Officina Vidre Negre | The Plan
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Officina Vidre Negre

Duilio Damilano

Vidre Negre’s office building is set amidst an uninspiring cluster of prefab factories and warehouses in the outlying industrial area of Cuneo, northeast Italy. Built with the aim of covering as much space as possible at lowest cost, these sheds would seriously detract from any attempt to construct something more original and aesthetically pleasing - probably making it look out of place, awkward and pretentious. Which would have been quite the contrary of what architect Duilio Damilano and his Client/builder had in mind. Hence the idea of landscaping the surrounding area to create a quality setting and isolate the new construction from its wider context. So it stands in a large park with an artificial lake, protected on all sides by a black perimeter wall. As the Client also owned some of the adjacent plots, he was able to have a say in what was built close by. One of these new constructions was a petrol station, also designed by Damilano. Its long sleek frontage is an attractively dynamic addition to the area. Another plot, turned over to the local council to become a public park, has also been landscaped to hide the ugly buildings nearby. Redesigning the surrounding landscape came at a price in terms of built volume and protracted timeframes, especially when it came to negotiating with the local authorities. But it was worth it. As well as carving out an area of great beauty, the Client has created an exceptionally effective image for his business, a construction company also manufacturing district-heating systems. Lengthy preliminaries were, however, compensated by efficient construction once building got underway. The whole job took less than a year to complete. The Plan has already presented the architectures of Duilio Damilano, underlining how they encompass three aspects: the symbolic, the sculptural, and the emotional. The symbolic dimension has to do with the fact that as well as functional containers, Damilano’s buildings often resemble organic beings....

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