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A Place of Energy: the Red Bull HQ in Milan.

The Red Bull HQ in Milan express thoroughly the company’s mission: energize people. The architect firm Il Prisma has told the multi-faceted activity of the company all across the space, through four different worksettings, expressing the kind useful energy for a modern workplace: energy is nightlife, energy is take it easy, energy is sport and energy is adventure.

A workplace that “gives you wings” and expresses perfectly the vision of the company. That was the idea behind the Red Bull HQ in Milan, designed by Il Prisma, following their multidisciplinary approach “Redefine your habits, centred on innovation, technology and sensory perception.

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is the leading idea of the project and of the company’s vision that has inspired four different environments.
The “Welcome Experience” areas, as the entrance and the reception, recall the dynamism and amusement of the “Energy of the nightlife”. An experience of sharing, break and working, as well, where Red Bull cans are offered in small coolers on the side of the stairs.

The working environment is inspired by the adrenaline and adventurous activity that the company has sponsored in these years, and it aims to let people express their own talent and go beyond any difficulties.

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The spaces dedicated to teamworking are inspired by the sport’s value: tenacity, dynamism, sharing of the problems and ideas to reach a common goal.
Finally, “Energy is take it easy” is the slogan chosen for the break and relax areas. Slowing down, sometimes, is the key to productivity. Il Prisma has designed a playful atmosphere that helps workers to “recharge workers’ energy” and to create a fertile workplace where ideas are shared and actually take place.
Text by Gabriele Masi.

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A vibrant showroom in a former warehouse.

A new amazing and vibrant showroom was opened in Milan. North 45° 29’ 27”-East 09° 11’ 17”: latitude and longitude with a city map of the area are visible on the entrance wall. Cardex, dealer for some of the most important brands in office and contract furnishing creates a flexible setting perfect for the new work styles, relating a recent past and expressing the new aesthetics for the workplace. 

The area is close to the city center and very trendy; the Isola district, once working-class, was redeveloped and many former industrial properties were converted.
Even the nondescript warehouse with shelter and trucks parking of the ‘50s, at via Civerchio 4, once used for tubular steel items is now a showroom with unique features thanks to the project by Cardex.
A pleasant and dynamic location, perfect for receiving architects and customers, especially in spring and summer when the charming garden can change into an outdoor meeting room.

Over 200 m2 on two floors with large windows facing on the cozy garden. The flexible space planning highlights the functional subdivision of the different areas and the rooms to mingle and meet people: from the meeting room that allow privacy thanks to the glass partition wall to the lounge area for informal meetings, from the bench desk devoted for teamworks to the lively break area with table soccer and kitchen closed by a glass wall, in order not to bother.

A staircase leads to the upper floor where one can see the structure of the pitched roof with beams in view; in the upper open plan floor there are a few bench desks marked by book shelves and sound-absorbing panels in bright colors.
A glass wall at the back closes the area used for jobs requiring concentration.

This vibrant location was implemented thanks to the idea of two Milanese creative and pragmatic architects, Pietro Carullo and Paolo Della Salda, with the collaboration of the architects Silvia Gerli, Erica Cazzaniga and Giorgio Colombo.


Cardex’s partener companies:
Arper, Arteco, B&B Italia, Buzzi space, Caimi BrevettiDieffebiHW-Style, Knoll, MDF, OLuce, Sitland, Thonet, Viccarbe.


Spotify: when the music shapes the space.

Energy and creativity: these are the key concepts of the Spotify’s offices in Milan, designed by Adolfsson&Partner. Two ideas connecting design and music, as a source of inspiration, freedom, collaboration and wellbeing. A colourful working environment where everyone can freely express himself.

660 workstations, 75 meeting rooms over 5 floors and more than 8 thousands sqm, designed to satisfy the modern equation of the working environment design: happiness = more productivity. Spotify, the famous swedish commercial music streaming service, has put into in all its offices around Europe, including Milan, its mission and corporate philosophy through the space, making its employees experience it everyday.

