1 October 2021

KURSAAL – Restoration works carried out by Cobar SpA

Twenty months were needed to bring back to life one of the most beautiful and evocative venues of the city of Bari and the region.

Cobar SpAis an Apulian company headquartered in Altamura and specialized in the design of public and private building works, recognized as one of the best in the country for restoration, maintenance and renovation of monuments of high artistic value protected under cultural and environmental heritage law (theaters, museums, churches, shrines, monasteries, historic buildings, etc..), and in the design, installation, maintenance and servicing of hi-tech systems.. The company’s interventions already include the Teatro San Carlo in Naples, the Teatro Petruzzelli in Bari and the Teatro Mercadante in Altamura.

From August 8, 2019 to April 30, 2021, including three months of shutdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the company carried out a series of interventions based on designs, drawings and countless sampling, both in terms of shapes and colors; said works were performed directly on the treated surfaces, involving a variety of workers (carpenters, woodworkers, smiths, electricians, mechanical technicians, stage technicians, audio and video specialists, restorers, site technicians) with a strong prevalence of Apulian workers.

“The restoration sites of monuments that accommodate a ‘difficult’ function, such as the case of a theater, pose real challenges. In the case of the Kursaal, the pandemic has accentuated the complexity – as explained by Domenico Barozzi, technical director of Cobar Spa – It is only thanks to the dedication of our workers, the competence of the technical experts who cooperate with us, from site and operations managers to site technicians, from designers to the officials in charge the Superintendence, the Fire Brigade, etc., from the visionary and driven management of the contract by the RUP and the Heritage office to the wise and forward-thinking direction of the contract by the RUP and the Patrimony and Bursar’s Office of the Region of Apulia, that an operation of such magnitude has been brought to completion with outstanding results that are clearly visible to everyone.”

The restoration work carried out has been oriented to achieve seismic improvement with consolidation of the floors, doorway cerclage, the creation of new structures in the stalls and stage, the installation of new elevator systems, construction of new electrical systems, custom-made systems and air conditioning systems, with the creation of 4 geothermal wells with a depth of 250 meters, the realization of a stage and technical apparatus in scenic tower (n.10 motorized pulls, 4 chain hoists, manual pulls, mobile stage curtain platforms, backdrops and airs) and the creation of an audio-video system. A novelty, in this spirit, has been the realization, by Cobar spA, of custom-made mechanisms for the movements of the stalls and the mystic gulf, with different configurations, to allow for flexible the use of the theatre hall for multiple purposes (cinema, theater, drama, opera, ballroom, conference room and exhibition hall); new armchairs and seats have been installed in the hall and gallery, and a cinema configuration with video projection, audio and screen has been created.

The works did not only focus on the internal and mechanical functional aspects of the new Kursaal theatre. A vital importance was held by the restoration work of the decorative apparatus inside the theatre hall; the Giuseppina hall, with a new Venetian-style floor with wall fabrics; the stairs; the internal and external wooden fixtures; the original chandeliers; the main external façade and of all rooms of the building.

To complete the intervention, a new “sky room” was created at the roof-garden level, following a design created by master Alfredo Pirri, featuring a floor made of cracked mirror slabs, steel and ETFE covers and fixtures with feather insertions.

The new Kursaal has also been equipped with new bathrooms, a centralized management system for all facilities and two guest rooms to accommodate artists directly inside the structure.