The Bicocca area of Milan, to the north of the city center, was once an industrial zone and it is now known as the “Ex-Ansaldo” site. The massive old electromechanical plant has been the heart of much urban renewal and now the Prysmian Group has made the decision to turn the complex into its general headquarters. Maurizio Varratta’s design sought to merge sustainability with respect for the memory of place. The exterior is a reinterpretation of typical Lombard factory architecture, while the interior has a more contemporary sense, balancing conservation and modernization. The complex consists of three volumes, with open space zones, offices, meeting rooms and break out areas. The buildings are connected by two gardens with glazed pitched roofs, forming “glasshouses” towering three floors where hydroponic plant cultivation - i.e. growing plants without soil - is practiced. This solution is no “pet project”, but helps regulate light and the micro-climate to improve overall energy performance. This focus on sustainability and smart working extends to the interior, which saw the Fantoni Group bring to life a DEGW design centered on innovative modern work spaces, flexibility and an absence of hierarchy. The open space zones have meeting rooms formed with Fantoni I-Wallspace partitions to disrupt the continuity. These partition walls consist of sound-absorbing double glazing and light colored, horizontal grain oak panels to mask the cable runs. There are other stand-out technical details: molded metallic corners, glass panels sized to match the false ceiling and perforated screen panels. The use of glazing visually links the “greenhouses” and the working areas. Practicality and flexibility are the core of the furnishing design, which uses the Framework collection to optimize interior space dynamics. Blending stylistic uniformity and diversity, the furnishings differentiate working spaces, with different finishings for metal structures and desktops. The broad standardization makes reorganization simple, producing modular spaces that can be shifted around to become fit for purpose. The result is a smart working area that can cater for specific temporary requirements and provide innovative ways for working and collaborating.
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