With clean lines and decisive diagonal cuts, a striking black prism both represents and houses the Offanengo headquarters of Chromavis, an internationally important third-party cosmetics manufacturer. Progressive and devoted to research, innovation, and beauty in the cosmetics field, the company’s image was matched by a recognizable, iconic, and eco-sustainable design.
The design team, comprising Ercole Barbati from Eba Engineering (architecture), and Alessia Garibaldi and Marco Vigo (interiors), successfully translated Chromavis’s brief into reality. The new company headquarters is located in plains near the Italian city of Crema, on the border between the town of Offanengo and farmland. It has a floor area of 484 square feet (45,000 m2), including the production facilities and the dark, jagged volumes of the offices. The building is surrounded by extensive gardens, landscaped with small hills and ponds.
Every detail of the exterior and interior designs is coherent. The essentiality of black and white alternate on the internal surfaces, creating shifts between lightness and solemnity. The bright shades of the furniture then form a counterpoint to this rigorous two-tone color scheme. The diagonal edges of the building envelope become the oblique lines that define the door and window openings, internal lights, and the forms of the black and white surfaces.
The degree of attention given to the open spaces and garden is another element that links the inside and outside, with terraces, internal patios, and indoor greenery offering the building’s users constantly shifting views and contact with nature.
The interiors were designed to be spectacular, aimed at both welcoming and surprising visitors. The entrance area is a large space in which a fully handcrafted black granite reception counter hovers over its gold-leaf–treated marble base. Behind it, a black glass wall is interactive, mirroring both visitors and the reception space.
The connecting volumes between the double-height floors, located at two points in the circulation area, are marked by angled walls and sculpture-like stairs. The offices and other areas on the two levels are arranged around these volumes, which form the center of a kind of macrocosm, marking the starting point of radiating walkways and pathways, transforming the building into a living, ever-changing environment.
Location: Offanengo, Cremona
Architecture designers: EBA Engineering. Arch. Ercole Barbati e collaboratori, Ilaria De Simoni, Francesco Barbati
Interior designers: Arch. Alessia Garibaldi, Arch. Marco Vigo e collaboratori, Arch. Simone Ferrara
Landscape: Frassinago Bologna
Plant designer: METCing: electrical plant design; DIGIERRE3: thermal and mechanical plant desig; Bouygues: plant construction
Photography: © Giacomo Albo, courtesy EBA Engineering, Alessia Garibaldi e Marco Vigo