The old Caproni factory, built in 1915 in the eastern suburbs of Milan, has been brought back to life thanks to a renovation and redevelopment project transforming this old plant – which stands out due to its warehouses with shed-style rooms, large hangar and internal corridors – into the new Milan offices of the famous fashion brand, Gucci.
The premises in via Mecenate, which used to be used for designing, assembling and testing aeroplanes, have now been developed into a large complex holding offices, showrooms and spaces for holding fashion shows and operations connected with graphics, as well as a canteen and restaurant.
The project, based on renovating this industrial site, focuses on enhancing the stylistic features of the 1920s’ architecture. Regenerating the old facilities has resulted in a modern office complex, which manages to meet modern-day needs and requirements in a construction with powerful historical connotations.
The abandoned industrial warehouses, set out in a regular pattern across the site and featuring modular structural bays, have been renovated and enhanced: covered by a shed-style roof that lets zenith light flow into the interiors and featuring exposed-brick facades, the spatial layout of these buildings creates seamless interaction between the inside and outside.
The large hangar, once used for assembling aeroplanes, has been transformed and can now host events and fashion shows, thanks to the careful renovation project. Inside the regular layout of structures, a central pedestrian path connects the axis along via Mecenate to a large covered space: this internal plaza, covered by thin metal structures engineered back at the start of the century, sets out the various functions inside Gucci’s Milan offices.
Pedestrian paths run between the buildings, which are mainly located on the ground floor, in a sequence of solid structures and empty spaces in which landscaping plays a key role: running right across the site and smoothly interacting between the old buildings and green spaces.
The large plaza, surrounded by exposed brick fronts, is livened up by carefully positioned trees, while a thick wood of lime trees gives the project a distinctly “green” feel, focusing carefully on sustainable design. The project incorporates a six-storey tower in its industrial fabric of warehouses and hangers, which interacts closely with the old constructions.
This parallelepiped, surrounded by a glass facade and covered with a regular pattern of sunscreens, breaks down the site’s symmetry and tends to draw together all the different functions.
Constructed out of glass surfaces, the structure is covered with a web of vertical elements made of a dark-coloured metal that shelter the interiors from the sunlight: this distinctly tall and dark-coloured modern building sets up powerful chromatic relations with the red-coloured exposed bricks of the low-level warehouses. Source by Piuarch.
- Location: Via Mecenate 87, Milan, Italy
- Architect: Piuarch
- Client: Kering Spa
- Floor space: 30.000 sq.m.
- Cost: 95.000.000 euro
- Built: 2016
- Photographs: Andrea Martiradonna, Courtesy of Piuarch
Article by Marco Rinaldi