“Why write a book today to describe an architectural project? To distill an experience and imbue it with memory. Creating architecture is a testament, but achieving that involves a path that often leaves no trace.” It was to leave a lasting mark in constantly changing times characterized by the infinite availability of information that Frigerio Design Group (FDG) decided to dedicate a monograph to one of its latest projects, the Ferrero Technical Center, which opens with this statement of intent. The book, published by THE PLAN Editions – Gruppo Maggioli, is a journey through the Langhe area (the location of Ferrero’s new headquarters), and the potentialities of the building from the architectural and functional perspectives as well as in terms of interpersonal relationships.
“Alba. Langhe. Cuneo. Piedmont. Italy. Europe. With views of the Alps all around,” writes author and traveler Michele Marziani in the first chapter. “The blessing of Monte Viso. Your gaze gets lost among the towers, the restored castles, the ruins waiting to be restored, the farmhouses, the expanses of hazelnut trees, and the lush, orderly rows of vineyards.”
These views can be enjoyed from inside and all around this high-tech complex, which is respectful of the environment and people, while being deeply rooted in its location. Seeing the building from outside, “you would never think that this blind, transparent rectangular prism is an industrial structure – as the description of the design concept says. It’s clean, modern, colorful – the opposite of the image everyone has of industrial buildings. And when you discover its true function, you can’t help but be surprised.” This is what the team at FDG describes as the wow factor – the ability to amaze users with a project that is as functional as it is aesthetically pleasing, that harmonizes with its setting as well as being something unexpected.
Bringing together the natural and human components in the creation of this innovation hub is one of the ways the studio found to express the company’s identity, its innovative spirit, and passion. It also embodies the “slow architecture” theorized by Frigerio as a building that’s environmentally aware, optimizes resources, and is in constant dialogue with its location, including by virtue of its numerous windows. And the windows flood the Ferrero Technical Center with light for many hours of the day, minimizing the need for wasteful artificial lighting.
Colors and shapes make the hub a landmark, a physical but also a symbolic point of reference. Under the one roof, the project brings together Ferrero’s research and design departments, as well as facilities for building the machinery used in its factories around the world. The organization of the offices, manufacturing facilities, and labs is discussed in the chapter focused on architecture, followed by an in-depth analysis of sustainability issues and the measures taken to reduce the ecological footprint. The result is a compact, simple design that maximizes all passive inputs, while minimizing management and maintenance resources. “It’s simple, reassuring, and dynamic architecture that doesn’t scream technology, although technology is present,” says FDG. “It’s there but it can’t be seen.”
The offices are a good example. Characterized by a small number of fixed elements, coordinated geometries, and spaces with maximum configurability, the offices are a kind of landscape crossed by a path punctuated by flying gardens and light wells, with places to work, concentrate, relax, find privacy, as well as interact and share when needed.
Born in Turin, Enrico Frigerio graduated in architecture in Genoa and learned his trade working side by side with Renzo Piano. In 1991, he established Frigerio Design Group, a studio that makes quality and the environment its primary goals. Frigerio champions what he calls slow architecture, a philosophy behind a progressive approach that centers on a reduced ecological footprint and architecture that defines itself in terms of its setting.
The studio’s most significant projects include the eco-friendly grandstand at the Ferrari racetrack in Imola (1992), Sambonet’s headquarters in Orfengo (2004), the Spezia Calcio sports center (2013), the Terna power station in Capri (2018), Crédit Agricole Green Life’s headquarters in Parma (2018), Zamasport in Novara (2020), a residential complex in Saronno (2020), and the Albòra residence in Genoa (2023).
The monograph will tell, in a narrated way and with a real story-telling, the architectural project Ferrero Technical Center, signed by the studio Frigerio Design Group, in its different evolutionary and building site... Read More