Corporate and research headquarters, Lemon Factory
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Corporate and research headquarters, Lemon Factory

Urban Future Organization

Corporate and research headquarters, Lemon Factory
By Francesco Pagliari -

The ongoing viability of this producer of citrus concentrates and essential oils for the production of fruit juices hinged on securing larger premises with adequate spaces for each of the diverse processes involved in its work. The design of the resulting building reflects a kind of subliminal dynamic fluidity, with spaces and structures with a visual and practical continuity. The structure bends and bulges, wrapping the building in a visual interweaving of lines and planes that reveal the structure’s force diagram – the building is dynamic, focusing the viewer’s attention on continuous connections within an implicit dialogue between a rigid ‘frame’ and a fluidity of space.
The most striking feature of the northern and southern elevations is a solid line that connects the floors and exterior walls of the eastern and western elevations. It is as if the building has flowed along a path of its own, in so doing creating the projecting structure that seems to envelop its glazed walls. With their angled projections and orthogonal grid design, the elevations establish a dialogue, which in turn creates a background of uncertainty that encourages closer observation. The image that comes to mind is of an organism still in the process of being formed from its component parts – extensive glazed walls and slanted columns – while offering elegant workplaces within spaces where structural and connecting elements crowd in together.
This is a design with contrasts and uncertainties: A large ramp runs lengthways through the interior, connecting the floors with its thrusting presence. Workspaces are organized along an oblique line intersecting with it. The pillars follow two different paths, one oblique and one forming an orthogonal grid pattern, reflecting the oblique and orthogonal vertical design of the building. The architecture unfolds in one continuous space, which rises and transforms, with images, structures, the floors, and wire-thin metal railings, which in turn upend certainties while associating rooms and volumes.
Compositional glue is provided by the continuity of its pathways, which differentiate the building’s various elements, as well as the light that passes through and fills the building. Light filters through its extensive glazed walls (an interior element, also). This is enhanced by the clear timber flooring and high ceilings, which help distribute the light while providing context for making sense of the complexity of a building made up of punctiform elements and intersecting ‘bands’.
The design differentiates common areas, semi-private areas, and work areas. On the ground floor is a nursery area, a spa with a gymnasium and swimming pool, and the company canteen. The first floor has executive offices, meeting rooms, and a lounge. Workrooms and research laboratories are on the second floor.

Francesco Pagliari

Location: San Pier Niceto, Messina
Client: Sandro Raymo
Completion: 2010
Gross Floor Area: 1.285 m2
Architects: UFO – Urban Future Organization
Design Team: Andrew Yau, Claudio Lucchesi, Anna Liuzzo, Vendula Zimandlova, Francesco Giordano, Carmela Notaristefano
Contractor: Maiorana Costruzioni

Structural: Ignazio Faranda

Furnishings: Mohd
Air Conditioning: Daikin
Tapware: Gessi
Lighting: iGuzzini
Parquet: Miloro

Curtain Walls: Schüco 

Photo by: 1-5/17 © Nino Calamuneri, 2/4 © Gap_ Gitto Antonino photographer

urban future organization 
Urban future organization was established in London in 1996 by Andrew Yau (Hong Kong), Claudio Lucchesi (Italy), Denis Balent (Slovakia), Jonas Lundberg (Sweden) and Steve Hardy (USA), after completing their studies together at the Architectural Association School of Architecture. They opened their first offices in Messina (Italy) and London. Following the arrival in the firm of Arjan Scheer (The Netherlands), Kia Larsdotter (Sweden), Peco Mulet Velasco (Spain), Theodoros Kanelloupolos (Greece), Dirk Anderson (Australia), Andrew Martin (Romania), Eda Yetis (Turkey), Sultan Faden (Saudi Arabia) and Jackie Yang (China), further offices opened in Gothenburg, Athens, Stockholm, Istanbul, Jeddha, Sydney, Seoul and Beijing.

- first prize, Edil Tomarchio competition – Aci San Antonio, Catania
- first prize, 10th Venice Biennale Premio Portus – Waterfront Sicilia (conversion of industrial area on Milazzo Bay)
- silver medal, Global Holcim Awards 2006, Bangkok – Water Power (reclamation of the Valle dei Mulini, Amalfi Coast)
- gold medal, Holcim Awards 2005, Geneva – Water Power (reclamation of the Valle dei Mulini, Amalfi Coast)
- winning design for competition for the Etna Nord tourist resort, Linguaglossa, Italy
- top 5 firms in the Young Architect of the Year Award (YAYA), 2003
- winning design for the Castelmola Museum of Contemporary Art, Italy
- third prize, Urban Planning – Narva, Estonia
- second prize, Heineken Group Warka Brewery competition – Warsaw, Poland
- second prize, Pentedattilo: Rivitalizzare la Città – Reggio Calabria, Italy
- first prize, - Youth Cultural Production Center design – Rome
- winning design, National Concert Hall competition – Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina

- 5th Brazil Biennial – urban future organization guest in the Italian pavilion
- 19th Venice Biennale – Premio Portus, Waterfront Sicilia
- 2nd Beijing Biennial – urban future organization guest in British pavilion
- EXPA_Galleria di Architettura, Palermo – "Urban Future Organization Glocal Experience"
- 9th Venice Biennale, Metamorph
- Beyond Media/Oltre i Media 03, Intimacy – Florence
- Otra/Another – Municipality of Tijuana, Mexico
- Recent Works – Municipality of Goteborg, Sweden
- Biennial of Young European and Mediterranean Artists, Sarajevo
- 7th Venice Biennial, Less Aesthetics, More Ethics

A highlight in the publishing world is 10x10_2. 10 critici per 100 architetti, (published by Phaidon London/New York) in which the ufo group was selected by Zaha Hadid as one of top ten emerging young firms internationally.

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