Interview with Eugenio Navarro, CEO of TESELA
The spin-off that works in the Alhambra, in several Spanish cities and in countries such as Morocco, Belgium and France.
A.G. PARRA / GRANADA
The IDEAL newspaper, published on 8 September 2019 a report on TESELA highlighting our commitment to innovation to conserve heritage.
The company that innovates in heritage maintenance. TESELA was created in 2015 and its founding members include Eduardo Sebastián Pardo, professor at the Department of Mineralogy and Petrology at the University of Granada (UGR), Anna Arizzi, PhD in Earth Sciences and lecturer at the UGR, and Eugenio Navarro, a chemistry graduate with experience in R&D in the private construction materials sector.
The company was born, on the one hand, from a demand for specialized services in the field of heritage materials, on the other hand, from a personal interest in researching new materials for industry and, finally, to promote a culture of heritage conservation.
The headquarters are located at Gran Vía in Granada, 48, in the building of the Technology Transfer Office (OTRI) of the UGR. The website is https://teselainnova.com. The company currently has a team of eight people including doctors, chemists, geologists, an urban architect, a civil engineer and an art historian.
TESELA offers services in three main areas: heritage, innovation, and training. With regard to heritage, they focus on the characterisation and study of materials for the restoration/rehabilitation of works, the drawing up of intervention protocols, advice and consultancy in conservation and restoration, the drafting of technical-scientific reports, pathology analysis, historical studies and documentary research. In terms of innovation, they are committed to developing their own know-how for new materials, raw material analysis, innovation projects and studies on the suitability of additives. In terms of training, they are based on the development of conferences, courses, master’s degrees, and teaching projects, both theoretical and practical, on heritage intervention materials, oriented according to the target public: designers, applicators, manufacturers, etc.
TESELA is currently undertaking a study of the effectiveness of a bioconsolidation treatment for the columns of the Patio de los Leones in the Alhambra, which will guarantee their restoration in a natural way, without causing physical or aesthetic changes to the support. They are also studying the construction materials of the Palace of Vázquez de Molina from the 16th century (current Town Hall of Úbeda). Moreover, they have undertaken an initiative to technically evaluate some of the materials that are incorporated in heritage works, such as lime, lime mortar, or bricks. This initiative will lead to a quality seal that will certify these materials for use in the restoration/rehabilitation of heritage works. In addition, the company is working on the GPTT project (Gestor Patrimonial de Territorios Turísticos) through which it aims to enhance the value of the architectural elements of cultural interest in the towns, characterizing them from multiple points of view in order to incorporate them into a database and make them available for consultation through a mobile application.
Tesela works in technical committees in several national and international associations such as AFAM (National Association of Mortar Manufacturers), CAL (Andalusian Lime Cluster), the interdisciplinary round table on natural stone and historical quarries of the IGME, the CSIC platform PTI-PAIS (Open Heritage: Research and Society) or the European Warmest Tok Meeting “Cultural Heritage: Knowledge, Conservation and Management” (Enna, Italy).
TESELA is “a company specializing in the construction materials and heritage sector, with a scientific, innovative and highly industry-oriented character, so that links can be established for work and common benefit between the University and private enterprise”. “Although the bulk of our work is located in Spain (Madrid, Cordoba, Granada, Almeria, Tenerife, Malaga, Barcelona…) our field of action and vocation is clearly international, as can be seen in the projects we have carried out outside our borders in France, Belgium, Italy, Morocco, Algeria and Saudi Arabia”, they explain.
As for innovation, the company says that “it is not a characteristic that remains in the laboratory, as is often believed or thought. Innovation must be a transversal axis in the company, a feature of identity that encompasses all the company’s processes so that it is the driving force and orientation of the company at all levels”. They have new projects. “Apart from the aforementioned quality seals for materials to be incorporated in heritage works or the heritage manager of tourist territories, at Tesela we are working on the development of a photocatalysis reactor for research on photocatalytic activity in construction materials,” they say. Photocatalytic materials are those that, when subjected to a chemical process that transforms their properties, react to light, causing the degradation of the most common polluting gases in the atmosphere. They also prepare courses and training sessions on lime and lime mortar for the Patronato de la Alhambra and for AFAM.