The plan to alter Sicad's corporate headquarters focused on pulling down a section of warehouse to create more space for offices, meetings rooms and the canteen. This work gave the premises a new identity, adopting an innovative and decisive style that interacts directly and on multiple levels with the office block that was kept.
The design can be seen as literally seeking to "add architectural value" using tools that characterise the new volume, weave relations between the sections and arrange the defining architectural elements. In practice, the strategy seeks to simultaneously unite and differentiate the parts placed in relation to each other. One solution to achieve this was to maintain a degree of rigidity in the alignment of the new and old buildings, producing an understated continuity that helps create the effect of a single block in which the two constructions are comparable. For example: the old and new sections are the same height; the entire northern elevation is divided into horizontal bands, in which the upper section is characterised by varying levels of "transparency" and a partial overlay of an external envelop; and there is a row of windows in the middle band. The design also creates a material and visual break between the sections as the tower for the lift acts like as point of connection, but also simultaneous shows the separation. Against the backdrop of a crisply defined volume, this tower projects and rises up powerfully and elegantly on the northern side, a single vertical block in exposed reinforced concrete that clearly highlights the distinction between the old and new buildings. This is a key design choice and makes it immediately possible to distinguish elements. The use of reinforced concrete is a defining feature that connects to the new office block, with its elevations that are both functional and decorative. There is an almost stylised use of architectural language as the smooth backdrop of the façades forms a clear relation between the materials of the opaque (concrete) and transparent (glazing) parts.
The use of deviations and accents gives the elevations dynamism. For example, the horizontal alignment varies slightly because of the placement, facing the road, of the canteen, which is rather like an autonomous space that projects and is raised, as the level is taken from the rear patio. This shift in the linearity of the façade changes the dimensions of the building, leading to alterations in the interior spaces that help differentiate them (e.g. between open-plan work space and offices on the second floor; between conference rooms and display space, on the first floor). Elements of partial dissonance appear in the oblique lines that frame and divide some of the glazed surfaces and that create elements that powerfully highlight the architecture and composition. This is found in, notably, the glazed corner section on the top floor that projects from the building to become an autonomous space - a beacon of light - for the main meeting room. In parallel to this, but to a lesser degree, the north west corner is also accented by the canteen, which extends slightly from the façade with a clear glazed transparency that, in practice, allows soft light into the eating area.
An open courtyard - almost a patio - lies between the office block and the warehouse, which is marked by the used of visible prefabricated modules that extend along the façades but are broken up through the rhythmically spaced used of transparent vertical openings in coloured acrylic glass. Finally, another prefabricated element is used to create a material and visual connection between the two building sections, which are different heights. This time, the upper section of a cornice frames the airy border between the two buildings, highlighting both the sky and the painted rear wall, behind which lies the stairwell (created internally using exposed concrete slabs and carton cylinders for the parapet). Materials are then used to interpret the dual role of function and decoration with great simplicity and elegance.
The interior follows the same concept that underlies the project: simplicity and highlighting of materials to elevate the architectonic clarity, in which the essence is conveyed through the use of geometric, functional and construction rigidity.
Location: Uboldo (Varese)
Gross Floor Area: 2150 m2
Architects: Studio DC 10
Works Management: Alessia Garibaldi e Giorgio Piliego
Contractor: Nuovo Modulo
Prefabbricati: Ema Prefabbricati
Doors and Windows: Metra
Office Furniture: IOC
Cardboard Furniture: Kubedesign
Cafeteria Chairs: Furlani
Lights: Kreon, Flos
Photography: © Andrea Martiradonna
With a broad portfolio of projects in Italy and abroad, STUDIO DC10 ranks as a dynamic and innovative architectural firm capable of combining creative and conceptual aspects with those of planning and economic appraisal. The three partners – Marco Vigo, Alessia Garibaldi and Giorgio Piliego – have, by combining their individual experiences, created a unique professional reality where the skills and expertise of each partner, though always well defined, are integrated and significantly broaden the degree of flexibility and response on multiple and varied projects. Thanks to a level of detail that is capable of responding to representation needs as well as commercial objectives, STUDIO DC10 is the go-to architectural firm for multinationals, luxury brands and major companies active in the real estate sector. Clients have renewed their preference for STUDIO DC10 over the years, rewarding its creative quality, effective execution and originality in harmonising projects’ structural, conceptual and technological aspects.