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“The Creative Hub” Furla Offices and Factory

Architecture Appropriate to Itself and Its Surroundings

GEZA Architettura

“The Creative Hub” Furla Offices and Factory
By Valerio Paolo Mosco -

On the road between Florence and Siena, you come across a recent project designed by the Udine-based architecture practice GEZA (headed by Stefano Gri and Piero Zucchi), longstanding designers of some of Italy’s best architecture. It is the headquarters of Furla, a well-known up-market designer and manufacturer of women’s handbags, footwear and leather articles. Close to the road, but largely hidden from it, a succession of different volumes follows the natural gradient down into a valley. The first in the sequence is an elongated sleeve-like building running almost alongside the road; behind this, an almost square block and behind that, two other volumes, which together form a smaller square block. The sectional view gives a clear idea of the sequence and how the volumes follow the descending gradient.

Assertive yet discreet, the buildings and their arrangement signal the overall aim of the project: to set the surrounding landscape in relief with their presence, adding to what already exists - a landscape of rolling hills - as if to a musical score. In order to enhance the natural landscape through this built complex, it is no coincidence that GEZA opted for a color scheme of black and dark grays, offsetting this with the white of the end building furthest down the hill. For reasons that remain almost mysterious, the color black both stands out and blends into a natural landscape, as Land Art and Arte Povera - art forms familiar to Gri and Zucchi - have taught us.

Returning to the Furla headquarters, the first building houses the main entrance and spaces dedicated to company relations with the outside world. On the two floors, study and meeting rooms are interspersed by full-height patios that bring the surrounding greenery into the building on the side facing the road while large glazed openings look out over the Tuscan landscape on the other. The building exudes a sense of affable ease essential to a welcoming, smoothly...

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