ISMES, joined CESI in 2004. It is globally recognized for its deep expertise in structural engineering and monitoring systems, with a focus on dams. Ismes gives also a precious contribution to preserve the cultural heritage thanks to its monitoring activities on several monuments and artworks.

Brief history

1951 - ISMES (Istituto Sperimentale Modelli e Strutture) was created as a non-profit, limited liability corporation. The young team of engineers, industrial specialists and technicians would go on to become world leaders in their field over the next few years and the company rapidly gained prominence in the world of dam-building.

1951-1961 Over the next decade, the Institute’s large basin became the testing facility for no less than 60 large concrete dams, mostly arch and arch-gravity, in Italy and beyond. Among the countries that used ISMES’ testing facilities for their projects were Switzerland, Spain, Yugoslavia, Mexico, Australia and Argentina. None of the dams tested at ISMES have failed during their many years of operation.

The company’s reputation even reached behind the Iron Curtain. Towards the end of the 1950s, despite the tense cold war political climate, the Soviet Union suggested that Bulgaria ask ISMES to help resolve some serious problems with the construction of a number of dams.

1960 – 2000 Over the next four decades, ISMES’ reputation and business continued to grow. Following the collapse of the Frejus dam in Provence in 1959, the World Bank announced that all the dam projects that it financed must be model-tested at ISMES.

Inspection authorities in Spain and Switzerland, lacking proper lab facilities in their own countries, decided to rely on ISMES’ expertise and facilities in Bergamo.

2001 – CESI takes over ISMES, expanding its product portfolio to take advantage of the lab’s 50-year expertise.