The color is the main peculiarity that first strikes you entering the space, especially in the furniture and on the walls, where graffitis are a leitmotif that characterise most of the rooms. Other features makes the Spotify’s offices an example of the new ways of working concepts: the attention paid for the the break and in between areas, the informality of the space, the kitchen and all the space allowing to cook and eat directly in the office, the use of design elements as working tools, as the 700 meters wall paper that can be utilised by everyone as a blackboard.
An office inspired by the music, core business of Spotify, where music beats the time of the working day, emphasise the home feeling sensation and team working. “In our office we listen to collaborative playlist to be motivated”, Angela Watts, Spotify’s VP of Global Communication, says. “Everyone can contribute with his own taste and no one feels left apart”.
Text by Gabriele Masi.





Balancing privacy and open space: Casio Offices (D2U).

Privacy is one of the main concerns of an open space working environment. That’s why D2U – project manager arch. Corrado Caruso– has included an informal office in the redevelopment of the Casio Italia’s headquarters in Milan: an in-between area equipped with special furniture for private calls or network surfing or for arranging comfortable informal meetings, protected by soundproof elements.

The redevelopment of the Casio offices in Milan had to deal with the reception desk on the ground floor and a narrow and long space (8 x 90m) with a single exposure. Re-arranging the layout, Design to Users (2DU) moved the work areas in an open space located on the southern façade in order to get maximum natural light, keeping three separate closed offices for the management, and building a dedicated space for the privacy need of the workers: the informal office.
This is a non working area where employees can go for private calls or network surfing by standing in touchdown areas or sitting on wooden stools, or  organising informal meetings with colleagues or customers, by sitting in comfortable sofas protected by acoustic panels.

The brand identity of the space is given by the use of the corporate colour Casio electric blue, that create a pattern throughout all the environments over the “tone on tone” grey and white combinations of the structures and walls, the beige PVC floor and the dove-grey work surfaces of the working furniture.
Smart features of the project are a flexible and reconfigurable space, the use of natural, recyclable and sustainable fit-out components and materials and the break area/kitchenette conceived as a central area for staff relationships.
A careful acoustic control of the environment is given by the sound absorbing panels Snowsound Caimi Brevetti’s Snowsound (Mitesco, designed by Michele De Lucchi), storage elements located between the individual work areas, along with the Gyptone acoustic ceilings.
Text by Gabriele Masi.



A tailor-made smart office: the Customer Center BPM (Progetto CMR).

A welcoming space with a strong brand identity thought to answer to the needs of a dynamic working activity: the requalification of the BPM Customer Center’s offices in Milano, designed by Progetto CMR, has been inspired by the smart working paradigm.

“We worked on some areas of the two floors to design an unified and fluid environment. We focused especially on the in-between areas: the paths become meeting places perfectly integrated in a flexible working space that allows different configurations”, Antonella Mantica, Progetto CMR’s Partner and Project Leader, explains.
The main feature of the new 1.400 smq office area of the BPM Customer Center is the 150 not-assigned workstations over the two floors, gathered in different groups and supervised each by a group leader.
At the second floor two meeting rooms were designed with a movable wall that allows an easy reconfiguration of the space and equipped with video-conference systems. There are also areas for private phone calls, tech stations with internet connection and a break area with a kitchen and places for informal meetings or where is possible to relax.
A bright and nice palette was chosen in order to express the brand identity throughout the space, with the use of the “BPM green”, along with petrol blue and orange.
“We wanted to design a professional but comfortable working space, with a friendly atmosphere that could help the employees in stressful situations” Licia Micolitti, Progetto CMR’s Architect Leader says. “We worked on a palette that create a comfort feeling, almost like a domestic environment. That’s why we focused also on the acoustic, using several soundproof materials”.
A particular attention was paid to the choice of the furniture, with high benches, tables, stools, couches and pouf by Estel, while a more private corner was specifically equipped with the two customised couches Privé, designed by Progetto CMR, and realised with soundproof materials by Ares Line.
In order to reduce the noise pollution’s problems, linked to an open space where up to 80 employees work all day, mainly on the phone, Caimi Brevetti’s Snowsound technology coloured panels were arranged, allowing a well balance sound absorption.
Text by Gabriele Masi.



