Applying Venetian Polished Plaster requires the right blend of technical competence and materials knowledge, together with a really creative eye and imagination.
It's a labour-intensive process using few tools - just four specialist trowels - but it demands a very specific combination of skills; the beauty of the end result is very largely down to the artistic flair of the applicator.
Equally important too, is the ability to communicate effectively with the customer. Our artisans need to work with our clients to help them interpret their own ideas. They also need to ensure that hopes and expectations are exceeded. Working in somebody's home and being intrinsic to a creative process that will provide the wow factor they seek, it's an experience that demands a blend of respect and professionalism on top of the unquestionable ability to 'do the job'.
Every member of the Evoke team has between 10 and 20 years' experience, and they are in great demand across the globe. Their practical knowledge extends across a wide range of plaster finishes described here and also specific decorative treatments used in conjunction with Polished Plaster - such as stencilling and banding.
Technical capability has to be a given - people need to be skilled in the application of plaster. But it requires much more than that to be a true artisan in this very specialist field.
The effective application of Venetian Polished Plaster requires a really creative eye, steady hand and boundless imagination.
The evolution of this product through the Renaissance era in Venice, indicates that its enduring popularity has as much to do with opportunities it presents for unbridled artistry as it has for its undoubted practicality.
So it's not hard to understand why the people who apply Venetian Polished Plaster need to be artisans in their own right, passionate about design, colour and finish and absorbed in their role to create something beautiful, frequently incorporating other specialist decorative finishes.
Stencilling: this often involves working with the client to interpret their own design ideals, and it requires a real understanding of what will work in terms of colour, shape and texture. Stencils are printed on vinyl and are often so large that they comprise several pieces... applying the particular finish and then pulling out the stencil is a painstaking process that can take several days.
Banding: whether Recessed (into the plaster) or Proud (raised from it), banding can be used with a combination of plaster finishes and colours above and below. To achieve the desired rigorous effect, it has to be meticulously even which involves using a laser to achieve the line... but nonetheless can be challenging in anything but a straightforward 4-walled space.
Polished Plaster is made from crushed marble and lime putty, which can be tinted to give a wide range of colours.
This can then be applied to make many textures, from a polished effect to natural stone effects.
Its anti-bacterial qualities as well as the visual effects have also made it very desirable throughout luxury homes and commercial properties.
The first record of 'Marmorino Stucco' - a Polished Plaster - is in a building contract dated 1473, for the nuns of Santa Chiara of Murano.
The contract document states that before the Polished Plaster could be applied, the wall had to be prepared with a mortar made of lime and "coccio pesto" (ground terra cotta). This had been excavated from tailings of bricks or recycled from old roof tiles.
Marmorino Stucco came into favour again during the Renaissance 500 years ago in Venice. Two significant factors influenced its rising popularity:
1. The unique challenge of the lagoon
Transporting materials and disposing of waste are constant challenges in a city built on water.
Polised Plaster was beneficial not only because the substrate was prepared using existing terra cotta scraps, but also the finish, Marmorino, was made with leftover stone and marble - both of which were in abundance at the time. These ground discards were mixed with lime to create Marmorino Polished Plaster.
Maramarino and substrates made of "coccio pesto" resisted the ambient dampness of the lagoon better than almost any other plaster. This is because the compound is breathable due to the particular lime used which sets on exposure to air after losing excess water.
When terracotta blends with lime, the mixture becomes hydraulic - ie: it's effective even in very damp conditions. (This is due to the silica and aluminium content - the basis of cement and hydraulic lime preparations to this day.)
2. Fashion dictated...
In an era dominated by the return of classical Greco-Roman style, an aesthetically pleasing result could be achieved - but without covering facades with weighty slabs of stone that risked eroding the foundations.
"Style and sophistication from reception halls to restaurants."
Evoke Polished Plaster Interiors specialises in the design and creation of Venetian Polished Plaster finishings for commercial and private properties.
Polished Plaster is suitable for most flat surface areas and its practical and stylish use spans commercial and residential buildings. Whether in a kitchen, bathroom, reception hall or swimming pool; whether in a car show room, commercial retailer or restaurant, it creates an enviable impression of style and sophistication.
Widely used in Italy, its appeal has spread through the rest of Europe, American and South East Asia, with many examples found in corporate buildings, bars and restaurants and private homes.
Its anti-bacterial qualities as well as its visual effects have also made it very desirable throughout luxury homes and commercial properties... and it reduces the carbon footprint too.
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