The Colour Project by Made a Mano – Panels made out of Glazed Lava Stone for the new Law Courts in Paris designed by RPBW Architects

by Editorial Staff

Compasses Magazine

The new Courthouse of Paris, designed by Renzo Piano, involved hundreds of people with its design and construction. Among the various suppliers there was also a prestigious Sicilian company: Made a Mano S.r.l of Rosario Parrinello, specialized in the processing of Etna lava stone through a process of ceramization.

The company is constantly orientated towards researching innovative solutions and new project horizons. The project for the New Court of Paris was a further opportunity to put oneself to the test and give answers to specific aesthetic and technical requests of the RPBW Architects studio.

Indeed, in design intentions, particular attention was given to light and sobriety of the materials that reflect it. In this respect, the choice of materials and colours was fundamental.

In the areas of the “IGH” (Tower), where the offices are located, not being able to use the warm shades of wood (due to fire prevention regulations), made colour a design necessity to enrich the almost 7 km of circulation areas with white walls and ceilings. However, applying a uniform colour to the corridors’ internal walls did not meet the approval of a significant part of the project stakeholders.

This gave rise to the idea of using colour as a mobile element: hanging coloured panels on the walls of the corridors seemed to be the idea that convinced everybody from both an aesthetic and a functional point of view. These panels can be organized according to requirements at any moment in time or can serve to identify the various services provided on the different floors of the building. The panels are spread appropriately on the walls opposite the glass doors of the offices. In this way indirect natural light, coming from the offices, is reflected on the coloured panels and diffused in the corridors endowing them with different hues according to the time of day.

The idea of using a handcrafted coloured glaze on lava rock panels seemed appropriate and met all expectations. The glazed panels measuring 1 m x 1 m hung on the wall offer the brightness, variety and imperfection of the material used to obtain the desired effect.

Thanks to this solution, the glazed panels play an important visual role by redefining the perspective and depth of the circulation areas. Natural light becomes iridescent and harmonizes along the depth of the corridors according to the time of day and the chosen colours.

This “colour” project has aroused much interest among the higher ranks of the Paris Law Courts, to the extent that they dispensed with the works of art envisaged for the workspaces, preferring the painted lava panels proposed by RPBW and finely crafted by Rosario Parrinello, CEO & Creative Director of Made a Mano srl.

– Project by Studio Renzo Piano Building Workshop
– Photo by Michel Denancé;
– Panels of lava stone by Made a Mano srl, Rosario Parrinello


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