Interview with Giacomo della Villa: Iris Ceramica Group for Isokinetic

Mauro Consilvio,

Bologna, Italy,

Iris Ceramica Group, Interview,

Floornature interviewed Giacomo della Villa, who has designed advanced sports rehabilitation facilities for Isokinetic in a number of cities in Italy and in London. Della Villa designed the interiors of the Isokinetic centres using the Iris Ceramica Group’s high-tech ceramic surfaces.

Interview with Giacomo della Villa: Iris Ceramica Group for Isokinetic
What is a person going into an Isokinetic centre looking for, and what kind of atmosphere do your interiors convey?
Every time a patient steps over the threshold of an Isokinetic centre, they ought to perceive three sensations. The first and most important of these is “feeling at home”.  The second is going into a highly specialised centre that is part of an international network. The third is being in a futuristic centre. Hence the use of cutting-edge materials such as those in the Iris Ceramica, Porcelaingres and Fabbrica Marmi e Graniti catalogues, perfectly combining the most advanced technologies with the warmth of natural surfaces. 

Can you tell us more about the Isokinetic project and its history?
The Isokinetic group was established in the ’90s and now operates eight centres in Italy and one in London. The idea inspiring them is an intuition of Stefano Della Villa, my elder brother and current president of Isokinetic, supported by my other brother, Marco Della Villa, who is now the group’s CEO. We started out in a 50 sqm gym contained in a multi-purpose medical facility just outside Bologna. In that 50 sqm space we had everything – reception desk, gym, dressing rooms, clinic and offices. We did it all together, assembling the equipment, installing the lights, dividing walls and furnishings. And, in those 50 sqm, my brother Stefano acted as secretary, physician and therapist.
We soon moved into a space designed specifically for the purpose, with facilities specifically intended for a sports rehabilitation centre, measuring 500 sqm.
But the real turning point came in 2004 with the opening of the new centre in Bologna, specially designed and built alongside the old facility, with a net floor space of 2300 sqm, permitting spaces and surfaces we had not even dreamed of before: this was our first centre with its own rehabilitation pool, measuring 25 m x 11 m. And this is where we first studied the interior design. 

What does Isokinetic mean in terms of interior design?
When we were designing the Bologna centre, we realised that if we wanted to create continuity between our locations – for we had already purchased the space in Milan and were planning to open others – we would have to come up with a layout that could easily be replicated anywhere in Italy. And that is exactly what we did. The Bologna centre was the first centre to have the features you now find in all our facilities.
After Bologna and Milan, in only a few years we opened new centres in Turin, Rome, Rimini, Verona, another one in Milan and then one in London.
But people’s tastes had changed in the meantime, and the London centre marked a change of direction, taking on a more contemporary look. London, central Milan and Turin became our first “Isokinetic 2.0” centres.
Our Turin facility, the most recent one, is located in the historic Quadrilatero district in the city centre, in a 1100 sqm former convent. 
While maintaining the architectural quality of the convent, we transformed the space into an advanced Isokinetic centre with specific functions. The swimming pool constructed 9 metres below street level was the most difficult challenge, and the one that has given us the most satisfaction. Along with the “green room”, a gym within a gym where we conduct neuro-motorial tests for the prevention of injuries.
Use of specific high-tech materials was of course of primary importance, in view of strict health and hygiene regulations. 

How important are surfaces in rehabilitation facilities such as these?
In the past decade we have looked for partners for the construction of our centres who could help us choose the right materials. Hence our preference for the vast range of solutions offered by the companies in the Iris Ceramica Group.
And in fact the flooring materials in the entrance to the public offices and all the patient facilities are from the Iris Ceramica Group’s catalogues. In the entrance, for example, FMG Fabbrica Marmi e Graniti’s Crema Marfil turned out to be the ideal material because of the welcoming feel its colour conveys even at first glance. 
My goal has in fact always been to create centres that are nothing like hospitals, but make patients feel perfectly at ease, waiting for their turn with their crutches under their arms as if they were at home in their own living room. 
The same applies to the dressing rooms, except where local healthcare regulations require use of R11 materials. But even here the Iris Ceramica and Porcelaingres catalogues offer a vast, highly various choice of materials in the R11 category.

Surfaces supplied by the Iris Ceramica Group

Isokinetic Centre in Turin, Via delle Orfane 20/e
FMG Fabbrica Marmi e Graniti
Crema Marfil Extra naturale, Marmi Select series, 120x60 size

Iris Ceramica
Shire Dorset (R11), 60x60 and 30x60 sizes

Iris Ceramica
Calx Panna, 10x30 size
Calx Grigio, 10x30 size

Milan Isokinetic Centre, Via Vivaio 22
Iris Ceramica
Avenue Ivory, 100x300 size

Iris Ceramica
Shire Dorset (R11), 120x60 and 60x60 sizes

Iris Ceramica
Calx Panna, 10x30 size
Calx Grigio, 10x30 size

Bologna Isokinetic Centre, Via Casteldebole, 8/10
URBAN White Weave, 60x60 size
JUST BEIGE Light Beige, 60x60 size

Iris Ceramica Group dealer: Edilceramiche, Via Adriatica 176. MISANO ADRIATICO, (RN) 
Photos by © Mauro Consilvio


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