Just like other urban realities in Milan, Bicocca district is undergoing an intense regeneration thanks to the presence of local driving forces such as the University, foundations, as well as cultural and commercial areas. Ex Manifattura is in the running to become the next focus point in the district, an unconventional and flexible area, ready to embrace the city.
The industrial estate was built between 1930 and 1960, and is now part of the productive fabric of Bicocca district. It was shut down in 1999 and has since been waiting to be given new life.
CampusX’s intervention is carried out according to the principles of sustainability and cultural integration in order to respect the district’s identity and the integration-oriented soul of its inhabitants. It aims at redesigning the building by turning it into a student housing and co-living building. This is a hybrid offer, and includes both long stay and short stay solutions, with a total of 460 rooms and 600 beds, plus 2,500 m2 of communal spaces.
Communal spaces are not only designed for guests. They are made to perfectly adapt to the surrounding metropolitan area. The layout is conceived as an open floor, as if it were an extension of the outdoor area where to host cultural events, district get togethers or simply offer its guests unique shared spaces to enjoy community life.
The interior design project of the entire structure is assigned to the studio Rizoma Architetture (www.rizoma.me) and it’s based on the contrast between two very different souls, that is on the opposition and – at the same time – the combination of two concepts: RAW and GLAM.
By acknowledging the history and evolution of the building, the project provides for the preservation of the ‘container’ as a HARD SHELL with a ‘dirty skin’, where to place new functions and flows gravitating towards ten iconic and significant elements defined as GRAVITY POINTS. Even though these components are completely in contrast with the building itself, they are its actual cornerstones. And while their location will remain unchanged, they will be used in several different ways. This concept stems from the idea of GLAM-HACKING: they are chic, iconic, dazzling and recognisable. They will be an actual ‘compass’ guiding our guests through the building.
The journey inside CX MANIFATTURA starts on the ground floor, with the main entrance placed on the pedestrian square of Via Suzzani. The reception is at the centre of gravity of the building, it is a big double-height open space with a huge reception desk in the middle and a coffee bar that turns into a DJ station at night. The idea of an area that can be adapted and transformed throughout the day is at the core of the concept of hybrid space.
The verticality of the space becomes another starting point: a loft with a mesh in mid-air turns into a chill room, while a climbing wall pays tribute to Memphis Design, with a texture by Sottsass for ALPI.
The reception continues in the backyard, made available to the whole district and includes a green area equipped with a lounge and picnic area, a F&B area, an arena for events as well as a playground, which – just like the huge temporary installations on the facades – will become a true street art show by important rising artists.
The 2,000 m2 basement used to be a ‘jungle’ made of concrete pillars full of dust covering old signs and street art TAGS. The plan was to identify 3 main uses for this space: that is, EAT, MEET and PLAY. Starting from these 3 concepts, the space was divided into subareas. The EAT area is a big kitchen which can be used by guests and is equipped with 8 cooking islands as well as differently arranged tables and chairs. The material board includes warm materials such as the terracotta ceramics in the preparation area or the wood from the tables, and industrial materials such as orsogrill metal and colours ranging from the ultramarine blue Ring table to the bench’s turquoise mosaic. This area is directly linked to the second area, called ‘MEET’, characterised by lounge areas, study tables, leisure and relax areas, and designated areas for short and informal meetings.
This area includes 2 important elements: the Silent Box and the Chill Room. The first is a light-blue study room made of transparent materials created using honeycomb technology (Bencore); the second is a shiny ‘Box’ made using chrome-effect plates, inside of which there is a kind of private area characterised by warm colours such as pink and burgundy, with benches and lounge chairs, as well as a relax area to study together or simply enjoy an aperitivo during an event.
The third part, which is also the last communal space, is divided into many more areas than the previous ones as it can be used for many different purposes, all linked to the PLAY mood.
This hybrid space is used as a play zone and laundry room, and is equipped with ping pong tables, table football and a game room, which can be used 24/7 by students waiting for their laundry.
Following the same principle, guests can also enjoy the multi-purpose sports hall with fitness and meditation areas, which includes an outdoor space equipped with sports equipment as well as a playground.
Next to these areas, there are two Multimedia Rooms. The first one, which can fit 65 people, has a much more traditional style compared to the second one, which is used as a Party Zone and includes a dancefloor and a grandstand. These two rooms, with their different souls, can be used either separately or jointly for CX internal events as well as fashion and design events at local level.
Therefore, our idea is to create a creative hub, which is deeply embedded in the life of the district and of the whole city. This way, the local community and Milan itself can look at CX Milan as a reference or focal point where people can meet, live, grow, create and work.
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