Maurizio Varratta's project to extend iGuzzini's offices in Recanati is about creating a building that is in itself an exhibit, but also functional. This building, known as "light laboratories", is a parallelepiped with a modular square base, four above ground floors and a basement showroom for the company's products. In keeping with the structure's underlying logic, the building also provides an opportunity to experience lighting solutions and performance. At night the kaleidoscope of coloured light transforms the building, turning it into a genuine "showroom" for the surrounding area and bringing visibility to the company.
The upper three floors are offices for research and planning, but the ground floor could best be described as "multi-purpose", with a reception area, an eating area, a training centre and variously-sized meeting rooms. A glass tunnel connects the new addition to the existing building. The entrance and reception areas, occupying no more floor space than is necessary, rise as high as the building itself and house the staircase and a glass lift. These areas also lead onto the glass foyer that opens onto the outside. The side opposite the foyer is used for the eating area and small receptions that can extend out onto the lawn. The auditorium is the central element of both the ground and basement floors. This rectangular shaped room leads down, past rows of chairs, to a multi-purpose stage area. The meeting rooms are arranged, on the ground floor, around the auditorium, one next to the other along two side corridors. On the basement floor, the equivalent space is divided into small enclosed areas where different lighting solutions are on display. The rest of this basement floor, extending beyond the edge of the above-ground structure, is for technical equipment and installations. The office levels start from the top of the auditorium, built around an internal patio area with two column structures for the bathrooms. By placing the offices around the edge, they enjoy two sources of natural light and significant organisational flexibility, with moveable partitions.
Environmental sustainability - in the broad sense - is central to this building and means that all four sides have large glazed areas. The design uses a double envelope structure with a deep air cavity to accumulate energy in winter and discharge of excess heat in summer. The dual awning system is against the inner window, with external shading and internal blinds, offering protecting against direct sunlight. The final piece in the sustainability puzzle is the roof covered in lawn and photovoltaic panels.
Location: Recanati, Macerata
Client: iGuzzini Illuminazione
Gross Floor Area: 7.900 m2
Cost of Construction: 14.170.000 Euro
Architects: Maurizio Varratta Architetto
Design Team: Maurizio Varratta, Luca Massone, Valentina Noli, Stefano Russo, Valentina Fenoglio
Works Management: Favero & Milan Ingegneria
Contractor: Sirolesi Costruzioni
Structural: Favero & Milan Ingegneria
Plants: Manens – TiFS
Acustics: Müller BBM
Lifts: Maspero Elevatori
Sanitary fittings: Teuco Guzzini
Glazed Facades: Stahlbau Pichler
Flooring: Marazzi Group
Photo by: 2-4-5/9-12 © Maurizio Varratta Architetto, 1-3-10-11-13/17 ® Giuseppe Saluzzi, 18-19 © Multivideo Mauro Cordini
Maurizio Varratta was born in Genoa in 1955, where he graduated in architecture in 1981.
From 1981 to 1983 he worked freelance, gaining experience on building sites. Between 1983 and 1999, he worked with Renzo Piano Building Workshop Ltd, contributing to numerous projects at the national and international levels, and forming bonds that continue to today. Among the most important of these projects was the project management of the construction of Genoa’s underground rail stations (1983–90), the restructuring of the Lingotto workshop in Turin (1989–94), the architectural design of the three halls of Rome’s Parco della Musica auditorium, the design of the new design museum in Varnamo, Sweden (1986–87) and the completion of the Centro Meridians in Lecco In 1995 he began laying the foundations for his future career outside Renzo Piano Building Workshop Ltd, designing the Canning Town inter-modal interchange on London’s new underground line.
In 1999 he opened his own studio and began participating in numerous national and international competitions.
From 1994 to 1997 he was adjunct professor at the Turin Polytechnic, where he lectured in the integration of architecture and installations.
Varratta’s work spans architectural design (hospitals, factories, offices, bridges, hotels, railway stations, airport terminals, shopping centres, motorway service stations, and so on) to product design (lighting, furniture, sanitary ware and home wares). His studio focuses on research and the manufacture of architectural components. The studio is also involved in integrated design, eco-sustainability, technological innovation and energy saving through close collaboration with leading specialists in each field.