BIG, MVRDV, Snøhetta, aMDL Unveil Proposals for San Pellegrino Bottling Plant Competition

BIG, MVRDV, Snøhetta and aMDL have unveiled images of their proposals for the redesign of San Pellegrino flagship factory and bottling plant located at the source of the mineral water in San Pellegrino Terme, Italy.

The competition brief asked architects to renovate and expand the historic home of San Pellegrino, the world’s leading sparkling mineral water company, with a “truly innovative and technologically-advanced design” aimed at integrating into the natural aesthetic of the surrounding terrain, while responding to the iconic identity of the S. Pellegrino brand.

Continue reading to see each proposal along with official descriptions from each firm.



Our proposal for S. Pellegrino’s new home in the heart of Bergamo is an authentic extension of the rational and functional architecture of the existing factory, where the natural mineral water has been bottled since 1899.

Located in the Brembana valley between the Brembo river and at the foot of the Italian alps, our proposal embraces and enhances the existing architecture while forming an elegant framework that will allow the visitors to sense the power and purity of the surrounding Alpine nature.


The design is evolved around a well-known architectural element: the archway. The simple and clear character of the expanding and contracting arches throughout the campus, create a multitude of spaces and experiences. The visitors and S. Pellegrino employees will walk through majestic vaults, covered tunnels, arcades and green pergolas that frame the history and heritage of the brand. The seriality of the architecture will reveal parts of the surrounding mountains from the snowcapped summit to the running river at the base.

At the center of the campus, a giant core sample will visualize the 30-year journey the mineral water has to travel through to acquire the minerals and achieve the purity that is unique to S. Pellegrino. The new S. Pellegrino Campus will appear disciplined yet fluid; cavernous yet transparent; unifying yet diverse; classic yet contemporary. Celebrating both tradition and evolution the architecture of the new campus reflects the values of San Pellegrino Terme as well as the core values of the Sanpellegrino Group: Purity, Transparency and Naturality.


Shaped by the serpentine run of the Brembo river and the sloping Alpine mountainsides, our proposal for the new S. Pellegrino Campus inherits its narrative structure from the landscape of the Brembana valley. Like an aquatic equivalent of a wine cellar, the repeating archways expand and contract to create the narrative framework for the purity and clarity of the mineral water, in an environment characterized by lightness, openness and transparency. The architecture of manmade elements is embraced and enhanced by the forces of nature, tapping into the rhythmic rationality of the industrial heritage of S. Pellegrino while eliminating the traditional segregation between front and back of house, creating a seamless continuity between production and consumption, preparation and enjoyment.” - Bjarke Ingels, Founding Partner, BIG.


© aMDL

The vision and objective of the S.Pellegrino company to transform and elevate the image of its main production and logistics facility is not only an opportunity to increase its international brand recognition but also to demonstrate its respect and participation in the evolution of the whole valley as an important tourism destination. With this in mind Michele De Lucchi Studio have developed a comprehensive project for the whole complex that is organised around 4 key themes;

© aMDL

To be Natural - regarding the surrounding environment, with the introduction of a tree planted logistics and pedestrian bridge that makes a connection of the local flora and fauna across the Brembo river. Where as the existing perimeter boundary industrial style fence is replaced with one made from fragments of local natural stone.

To be Pure – regarding the quality of the water, that is represented by the architectural unification of all the existing production buildings and renovated office facilities with new facades in translucent white glass. 

© aMDL

To be Conscientious – regarding all staff, that places human needs and desires at the centre of the redesigned work environment and includes a variety of supporting amenities; gym, library and cafeteria that emphasises wellbeing and views to the surrounding valley landscape.

To be Cool – regarding the visitors and customers, where we have designed a large transparent greenhouse that brings together all of S. Pellegrino’s values and creates an amazing place to visit and ‘passeggiare’ around a naturally inspired environment that includes an auditorium, a ‘water café’, water experience and taste labs, show cooking space, meeting rooms and study centre. An external ‘Water Theatre’ and reflecting pool provides a backdrop to support events and installations that will continue to make the flagship factory a ‘Cool’ place to work and visit.

