Italian marble unifies U.N. facility in Rome

May 16, 2002
/ Print / Reprints /
/ Text Size+
A new facility known as the "Atrium" was added to The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) headquarters in Rome, Italy. The floor design of the building features a large amount of marble from the Veneto Region.

Complementing the marble are two shades of engineered stone, which clad the walls.
To meet the growing demands of The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), a new facility known as the "Atrium" was added to the agency's headquarters in Rome, Italy. A palette of natural stone from the Veneto Region of Northern Italy was employed for the design of

the new building, which is considered

to be a significant work of modern architecture in the capital city.

Working on this landmark project was a design team comprised of international architects, who collaborated with the Marble Consortium of the Veneto Region - also called Progetto Marmo (The Marble Project). The marble donated to the building was produced by companies in the Veneto Region, including Guardini Srl, Pietra della Lessinia Srl and Pietra della Valpolicella Srl - all located in Schioppo, which is in the heart of the Lessinia hills. Additionally, Moncervetto marble from Aosta, which is owned by Veneta Marmi of Grezzana, was also employed in the design.

The floor pattern is comprised of a field of Pietra della Lessinia with a polished finish accented by pieces of Trachite Euganea and Moncervetto marble.

Design objectives

The Atrium was designed to provide a place for the heads of state as well as ministers and ambassadors of countries in the United Nations to gather and discuss the vital issues of agriculture and food supplies in the world, according to Progetto Marmo, adding that the project reflects the Consortium's love of marble as a building material. In total, the FAO offices in Rome host over 200 foreign delegations and 2,500 employees.

To build the new structure, an area of over 20,000 square feet was required. A space was found in front of the Fori Imperiali - between blocks A and B of the sprawling office complex on site. The road servicing the Atrium is partially covered by a bridge and partially by a modern metallic and glass structure, which was donated by the Italian government. According to Progetto Marmo, the design challenge was to turn the open space into a hall, which would serve as the entrance to FAO headquarters as well as being able to create an atmosphere of modern business and communications efficiency, without being architecturally intimidating.

With the design objective in mind, the architects decided to create a marble floor with a diameter of 270 x 75 feet to unify the area. The traditional marble from the area was used in order to emphasize the contribution made by the Consortium and Regional Authority to the project. Pietra della Lessinia marble is pink and white with strong chromatic properties, according to Progetto Marmo. Complementing the polished stone is Moncervetto, a light gray stone with hints of white, and Trachite Euganea marble, a light gray stone from the Euganei hills around Padova. This material was used for the edges and perimeter of the floor design.

The diameter of the floor design spans 270 x 75 feet.
The side walls were clad with two varieties of engineered stone manufactured by Stone Italiana, which has facilities in Verona and Gorizia. The materials, which are both made from marble and quartz, were installed with ventilated wall technology and load-bearing structure in steel, said Progetto Marmo. "Wega" is a light shade of gray with darker flecks of gray, which was employed for the upper portions of the interior walls, while "Special FAO grey" is a dark gray material used for the base of the walls. At the center of the Atrium sits a sculpted winged lion made of red marble. According to the Consortium, this statue symbolizes the Veneto Region as well as standing as a testament to the Veneto Marble Consortium and to the origin of the materials used for the construction of the building.

In total, the construction of the Atrium took two years to complete. The design is comprised of about 30,000 square feet of stone. Work began with the preparation of the foundations, which was carried out by specialist companies under the supervision of the Consortium.

The new space includes a reception area, registration facilities for conference delegates, information desks, a large cultural exhibition area and a meeting point for congress participants. Add-itionally, there is an Internet caf¿.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Stone World 

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

November 2013 Stone Products Gallery

Take a look at some of the latest stone industry products.


Stone World Magazine

April 2014 stone world cover

2014 April

In this month's issue of Stone World, check out an extensive preview of Coverings 2014, which will be celebrating its 25th anniversary in April. Also learn more about various types of limestone that were used to build private residences.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Contemporary Stone & Tile Design Magazine


2014 Spring

This issue of Contemporary Stone & Tile Design includes our annual focus on Kitchen and Bath design

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Training Program

How formal is your training program for new employees?
View Results Poll Archive

The Stone World Store

How to Polish & Restore Marble Flooring

This video will show you step-by-step how to resurface and polish marble flooring from grinding and removing lippage and scratches to achieving a highly reflective polish.

More Products

Italian Trade Commission Coverings exhibitor preview

Italian Trade Commission logo 2

The Italian Trade Commission is presenting a large group of the most innovative and internationally renowned Italian suppliers of dimensional natural stones. We hope your busy schedule will allow you to join us for a “genuine” espresso in booth N. 4045 and explore the exciting Italian natural stone resources offered by our exhibitors. Check out Italian stone producers exhibiting at Coverings 2014 here!


Stone Industry Education

stone industry educationStone Industry Education is sponsored by Stone World Magazine and Marble Institute of America. The SIE events will help you: strengthen your skills, build your business, and  increase profit in your shop.  Check out to register for upcoming fabricator and installer seminars.


facebook logo Twitter  YouTube