In the next few years, the Port of Punta Ala, on the South coast of Tuscany, will undergo an ambitious architectural intervention. For this purpose, the company in charge of the Port, Marina di Punta Ala SpA, announced a competition called “Beauty Contest – Redevelopment and Extension of the Port of Punta Ala”.
HYDEA resulted winner for the designing of street furniture and green spaces. The project submitted aims at renovating the entire harbour by giving unity to the architectural elements through the identification of a semantics capable of combining the elements of the sea with those of the land.
The cornerstone of the new design is a geometry characterised by pure and simple forms, although the real leitmotif is materials and their colours, deeply linked to the natural and port context.
The predominant colour of the new furniture is white, which, combined with the brown of the wood, is an open reference to the hulls of boats. The dove-grey of the flooring, on the other hand, immediately recalls the rock ridge and breakwater.
The modularity of the elements allows them to be freely inserted and adapted to all the needs of the port area.
In the overpass, the paving has been replaced with stone effect stoneware, in a light dove-colour shade that allows the white of the new elements to fade from the yellow of the tuff and the existing buildings.
The choice of this material stems from the desire to create something durable and capable of resisting weathering and use.
The Piazza delle Bandiere, placed at the centre of the overpass, acquires a new identity, proposing itself as the fulcrum of the port. In the centre of it, a large, stylised wind rose in different colours is drawn in the pavement, and it’s outlined and embellished with a metal profile to enhance its geometric lines. Here we also find one of the new technological elements, the Weather Kiosk, equipped with information screens and interactive displays.
In the harbour front strip, a relaxation area has been created for total immersion with the surrounding environment through the installation of informal seating, which wraps around the two wings of the square.
Towards the buildings, other common spaces have been created in the niches formed by the existing tuff walls.
The flowerbeds, with a tuff kerb, have been embellished with a corten cyma and the inclusion of plant species of great scenic and chromatic impact, requiring little maintenance, such as Cycas Revoluta, Aloe Vera, American Agave, Fortune Palm, Tamerice and Prickly Pears.
For the wharves, docks, and the entire perimeter strip facing the water, paving in removable modules of composite wood slats has been planned to facilitate maintenance work, which to date has been particularly complex as it is composed of paving stones.
The entrance to each quay has been equipped with a series of services for the port’s customers. A metal totem, 3 metres high, displays the number and all the necessary information, such as safety measures and other rules to be respected.
An equipped island, facing the totem and equipped with electric recharging, is intended to concentrate the parking spaces for bicycles and scooters, in order to avoid their random dispersion in the port area.
Further on along the quay there is a new nautical service column. It is a compact and versatile element for the distribution of electricity, water, warnings, and information through a touch display positioned on the top. Interaction is by means of an electronic key reader. High-efficiency LED lighting is integrated to illuminate the pedestrian path. The external polyethylene structure, made in one piece by rotational moulding, guarantees a high resistance to impact, solar radiation, chemicals, and saltiness.
The edge of the dock is restored and treated with a white paint with high mechanical properties in terms of hardness, corrosion resistance and durability.
The lighting has been completely redesigned by replacing the existing lampposts with slender, mast-like elements with their flagpoles. At the base of each pole is a cut-out of light, which sets a luminous rhythm around the entire perimeter of the harbour. The light inserts in the new furniture elements complement the main lighting.
The ecological islands are wrapped in the same materials found on the pontoons, white metal, and composite wood, completely concealing the waste bins inside. Each bin has its own independent access with the type of material to be recycled identified.
Within the port area, additional furniture elements have been provided, such as new bicycle racks and removable corten pots of varying sizes to accommodate medium-sized plants and trees, to be added to the permanent vegetation.