The division in La Spezia is one of the four Sanlorenzo shipyards – one of the world’s leading manufacturers of yachts and superyachts – and is focused on the construction and outfitting of superyachts.
The intervention of Lissoni Casal Ribeiro regarded all the production support buildings: the oldest, which dates back to the end of the 19th century, and others that were added over the years for logistic reasons. The project design sought to fully respect the identity of the buildings by restoring and redeveloping the historical elements whilst dismantling those interventions that over time had distorted the whole ensemble, and in this way offering a new coherency and overall visual harmony without however forgetting its industrial soul and the needs of the manufacturing processes.
The area of the intervention included five buildings and two warehouses which were cleaned up and brought back to their original simplicity, emphasizing the strong industrial nature of the architecture through a coherent choice of materials. Some of these constructions were clad with bronze-colored, corrugated and micro-perforated steel sheeting that maintains the strong industrial connotation and grants a new appearance to the façade, leaving the structure behind semi-visible so as to lend dignity without concealing its identity.
Other structures were instead painted blue, a color that marks the visual identity of the company in addition to having a clear association with water and the sea. The entrance doors of the warehouses are on the other hand painted in Burgundy red and are distinguished by large-scale lettering, establishing a strong graphic motif and offering an aesthetic diversity to the buildings.
The architectural intervention lends a new dignity to the entrance area: the gatehouse is placed in a glass box, while a pergola in sheet metal links the two neighboring buildings to lend a visual continuity to the whole industrial complex in addition to serving as a canopy for the entrance waiting area.
The principal design intent that governed this project revolved around the desire to redevelop the buildings but without negating their original structure which can still be glimpsed through an architectonic “filter” that allows the building to be experienced and to change in response to what is happening within, an architecture that lights up and darkens allowing us to feel its breathing.
The challenge of Lissoni Casal Ribeiro lay precisely in the possibility of intervening on existing and apparently anonymous buildings and transforming them into something new and unexpected.
Another interesting characteristic is that the materials and finishes are interchangeable, meaning that the structure can be reversed and the appearance easily changed in response to future needs. The result is therefore an architecture that can mutate and be modified, a valuable and interesting aspect of the project that is consistent with the philosophy of Lissoni Casal Ribeiro, which aims to go beyond any hard and fast rules, rethinking the approach to designing and developing buildings without necessarily seeking to make them eternal.
With offices in Milan and New York, Lissoni & Partners has a thirty-year history in developing international projects in the fields of architecture, landscape, interior, product and graphic design, as well as acting as art director for leading companies. Led by Piero Lissoni, the practice combines a range of expertise with a tailored approach that sets it apart. The works of the practice are inspired by a sense of rigor and simplicity and are characterized by a regard to detail, coherence and elegance with particular attention to proportion and harmony. Organized around different fields of intervention, the practice comprises Lissoni Casal Ribeiro for masterplans, landscape design and architecture, Lissoni Associati for interior design, product design, art direction and fit-outs, and Lissoni Graphx for graphic design, visual communication and brand identity, while Lissoni New York develops interior design projects for the American market.