Innovation Center: Intesa San Paolo tower in Turin.

How can design improve your life and your business? Located at the 31st floor of the transparent tower designed by Renzo Piano, the collaborative project by Lago for the Intesa San Paolo’s Innovation Centre reflects the values of a flexible home-feeling-oriented space, capable to bring in a work environment the positive sensations that a domestic environment can give. Daniele Lago has talked about it with Roberto Battaglia, manager of the Intesa San Paolo training department, in an inspiring conversation at the EXPO Pavilion.

The meeting “Come il design migliora la vita e il business?” (How can design improve your life and business?) opened analysing what really empathy is in a workplace. Not only the “Empaty of point of views” that allowed Lago to design the innovative space for the future bank Intesa San Paolo had in mind, but also the kind of empathy that make spaces, objects and people “vibrate in unison”.
The Innovation Centre collaborative project, developed by Lago along with Intesa San Paolo, is inspired by the Lago Interior Life’s principle, creating, through design, a home-feeling-oriented environment that support the individual and collective well-being, developing both formal and informal connections.
A strategy explained in the claim “Welcome Home”  that Daniele Lago, Lago’s managing director and Head of Design, has introduced with this words: “I believe that the true innovation is the one that makes the everyday life better, independently of the field where it is applied. For us design is a powerful instrument of social transformation. We spend most of our day outside our homes, in the office. That’s why we think it is necessary to design working and business environments as welcoming houses, in order to support an individual and collective well-being and to build a background for new ways of encounters and exchanges.

In the centre of the open space, a 13m long Lago Community Table “floats”, suitable for co-working or conferences, surrounded by furniture on wheels that allows to constantly reconfigure the space if needed.
The plan of the table goes through two specular bookcases, that dived the space in an area for the laboratories and a break area, suitable also for events.
The LagoLinea bookcase links the working area with a kitchen, design to increase the home feeling and relax perception and the chances of encounters.
A sensation given also by the big wall integrated in a living station, that allows to easily share and present projects and digital presentations, and by the domestic lighting, in compliance with all the workspace’s ergonomic standards.
The business district area was thought differently and developed around a main rectangular environment, with three wide glass walls on the sides. For this reason Lago created a light interior, emphasising the panorama with a ring of couches, a perfect place to enjoy a break.
At the sides of this space two management offices are located, while in the centre a 4m x 3m Air table is entirely dedicated for meeting: all following the principles of transparency and lightness.
Text by Gabriele Masi.





Priscilla Lanotte’s food design wins the Targa Bonetto 2015.

EXPO has given great impetus to industrial design projects dedicated to food. One of the most interesting examples of Food Design is Bio_Pic, a Priscilla Lanotte’s project which, among the 100 projects participating from around the world, has won the first prize of Targa Rodolfo Bonetto 2015. A creative idea, environmental friendly perfectly suited also for canteens and break areas in workplaces.

This authoritative competition, with the sponsorship of ADI Association for Industrial Design Foundation and Collection ADI Compasso d’Oro, since 20 years ago rewards the creativity of students of universities and design schools around the world and is important opportunity to test their skills, dedicated to those who are still in the process of training in a profession that requires a mix of skills and innate abilities.
The winner of the competition is the project “Bio_Pic”,  self-service tray, by Priscilla Lanotte, Accademia di Brera (Milan), also awarded an exceptional prize: a city car UP! offered by Volkswagen Group, official sponsor of the 20th edition of the Targa Bonetto, and customized by Garage Italia Customs, a company headed by Lapo Elkann, who delivered the car to the winner during the awards ceremony at the headquarters of the ADI.

