Our regular column - an interview with a guest!
What can be in common between the dome of St. Isaac's Cathedral and our hotel!
What do «Nevsky Forum» hotel and St. Isaac's Cathedral have in common? At first glance, only that both of them are placed in St. Petersburg! However, there is another unifying factor – cork! Cork is an environmentally friendly material made from natural ecological raw materials – cork oak bark, which possesses unique properties that you could not find in any other materials. Cork materials do not collect dust, has excellent anti-allergic properties. In addition, the cork is not susceptible to decay, rodent exposure, invulnerable to mold, does not support combustion. During the construction of the Nevsky Forum Hotel, we used cork as a floor covering, and in St. Isaac's Cathedral, the conical dome of the cathedral was insulated with a cork in 1913, so that the coating represented an impermeable layer from the ingress of water and air.
In 2017, part of the protective layer of plaster has been lost. The top layer of cork sheet, in places of exposure, began to crumble. There were gaps between the sheets of insulation, and it was decided to begin the restoration. Andrei Alexandrov – beloved guest of our hotel was headed the restoration of the cork covering of the dome of St. Isaac's Cathedral. He is a general manager of the Cork Center company, which also made cork flooring at the Nevsky Forum Hotel!
Andrei answered few questions especially for us:
Maxim: Andrei, why did they choose your company for the restoration of the dome of St. Isaac’s Cathedral?
Andrei Alexandrov: We are the exclusive supplier of cork in the Russian Federation and we are working more than 20 years in field of design and construction unique objects using different types of cork. We supply only highest quality materials in Russia and most of them have no analogues.
Maxim: What was the main difficulties in this project?
Andrei Alexandrov: Coordination with General Directorate of Monument Protection on the application of a new additional layer of 50 mm thick panels of a different density not agglomerated, but an expanded cork, not previously used in the restoration of the cathedral more than 100 years ago.
Maxim: Are there any differences between the cork of today and the cork that used 100 years ago?
Andrei Alexandrov: Yes definitely! Today's cork is much better. 100% natural material is 2 times lighter and technological. It is easier to cut and bend, which is very important for spherical surfaces, such as the dome of St. Isaac's Cathedral!
Maxim: What is the difference in cork in our hotel from the cork that you used during the restoration of the dome?
Andrei Alexandrov: We made the cork floor in the hotel with the decorative cork and during the restoration of the cathedral we used technical types of cork.
Maxim: Thank you, Andrei! See you at the Nevsky Forum Hotel!