Frigerio Design Group’s design for the new headquarters of clothing and furniture textile manufacturer Tessiture di Nosate e San Giorgio is a building with a strong character. It clearly conveys corporate image, while providing excellent conditions in the work environments.
The building faces south, occupying a position between the access road to the site and the factory buildings. It has two levels built to a markedly horizontal plan, with a total floor area of 2,000 square metres. The main entrance on the southern side s distinguished by an open canopy of shaped aluminium battens. An element that brings a sense of order to the southern side is the overlap between the sun-shading, consisting of a grid of horizontal and vertical painted aluminium profiles, and the facade. Between the sun-shading, which is set into the prefabricated structure of column and slabs, and the facade is a space fitted with a metal grating maintenance walkway. This creates a pronounced feeling of depth, which further enhances the effect of the overlapping different compositions of the sun-shading and facade. The sun-shading, with its irregularly spaced horizontal profiles, allows sunlight through during winter, while blocking direct sunlight in summer. This makes it possible to see through the sun-shading to the modular pattern of the façade. This overlapping of geometric patterns, which consists of terracotta cladding in a single size and glass, produces contrasting effects of shadows and light on the façade. Full and empty spaces outline a pattern of overlapping surfaces, producing different effects depending on the light and the interplay between natural and artificial light.
As regards the floor design, the central organizing element is the semicircular staircase with handrails and tubular metal balusters, located immediately near the main entrance and joining the lobby and an open space on the first floor. The first floor corridors branch off the central space around the stairs. The virtual cylindrical volume of the staircase is dominated by the skylight, a large drum that acts as a lightwell for indirect lighting as well as a ventilation stack for expelling hot air in the intermediate seasons. The interior fittings are coordinated, including the gypsum board false ceilings, raised flooring, and movable walls, which give the office spaces flexibility. The brightly coloured interior walls in the corridors and the frosted transparent panels contribute to graduating and enhancing the tones of the natural ambient light. The rooms on the northern side of the first floor overlook, through glazed walls, a green area, the beginnings of a ‘hanging garden’.
Location: Santo Stefano Ticino, Milan
Client: Tessiture di Nosate e di San Giorgio
Gross Floor Area: 2000 m2
Cost of Construction: 3.800.000 Euros
Architects: Frigerio Design Group
Design Deam: E. Frigerio, M. Torrigiani, D. Bona, D. Piperno
Contractor: Magnetti Building
Mechanical and Electrical Systems, Coordination, Structures and Supervision: Studio di Ingegneria Croci Candiani
Project Manager and Financial Planning: Alberto Fossati
Metal Structural Work and Façades: Serfer
Terracotta Cladding: Palagio Engineering
Suspended Ceilings: Atena
Partition Walls and Furnishings: Unifor
Security Systems: ABC Sicurezza
Outdoor Lighting: Simes
Interior Lighting: Oty Lyght, 3Filippi, Philips
Interior Blinds: Silent Gliss
Glazed Curtain Wall: Schüco
Roof, Prefabricated Structures, Infills: Magnetti Building
Paving: Magnetti Pavimentazioni
Photos by © Enrico Cano
Frigerio Design Group
Directed by Enrico Frigerio, an architecture graduate from the University of Genoa, the Frigerio Design Group takes an interdisciplinary approach, viewing architecture as a place of convergence between nature, the history of a location, construction techniques, and the client’s requirements. The studio’s goal is to produce progressive architecture that will last through time and draw upon its context to create meaning – ‘slow’ architecture that, because of it methods, times, and processes, is the opposite of globalization. The Frigerio Design Group regards any project as an integrated service that transforms research to reality – architecture to be experienced as a whole that is efficient in terms of energy and rational in terms of social considerations and costs. History, social and economic issues, and environmental and bio-climatic factors come together in its designs, making each one unique.
Among its most important projects are the environmentally friendly grandstand at the Imola racing circuit in Bologna (1991–92), an office building for the RAS insurance group in Milan (1996–98), the headquarters of Sambonet Orfengo in Novara (2000–04), and power stations for the Swiss EGL Group (2002–08).
Highlights among its successful projects for architecture competitions include the plans for the Madrid International Conference Centre (2007), the Organization of the Islamic Conference headquarters in Jeddah (2008, winner), and ‘Tralicci del futuro’ organized by Terna (2009, second prize).
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