The Cloud of Rome from Atex®

15. December, 2016

Atex® textile membrane produced by Valmiera Glass UK Ltd. has been used in the construction of the new conference centre in Rome designed by one of the greatest stars of modern Italian architecture - Massimiliano Fuksas. The conference centre resembles a giant rectangular glass box, which includes an audience room – an unusually shaped structure made of a steel frame, covered with the silicone glass fibre textile membrane Atex® coating manufactured by Valmiera Glass UK Ltd. Due to its innovative form the centre is now called “La Nuvola” or the Cloud, and the Atex® 2000 TRL WS14 textile membrane of 24,000 square meters was used for its design.

Currently, the conference centre complex is considered to be the Italian architect’s most extensive and ambitious project of 55,000 square meters, with a total cost of 353 million euros. The complex is built mainly of glass and steel, and consists of the Cloud, several conference rooms, a shopping area and a hotel.

The Cloud is about the size of two giant airships and is the key element of the whole complex - a versatile space where an auditorium with capacity for 1760 visitors is located. The Cloud is located between the ceiling and the floor of the 40-meters high, 70-meters wide and 175-meters long glassed hall, and due to its non-standard form it offers visitors a different perspective of each side of the conference building. The external appearance of the Cloud, which is formed using an Atex® material with high light permeability, allows one to see through it from the outside, creating a truly realistic cloud-like illusion - the effect of transparency, airiness, and lightness.

The newly opened conference centre in Rome can host conferences, exhibitions and events providing almost 9,000 seats, of which 1,760 seats are in the Cloud and more than 6,500 others are in conference rooms. From a functional point of view the rooms are connected to one another and with the help of an escalator the basement is connected to the upper auditorium.

The conference complex is located in the historical and respectable business district of Rome commonly known as the Euro. The conference complex dates back to 1998. The idea of Architect Massimiliano Fuksas for developing the project design was formed on the beach watching the clouds. Work on the project design development lasted for almost 7 years. The partly completed conference centre was first opened in 2010, and on the 29th of October, after 18 years and full completion of the project, it was officially open and is now available to the general public.

The new conference centre is a building with an extremely intense artistic value characterized by innovative features and the use of technologically advanced materials, including Atex®. In addition, the conference centre has been created with sustainable, environmentally friendly features to reduce energy consumption by using renewable energy sources.

The complex also includes a functionally independent, autonomous building that hosts a 17-storey hotel of more than 18,000 square meters with 441 rooms, a spa, and a restaurant.

Interesting facts about the project:

  • Atex® 2000 TRL WS14 fabric – 24,000 m2
  • Membrane fitting – Canobbio
  • General contractor – Condotte
  • Owner - Eur Spa (90% owned by the Ministry of Economics and Finance and 10% – by the city of Rome)
  • Seating – 9,000
  • The amount of steel used for construction – 39,000 tons, equal to almost five Eiffel Towers
  • Glass covered area – 58,000 m2, equivalent to nearly eight football fields
  • Total cost – 353 million euro
  • Project architect – Massimiliano Fuksas. The previous projects of Mr.Fuksas are futuristic buildings, such as the new airport terminal in Shenzhen, China, Ferrari's ultra-modern centre and Armani stores on Fifth Avenue, New York

Sources used for this article:,,,,, Photo ©: Condotte.