either.

Yes, because the use of suitable and quality materials influences the well-being and emotions that the guest lives within the spaces and arouses pleasant sensations that involve the senses: sight, touch, smell and sometimes even hearing. 

Not surprisingly, we usually use moquette for rooms and corridors of the Hotels, this material that better absorbs the noise of walking or luggage passing. Even for offices, for the same reason, the choice falls on the moquette, although in this case we opt for a more technical moquette, short hair, easier to clean. 

And you will see that your hearing will be repaid. 

But how to make the best choice?

«Like riding a bicycle»

Immediately, to the question above I would answer you, relying on the right people and adding “one precisely to us”, but I would be too self-referential, and we are not. We always leave the final judgment to our customers.

But I can tell you about the things I have learned over the years about materials, how to choose the right ones for a project and I can add that you must always rely on someone who has a vast knowledge of them.

Why? Because it’s necessary that the materials identified are compatible with the function they will have to perform.

Let me get this straight. We often propose alternative materials that are more functional than those chosen by customers or architects.

For example, if an architect/client wants marble in the design of a bar, knowing that this material is very delicate and therefore not compatible with this type of space, we look for and propose alternative solutions, equal from the aesthetic point of view, but more performing. 

So it’s important to consider when choosing the function of the materials and type of project in which they will be used.

It goes without saying that, for restaurant projects or public areas of hotels we always choose for upholstery, washable and stain-resistant fabrics, velvets and eco-leather.

This allows the guest to be completely free to live the space, without worrying too much about what happens if the coffee falls in a seat.

Surely, this affects your well-being and that of your guests and, of course, your wallet.

Another issue concerns wood. Ah, how beautiful the parquet is. But is it a wise decision to use it in a Hotel or in a public space?

I would say no. In fact we recommend this material for private residential use, and we have often included it in projects of this type.

This is because the parquet is very delicate, requires great maintenance, is easily damaged and therefore is not suitable for an environment used every day by many people. We can’t ask the guests to wear slippers, no?

Therefore, when we are required to use this material we recommend using another. Today, in fact, wood is replicated with many materials, suitable for different uses and able to guarantee the same type of design and the same final effect.

An example? Tiles or PVC that really look like parquet. 

We used them at the Crowne Plaza Geneva, to ensure that the final effect is that of a parquet, able to stimulate positive feelings in the guest, recreating a welcoming atmosphere, but at the same time allows to reduce both the initial cost and those for maintenance and cleaning.

Even for furniture, wood, difficult to manage even in these cases, is sometimes replaced with laminates. The latter are reaching a very high level and are often mistaken for real wood. For example, we often use the Kaindl brand.

Of course, we must also take into account the budget. Marble, for example, is a highly fashionable comeback finish. However, it is expensive and often the budget does not allow you to use it.

Don’t panic. In many projects, to meet all the needs of the customer both aesthetically and economically, we have researched and opted for excellent tiles that look like real marble.

Look at the picture, did you ever think that this isn’t real marble? I don’t think so.

Or, for worktops, there are highly performing compounds suitable to replace marble. 

I could go on and on, but I want to tell you about something else, too. 

I can only add, to close this point, that for me to use the right materials “is like riding a bicycle”, once you have learned, you can no longer fall, and then fail.

«Aesthetics or functionality? This is the dilemma»

You’re right, Shakespeare said “to be or not to be” is the dilemma. But also choosing between functionality and aesthetics is the dilemma.

And so I ask you, why do I have to choose? It is unthinkable. Or at least that’s how we work.

In every project, we never penalize aesthetics or functionality. We try to find the right mix. 

The desire, and the ability to choose and insert functional materials in each project comes from our experience as a company. We feel a kind of responsibility both present and future towards the customer, a responsibility that pushes us to focus on this aspect. We would never want that after a year an element is to be changed because you have not chosen a material compatible with the function of use that had to perform, for example. 

On the other hand, however, precisely because our team is formed by architects, designers, technicians, then by a plurality of people with different visions and focused on different aspects, we know how to grasp every aspect of the project, understanding that in addition to functionality there is aesthetics. 

We understand that for the client or for an architect a material must certainly be functional, but also beautiful, able to fascinate guests.

So, when a project is entrusted to us, to choose the right materials, me along with the technical department, focus more on finding something that is functional and performing, while for example Elisabetta and the design office take more into consideration the aesthetic aspects.

We compensate perfectly, we are two halves of an apple (too romantic?), and together we find a solution that perfectly encloses the two aspects.

«Like riding a bicycle...or rather»

Do you remember? I told you that for me knowing how to choose the right materials is like riding a bike, once you understand how to do it you can not go wrong. However, there may be obstacles, and we must try not to fall and therefore to remain in balance.

What obstacles can we encounter and how do we dodge them?

I already told you about the budget. Often the materials requested by the client or by the architect don’t respect the budget. For this reason, we propose alternative solutions that have the same effect from the aesthetic point of view but that are cheaper and therefore respect the budget better. 

Another obstacle is supply. It happens sometimes that the materials chosen and approved have higher delivery times than those provided in the planning.

It happened to us recently, in one of the latest projects we’re completing. In fact, for the Villars Palace Resort, although there isn’t a great variety of materials required, there was a real challenge against time. 

This is because we had to carry out a thorough research to identify the wood finish for the rooms that respected the timing and that allowed us to deliver the Hotel to the customer on the agreed date. 

Then put that this year the wood is practically unavailable, given also the world pandemic, and the game becomes even more difficult.

To overcome this challenge, in addition to careful research, we also turned to our consistent network of national and international suppliers, and we did it.

Often the obstacles in identifying and choosing the right materials are related to the nature of the project. Hotel N’Vy, for example, is a concentration of finishes and customizations of artistic gestures of the architect Patrick Ribes. This has made inevitable for us the implementation of a deep search for alternative solutions capable of making the architect’s idea real.

Last, but obviously not the last (there are plenty of them), an important aspect that I want to talk about is the availability of materials. 

This is also an important obstacle, I have to say.

It can happen that the materials of a project are chosen by the architect and/or customer and they are available only in the country or region of origin of the latter, and maybe the country in question is on the other side of the world.

Given, often, the impossibility of finding these materials, it’s necessary to find a solution.

That’s what we did for the ground floor project and the seventh and eighth floors of the Crowne Plaza Geneva.

Celia Chu, architect of this project, and her team, had in fact chosen and given to us as a reference, materials that were only commercially available in the geographic area where the architectural firm was located – Taiwan. Impossible therefore to find. 

But by using our network of suppliers and through relentless research by our team of designers supported by the purchasing department, we could meet all the architect’s requirements, finding alternative materials similar to those initially proposed but easier to find.

All the alternatives have been strictly evaluated by Celia Chu and her staff who have come to both Italy and Geneva for this purpose. 

We’re at the end of this article. I think you’ll agree with me that the subject is too broad to be described in a single article. 

And then, I can not tell you all the tricks of the trade, but I can use them for your project, if you entrust 🙂

Author: Samuele Tordini
Position: Technical and Manager Director

Time flies when you’re having fun.
If you want to have more fun, read also: