Linea Più, an important service company focused on gas and energies commercialization, commissioned Carlo Donati Studio to design the project for its new headquarters in Pavia.
The project converted the abandoned Snia textile factory, which was crucial in the economic and social developement of the city. The building was erected at the beginning of XX century and represented an icon of the factory in terms of commonality and meeting landmark.
The intervention in such an historical and symbolic place, aimed to convert interior spaces in comfortable offices and to renovate and refurbish the original elements such as the shed structure, the reticular beam (very similar to the 1910 Ponte della Becca beams in Pavia) and the metallic trusses.
From the very first moment, the project layout distinguished two clearly separated areas with different uses: the back office area with administrative offices and the front office area with the work stations dedicated to the public.
This second area is a wide, cozy open space, with a homy style, in juxtaposition to the traditional commercial offices system. Linea Più agreed with this new approach, intending to create an inviting and comfortable space, dedicated to the customers, where they could make business and human relationships outside the conventional canons of separation - and sometimes contrast - between clients and employees.
The concept of the intervention consist in the realization of a comfortable and fluid space, in which all the phisical and visual barriers are erased: the front office workers have a direct and transparent connection with the clients and the waiting area becomes a new covered square for the city, in which customers are encouraged to know each other and talk.
The front office work stations are designed as circular islands, surrounded by vertical green felt blades that evoke big spears and vegetal shapes.The blades embrace the work station and muffle sounds, keeping personal dealings private.
The green company color of Linea Più, is the main theme both in the furniture and installations.
The dark brown pvc jointless flooring connects every part of this flowing space making it uniform with its natural shade that gives value to the circular white and green work station platforms.
The waiting areas, custom designed by Carlo Donati Studio, develop in a fluid unusual way, perfectly integrated within the space, dialoguing with the front office islands.
Linea Più, which invests in renewable sources energies and promotes green energy, wanted to bring the building to the most efficient energetic class (class A). For this purpose many interventions have been realized: the substitutuion of the existing windows fixtures with well performing ones; the floor radiant heathing system is connected to the photovoltaic panels on the roof.
The finishing materials were carefully selected for their sustainability and affordable costs.
The soundproof eco-felt panels which cover the furniture, some sections of the walls and the blades surrounding front office work stations are made 100% by recycled materials. Within the offices and in the open space, the pvc floor, produced with 100% recycled material, ensures soundproofing and long duration properties. The technical spaces floors are realized by stoneware made of dusts, doughs and residues that originate from the processing of waste from other product collections.
Soft materials such as felt panels, were chosen to create not only a cocoon-like environment, but also a tactile experience.
The two bottom walls in the glass delimited work stations are covered by stabilized lichens panels, which are a reference to nature and to the company green vocation.
On the opposite wall two macro touch screens show useful commercial information and let the customers make quick operations.
Advanced technology is another important topic in this project, but never too evident and prevalent on human relationships which are the main theme here. The coffee area is designed to let the customers and the workers enjoy a pleasant moment of relax.
The contemporary spaces and furniture dialogue with the metallic trusses and the shed skylights of the industrial existing structure. This fascinating structure was refurbished and enhanced by means of the cromatic essential choice of using only black and white paintings. So the building become the light and elegant box for a colorful and dynamic activity.
The entrance from Via Monte Grappa was designed on the preexisting path. The straight way with porfido flooring, lined by wide green areas was transformed by new flowerbeds that lead the visitor to the main entrance. Every entrance is protected by a concrete canopy with side walls covered by colored aluminium sheets. These sheets reminds the original industrial vocation of the building, while the colors identify the companies overlooking the path. The green canopy of Linea Più anticipated the green athmosphere inside the building.
The typical natural context of Pavia is shown by means of serizzo marble floor and the river pebbles in the flowerbeds.
Carlo Donati was born in Zibello, Parma, in 1965. He collaborated with Belgiojoso BBPR firm and he worked at the Gregotti Associati International firm. In 1995 he lives in New York as a consultant architect of Versace Group. In 1996 he founded in Milan the Farnese Contract. In 1999 he started his own firm, mostly focused on luxury houses, shops and resorts throughout Italy and abroad. In 2008 the firm won the contest and developed the masterplan of Segrate, Milan. After working as architect consultant of Gianni Versace and Aldo Coppola fashion brands, Carlo Donati Studio is also the project team in charge for the image of Colefax and Fowler, textile london brand, and Linea più. Carlo Donati Studio is currently responsible of the artistic direction of the Slowear fashion brand, for which it has recently completed showrooms and stores in Paris, London, Beirut, Tokyo and New York . It is now working on a new residential building with luxury apartments and utilities in Milan downtown.
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