Cabel Industry / Massimo Mariani

Architect: Massimo Mariani
Location: Empoli,
Project Team: Elda Bellone, Roseda Gentile, Alessandro Mariani, Giovanni Lunari, Simona Baronti
Project Year: 2008
Photographs: Alessandro Ciampi

Just out the edge of the town of Empoli, the building is the Cabel headquarters (a company dealing in computer systems for banks), it covers an area of approximately 4.500 square metres and it is incorporated on the local industrial estate.

Partially set into the ground, the building is composed of two extended floors out the ground level and a vault under. Along the main front the facade is protected by a long strip of public landscaping running parallel to the road.

elevation + section

The visitor arrives on the ground level through three suspended bridges launched on a large excavation which lights the vault designed to house expositions and art installations. Night time this empty space becomes a lighting pool which raises architecture from the ground.

The underground floor holds a printing facility and other spaces allocated for various different kinds of activities; the ground features all different sorts of glazed spaces, ranging from open plan spaces to small isolated cells, in a modern interaction of liquid working areas like acquarium. In contrast the first floor accomodates the management space, with a small internal patio and terrace in-between them. The elevators and distributional stairs take up the middle section of the structural grid, made of stone tiles with steel elevators.

The gently curving building shell, windows, entrance gaps and furniture decoration all feature the same basic stylistic design.

During the day coloured glass create liquid chromatic effects inside black and white offices, instead of night time when coloured cuts project out vivid lighting effects underlining holes, cuts and shapes of the building.

The building is constructed out of prefabricated concrete elements and its roof and end sections are tiled in grey aluminium.

The entire roof is covered with a system of photovoltaic solar panels using amorphous polycrystalline tecnology, carefully positioned so as not be visible. Thanks to this system, which is capable of generating approximately 150 kW, the building is almost totally self-sufficient from an energy viewpoint.

Cite: "Cabel Industry / Massimo Mariani" 11 Apr 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 29 May 2015. <>
  • Fino

    It is different, but I couldn’t take this too seriously. Hm, Post Modernism at its best. It looks “fun”, but was it really necessary as how it sits in the environment? It has such an inward quality to it, being about itself and about a separate agenda. From the outside, it seems so much like an object, and less about architecture. There are some nice moments of the interior at least.

    that is all.

  • Opium

    Well well…A shame the earthquake didn’t hit this one…how old is the guy who did this?either a teenager or a 60′s hippie…either case a sci fi hardcore fan.

  • tom

    what an ugly building

  • Mr. Cheap

    The idea is to work with circles, and avoid corners, -BUT WHY ? The architect said it himself, this is “stylistic design” …

  • greg

    “stylistic design” a typically nonsense architecture…

  • sam

    The elevations dominate everything….the problem is the handicap of the elevation to the rooms behind……the building wants to be a fabric, defenetly not an officebuilding! where are the good italian architects??? the best I remember was brunellesci, borromini or palladio – thats a time ago!!

  • lex

    Yes I agree – A. Palladio would turn in his own grave when he could see what kind of “criminal acts” Mariani does…

  • Opium

    Well sam there was scarpa and terragnani in the 50′s and 30′s…but yes…a slow and steady decadence of italian architecture…guess that they’ve lost their touch and can only design shoes…La povera italia

  • jaqui

    yes, an ugly building!


    ну ничего себееееее!

  • jp

    it really, really urks me that the lines aren’t tangent to the circles in elevation.

  • conrtemporarian

    Actually most of the project signed by this guy Mariani were designed by Elda Bellone
    well well all know how it works in Italy… Berlusconi style : )