Other interesting lighting design projects and furniture design at the podium:
2nd place for “Mole”, a lamp designed by F. Calvi, A. Crespi, M. Grima, A. Marcuzzo, IED (Milan);
3rd place for “Living Plus” seating system by Gian Raffaele Ciannavei, Italian Design Institute (Perugia).2-bio-pic-food-design-primo-premio-targa-bonetto-2015-wow-webmagazine


Star: the smart revolution of a traditional company.

From fixed workstations to free and not personalized desks, from a work environment organized in a hierarchy to the open space. How can we bring a traditional company into the smart working era? During the second jelly session of WOW! Island Agile Working’s week, Matteo Melchiorri, HR Star and Antonella Grenci by Il Prisma, presented the Star’s new offices in Milano.

Star, the famous italian food industry, has just moved its offices to the new MAC7 center in Milan. The new interior spaces, designed by the architect Antonella Grenci of the firm Il Prisma, were built following the new concept of the “chance encounters” work environment.
“We have chosen an open space without any fixed workstation”, Matteo Melchiorri said. “We didn’t aim to a space optimisation. All the workstations are traditional, but there are no partitions and, as our new paper-less way of working required, the room for archiving was strongly reduced. To help our employees towards this change, we gave to each of them a limited capacity locker (35x60x60cm)”.
What really identifies the project is the strong company’s imprint given to the environment.
“Everyone can recognize our office at first sight”, Antonella Grenci said. “The moquette on the ground is green like a field, and yellow and red soundproof-panels clouds hang on the white ceiling and walls: Star brand’s colors are everywhere”.
A strong architectural element is the agorà, the core of the project.
“The offices’ structure is oval”, Melchiorri explained. “At the centre there is a common space that recalls a familiar kitchen environment, with a kitchen table, a fridge, vending machines, tables and settees. A flexible and multifunctional break area that can be easily used to chill out or to arrange informal meetings. We wanted a space capable to encourage the employee’s socialization. We also have a real and professional kitchen where we organize show cookings and events for the press, students or customers, etc…”.
What is the most important step to lead a company towards the smart working?
Melchiorri has no doubts: “ It is the change managment, a mix of a guidance and the explanation of the sense of the new way of working.
That’s why we had decided to show the different steps of the realisation of the new spaces in a dedicated website and we organized an internal focus group to pay attention to all the doubts and ideas of our people. The fundamental thing is to take nothing for granted and to answer to all the objections.
As Melchiorri underlines, the transition to smart working is something that needs time and it has to be made step-by-step.
We are not a totally agile company, but for now we have chosen a more flexible working time, starting between 7:30 to 9:30 and with a free time management during the day. Most of all we have eliminated the clock in system, in pursuit of trust and accountability. In this phase we decided not to allow the home working, maybe in the future…”.
Text by Gabriele Masi.



Zeta Service: a bright colours Best Workplace.

Over just 11 years, Zeta Service went from 1 to 380 clients and from 1 to170 employees, most of them women. The success of this Italian company lies in the care they take over people and their work-life balance approach. The new offices reflects this vision.

The involvement and human centered vision underlie the project of the lively offices in Milan (opening next June). A 7 floors building that stands out in the surrounding gloomy outskirts with its bright colours.
Silvia Bolzoni, sole administrator Zeta Service (company awarded by Great Place to Work and Ambrogino d’Oro), tells us the procedure of this most partecipatory project, “starting from the choice of the designer, architect Matteo Colla, who had the sensitivity to put our awareness of people’s needs into a space, which we consider as the most important value”.
The drastic renovation has added three storeys to the existing building and has completely reshaped the layout. Comfort was carefully considered, expecially seating ergonomy and light design. Light, open spaces, snow-white surroundings enlivened by touches of colour, chosen by Zeta Service after seeking the advice of a psychologist of colour. Colours are also used as signs and as an element of identification and corporate communication.
Very welcoming rooms, not hierarchical, that provide for a comfortable break area with balcony on the top floor, so that everyone can enjoy the view of the skyline of Milan. Smart working organization and technologies, allow the employees to work everywhere, but no wonder if they prefer to work together with their colleagues in a workplace they love and can identify with.