When Italian fabrication company, Palazzi SRL, was approached by people from the stunning Santissimo Nome di Maria al Foro Traiano church in Rome to furnish the interior with Perspex® acrylic, they knew just how special the project would be.

Our leading Perspex® acrylic distributor in Italy, Adreani SpA, brought this project to our attention through their link to Rome sub-distributor Eurmoma, and we were keen to learn more. We spoke to Palazzi SRL, the creative force behind the project, to find out what was involved.

Tell us a bit about your company’s background.

Palazzi SRL operates in plastics processing and design with almost 40 years of experience. Our founder and owner, Giampaolo Palazzi, decided to open the business after working for years in Italy’s very first company involved in casting acrylic blocks and sheets.

We cover a wide range of applications such as retail, art and design, industrial and cultural heritage conservation.

How did this project come about?

The Prior of the Santissimo Nome di Maria Church at the Foro Traiano in Rome commissioned us to bring the project to life after learning of our work by word-of-mouth.

He had the idea of furnishing the church’s interior with clear acrylic to help the space appear larger. At the same time, he wanted to preserve the ancient flooring by avoiding it being covered with traditional furniture and seating. Working with the team of people assembled by the Prior – architect, religious iconography expert and electrician – we designed the project, manufactured the parts from Perspex® acrylic and installed them in the church.

Pictured: the precision-engraved inscriptions highlight themselves beautifully when lit

Why was Perspex® acrylic chosen for this project?

The Prior thought the interior space would appear larger if clear acrylic was used. We chose Perspex® acrylic for its transparency and strength.

We frequently use Perspex® acrylic in our work as it is one of the best materials to work with. Our local supplier provides a very good service too, efficient in managing orders and reliable delivery. With Perspex® acrylic we get a great mix of quality and efficient service, which makes it an effective material to use.

 Can you describe the fabrication process?

The project involved three main sections – lectern, mensa (table of celebration) and footboard.

The lectern involved polishing and milling the Perspex® acrylic which was then CNC engraved with an ancient painting selected by the Prior. The engraved sheet was thermoformed and then glued to lectern’s supporting surface. We used LED strips to carry light through the lectern to highlight the engravings and fine detail of the design.

The mensa was made in a similar way to the lectern. A “table” design was created using 20mm thick Perspex® acrylic, to which “wings” were affixed around the perimeter. The wings contain inscriptions in Italian, Latin, Greek and Hebrew. LED strips arranged on the wings’ edges allow the inscriptions to be illuminated.

The footboard started out as an acrylic “grate” structure. Pieces of milled Perspex® acrylic sheet were placed precisely within the grates, fitting almost like tiles. In this way, the tiles remain firmly in position when walked on, but can be removed easily for cleaning and to fit electrical wiring.

Pictured: the mensa (table of celebration) during installation

What was your favourite part about working on this project?

The best part of this project was working in an amazing location and finding technical solutions to difficult problems in order to reach the church’s requirements.