The restoration of Plart’s Pratone

Thesis project


Nov 2019

Our intern Antonietta Di Marco earned a Master’s Degree in Restoration with distinction and publications recommended at the Naples Academy of Fine Arts, qualifying as a restorer of cultural heritage. Supervisors: Prof. Gabriella Russo, Prof. Giovanna Cassese, Prof. Donato Inverso; Co-supervisors: Dr. Alice Hansen, Dr. Pina Di Pasqua, Prof. Marco Cantisani.

Pratone is a radical-design chair made by Gufram in 1971 and designed by Gruppo Strum, in polyurethane foam, mass-produced (about 200 pieces) and considered, on the national and international scene, an icon of Made in Italy. The work in question is the Pratone housed in the Plart Museum, from the Incutti collection, certified as a 1960 prototype, purchased at an auction in 1984. The thesis discussed the conservation and restoration issues related to this work, also referring to other contemporary works in polyurethane foam, which, with specific differentiations and properties, are afflicted by the same conservation problems due to the same constituent material. Polyurethane, in fact, is a performing and manageable material in production, but it does not get the same positive response in the conservation field, especially when the usability of the work involves (or has involved) intense mechanical stresses. The restoration interventions carried out (dusting, cleaning, consolidation, material integration, etc.) were combined with a targeted research on the conservation of the work in the rooms of the specific structure, creating a detailed design for a future restoration to be carried out by involving the active action of different professionals by creating an efficient and resolved team of experts, and a design for a display case suitable for the constant maintenance and conservation of the work.