© aMDL




A Star is Born! MVDRV lifts an old factory out of its existing landscape breathing new life into an industrial working site in the heart of San Pellegrino Terme.

The S.Pellegrino Experience Lab has been lifted from the landscape to increase the factory’s flexibility, and to emphasises the views over the site. At the same time, it strengthens the brand: A Star is Born!


The ceilings and floors are made of a transparent and slightly reflective material, emphasising the purity of architecture as well as the intentions and ambitions of the brand. On the roof a layer of water reflects the landscape and falls to the ground, echoing the core process of the factory at its very essence.

As MVRDV co-founder comments for the site’s transformation; “We turn the factory even more into a star. We dream about a factory that enlarges its transparency, its honesty, its relation with the landscape… In the existing and new components of the factory, as a factory will ever adapt…A new transparent star floats over the factory and the valley. Overseeing this operation. it lifts the water and shows it as it falls over its edges onto the factory and the soil. It symbolizes the dream…”


The current façade of the factory is open where possible, but outwards, it creates views towards the surrounding nature, an idyllic setting for those working and aloes a perfect backdrop for the working processes. Inwards, on the other hand, views are created to show the purity and transparency inherent in the S. Pellegrino brand.

For the office, the extension has been realised inside and on top of the existing building allowing the factory to be transformed into a crisp and edgy loft space. A double height lobby enhances the feeling of community by concentrating all the main public functions, while a rooftop restaurant sits above the workplace and celebrates this with a beautiful view for all.


The functionality of this is shown in all its purity, giving the visitor a strong belief and admiration and for the worker, a sense of beauty, joy and pride for the town's "miraculous" water.


© Snøhetta

The S. Pellegrino Flagship Factory will be embedded within the San Pellegrino Terme area. The connection of the Experience Lab`s public levels to the community, the softening of the impact of the existing factory together with views from the surrounding hillsides back to the building, the San Pellegrino Flagship Factory will be integrated in the area both physically and visually.

© Snøhetta

This extrovert outlook locates the building in the cultural context, enhancing public ownership to the building and providing a specific focus for both the public and private areas. A new public space, the Park, is created for all to enjoy and installs a high degree of permeability within the proposal, ensuring connectivity across the site and with the wider neighbourhood with a new pedestrian bridge over the River Brembo. 

Upon the Park sits the Experience Lab, welcoming, transparent and intriguing. Located under a floating cloud, an episodic sequence of spaces unfurl themselves in the form of a spiral ramp from which the visitor can gain an understanding of Italy, the San Pellegrino Area, its terroir and the San Pellegrino brand.

© Snøhetta

The existing factory form is shrouded in a stainless steel mesh that adapts to the contours of the buildings. The buildings take on a new form as edges are blurred. Depending on the viewing angle the mesh can appear closed and reflective or open and transparent, often at the same time.

"The history of San Pellegrino and its water is in itself strong enough to create a successful future. Snøhetta has drawn its inspiration for the project from this fact, just emphasizing the extraordinary values already embedded in San Pellegrino, its nature, in the water and its international standing" - Kjetil Thrædal Thorsen

© Snøhetta

“We have been astonished by the projects presented today,” said Stefano Agostini, President and CEO of the Sanpellegrino Group. “All four architectural firms interpreted our brand’s rich history and values so well that it will be extremely difficult to determine a winner. On the other hand, that is why we have invited four architecture studios of such an international stature to take part in this tender; we want to ensure the new home of S.Pellegrino mineral water, which is intended to become the signature of our Group, will amaze visitors from all corners of the world.”

S. Pellegrino will announce a winner and a project timeline by the end of September.

News via San Pellegrino.

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About this author
Cite: Patrick Lynch. "BIG, MVRDV, Snøhetta, aMDL Unveil Proposals for San Pellegrino Bottling Plant Competition" 19 Sep 2016. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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