Sculpting Foam Or 3D Printing: How An Advertising Company Restored A Palace In Italy

Italy… it’s full of history and romance that is framed by ancient monuments, buildings, and structures. Many of which require serious renovations. In fact, restorations are occurring across cities throughout the country. But could you imagine using sculpting foam to repair Italian antiquities and famous attractions?
An image of an Italian coliseum to highlight an article that Massivit's tech Balcony Capitals for Spada Palace in Italy

It almost happened when the owners of an historic palace in Ferrara, Italy, needed to replace five capitals under one of the balconies.


Even more unique than the idea of using sculpting foam for such an historic job was the choice of company hired for restoration: an advertising marketing agency.


How An Advertising Agency Got Into Restoration


Sismaitalia was originally founded as an Italy-based service bureau in 1996. It has since established itself as a pioneer in the Italian marketing, advertising and interior design industries as well as digital printing. They offer next-generation applications to their clients who are mostly large-scale retailers.


Sismaitalia wanted to continue to stay at the cutting-edge of their industry. They also wanted to meet their clients’ needs, so they installed a Massivit 1800 3D printer. Not only did this large format 3D printer give them a competitive edge in the visual communication industry, it helped them penetrate a new market: 3D-printed decor.


Their outstanding reputation and success in 3D decor is how Sismaitalia was invited to bid on the palace restoration job.


Sculpting Foam or 3D Printing?


aged and crumbling capital on Italian palace


Built in the 1800s, the Palazzo Spada was originally owned by the renowned Spada family. It changed hands over the years and is currently in use as a hotel for tourists. When the owners noticed that five capitals were crumbling, they knew these fixtures needed to be replaced quickly to preserve the beauty of the building’s facade.


They began exploring options.  It did not take long to realize that traditional restoration would take too much time, mostly due to the manual labor involved. Plus, depending on intricacy, costs can often soar. The owners considered using a temporary polystyrene replacement.


Then, a Restoration Engineer recommended calling Sismaitalia.


When the hotel owners heard the variety of benefits large format 3D printing offers, sculpting foam was no longer an option.


Massivit’s 3D Printing Benefits vs. Sculpting Foam


3D printing technology is rapidly being adopted in a range of industries worldwide, and for good reason. Massivit 3D printing technology provides:


  1. Faster turnaround: Massivit’s proprietary and patented Gel Dispensing Printing delivers unprecedented, super-fast printing speed.
  2. Immediate duplication: If a job requires multiple identical, or even similar, models, duplicating them takes moments and a few clicks.
  3. Confidence: What you see on the screen is what comes out of the printer—including details.
  4. Internal illumination. Dimengel is lightweight and translucent allowing for easy illumination if the project calls for it.

Sismaitalia Completes the Job Quickly with Massivit


3D printed capitals for a palace


Sismaitalia received only photographs of the existing capitals. Then they went to work designing exact replicas using 3D CAD software. This software lets you create any shape or design you dream up. The talented design team at Sismaitalia recreated five replicas, complete with intricate patterns, each with two different required sizes: 48cm x 43cm x 21.5cm (1’6” x 1’5” x 8”) and 79cm x 79cm x 21.5cm (2’7” x 2’7” x 8”). Then they 3D printed the capitals using the giant Massivit 1800 in just 20 hours per pair!


Call out: The Massivit 1800 3D-printed pairs of capitals in just 20 hours!


The structures were produced with a hollow core. This dramatically reduced the weight, and this assisted with construction and transportation of the capitals.


The Future of Italian Restoration with Massivit 


3d printed capitals installed on historic


After seeing the new capitals installed on to the palace, the owners were blown away by the scale and aesthetics achievable with the Massivit 1800 printer.


When you look around Italy, at its beauty and its history, you also see a lot of opportunities for restoration. Sismaitalia is ready. The agency already has more restoration projects in the pipeline.


And when you look around the rest of Europe and even around your own city, you are sure to see structures that need restoration. The opportunities are there. Massivit owners around the world will continue to help their clients achieve more with visual communication. Now, thanks to Sismaitalia introducing this application, they can also help their own cities to remain beautiful using Massivit printing for restoration.



[Featured Image Photo by Irene Ortiz on Unsplash]


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