LocationMilan, Metropolitan City of Milan, Italy
Architects in ChargeFrancesco Fresa, Germán Fuenmayor, Gino Garbellini and Monica Tricario
Text description provided by the architects. 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 into the new Milan offices of the famous fashion brand Gucci. The premises in via Mecenate, which were used for designing, assembling and testing airplanes, have now been developed into a large complex holding offices, showroom 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 the outside.
The large hangar 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 tun 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 on sustainable design.
The project incorporates a six-storey tower in its industrial fabric of warehouses, which interacts closely with the old constructions. This volume, surrounded by a glass façade 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 a glass surface, the structure is covered with a web of vertical elements made of a dark-colored metal that shelter the interiors from the sunlight: this tall modern building sets up powerful chromatic relations with the red-colored exposed bricks of the low-level warehouses.