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Pros and Cons of Design & Build.

Design & Build is an integrated project management approach – mostly for workplaces and public premises – apparently highly appreciated by many large customers, as it makes procedures easier and gives better guarantees as far as lead-times and budget are concerned. It could even be synonymous with “turnkey contracting” for the kind of solutions offered, but there are a few major differences, as points out Philippe Sourdois, managing director at Tetris, a JLL company, European “Design & Build” specialist for the fit-out of offices and commercial spaces, also based in Italy since 2010

Recently we hear a lot about Design & Build, sometimes confused with Contract, but there are substantial differences.

“A company complying with the D&B mode is different from a contractor, because all phases of the project are covered, from the first briefing meant to understand the customer’s needs through to the working plan including the administrative activities. But the D&B company can offer to its customer only some of these activities”.

So a flexible approach is one of D&B keys to success?

Exactly, the customer can ask for services they really need and count on us just for one or more parts of the whole process.

What are D&B benefits?

They are many of them, first of all different competences work in teams and in close contact, thus reducing downtime for approvals and the imposition of liabilities. Even the relations with suppliers are simplified, since the pre-arranged standard agreements avoid delays and legal expenses”.

Another major benefit for the customer is to have just one interlocutor and one invoice.
But its success is mainly due to a 20% time saving and the absolute guarantee that delivery date and budget are met.


“Tetris, in particular, offers benefits given by the strength of a reliable international group and synergies between its branches all over the world.
The same approach and one contract is for the customer a huge advantage in the carrying out of offices worldwide, for Tetris co-ordinates and applies the same standard in all countries. For example the design created in Italy for the International School was adopted adopted for the South Africa”.

What about the disadvantages?

A few detractors claim that in a D&B mode the project quality is lower, but what affects the quality of an architectural project is the budget. Actually, there are only advantages for the customer, all disadvantages are for the D&B  company, entrusted with more responsibilities in every respect.

Interview by Renata Sias


In the photos some workspaces supplied by Tetris in Italy
1: Headquarters of a travel e-commerce company in Genoa (Break Area).
2: Headquarters of a communication and marketing company in Milan (Meeting Room Area).
3: Headquarters of a telecommunication company in Milan (Reception Area)
4: Headquarters of a finance company in Milan (Executive office



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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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Caldera Park Worklife: sport and services for the work-life balance.

A 10 meters climbing wall: that’s the symbol of Caldera Park Worklife in Milan, by Generali Real Estate and CBRE. This business center is an example of how physical activity has become essential in the new ways of working, as a good work-life balance and well-being indicator, defining a space that is able to match the workers’ needs.

The project for the renovation of the 110 sqm Caldera Worklife Business Centre has started from a survey among the 4.000 employees working in the building in order to understand what were their most urgent and important needs. That gives to Generali Real Estate, CBRE, as long as General Planning and Carlo Ratti Associati, thata designed the main entrance and square, the line to create a business centre capable to create a wealthy and comfortable working environment. 07-Caldera-Park-wow-webmagazine

That gives to Generali Real Estate, CBRE, as long as General Planning and Carlo Ratti Associati, that has designed the main entrance and square, the main ideas and lines to create a center capable to create a wealthy and comfortable working environment.

“We wanted to create a business park which could be a benchmark for the future”, Alberto Agazzi, GRE SGR’s CEO and General Manager, said. “The core of our project is the people who live the space every day, for whom new services and instruments were created, in order to encourage a good balance between working and private life”.

Physical activity has been chosen as the key to this balance: outside a two ring running track (1 km + 666 m) has been built with a computerized timing system, as well as a 10 meters climbing wall, while inside a fully equipped fitness area has been designed.
Also Easy Point, the building dedicated to all the services, has been renovated, creating a coworking space, which can be used also by eternal companies and people, as long as a kindergarten, a mini-market, and an app that allows employees to easily find out about dedicated offers, that helps to make everyday life simpler.
Text by Gabriele Masi.



Turning restrinctions into opportunities: CBRE, Rome.

A variety of layouts and settings that found a common mood in the corporate and smart working culture: that’s how the studio e45 has designed the CBRE office in Rome, personalizing a rigid working environment and, at the same moment, optimizing its peculiarities.

The main challenge the e45’s design team had to face when they started to design the CBRE office, next to Rome’s central train station, was how to manage a space with a stretched layout, structural partitions along the corridors and several other constraints, in order to create a suitable environment for the smart ways of working, where it was possible to place into a thin slice of floorplan a reasonable amount of desk to fulfill the clients requirements.


That allows e45 to experiment some original solutions, offering a variety of work settings.
The reception desk has been replaced by a welcome coffee area where clients can sit on a touch down table while preparing a meeting or relaxing on a stylish Italian couch, under the CBRE logo, carved into a two-color wall of moss, that has also the function of noise reduction.


The open space area was kept simple, with Kinnarps’s high adjustable desking system, Cardex’s furniture, Caimi Brevetti’s soundproof panels and personal numbered lockers for desk sharing. The corridor becomes a meeting point with whiteboards where people can share thoughts and ideas spontaneously, just beside written text of songs about Rome, reproduced on metal shelves, also all over the office space. Furthermore, as any contemporary office requires, all the meeting rooms, informal spaces, huddles, phone booths are equipped with video conferencing devices. Finally, a kitchenette area, as well as relax room, find a place into the project, inviting people to sometimes take a break.
Text by Gabriele Masi.
Pictures by Matteo Zanardi.







Prysmian Hq: a workplace to make new WOWs grow.


An efficient layout between the historical memory and the future: the Prysmian HQ in Milan, by the firm Maurizio Varratta Architetto (architecture) and DEGW (interior design) is conceived as an outgoing” space, dominated by the hierarchy-breaking open space design. The sustainable requalification of the building is centred on two bioclimatic glasshouses that link architectonically and socially the structures, the activities and the people of the four former factory blocks.

12.000 sqm office area and 1200 sqm glasshouses: these are the numbers of a smart working revolution that is taking place in the Italian headquarters of Prysmian.
In 2011 the world leader company for the production of cables for the energetic, telecommunication and optical fibre industries, begin the project to renovate the old factory complex in order to create a modern office space.


The design by the firm Maurizio Varratta Architetto and DEGW has its core in the two bioclimatic glasshouses that link the four open space blocks of the building. These green oasis are not just a symbol of some of the most important smart working features (connectivity, well-being, sustainability, meeting, relationship, mobility), but also fundamental architectonical elements that allows a better natural enlightenment, energy saving and a better regulation of the internal microclimate, thanks to the sloping pitched structure of the covering capable of optimizing the solar radiation. 

The roof pitches facing north allow natural light to flow into the office blocks facing onto them without bringing in any extra heat and are fitted with shutters. Instead, the roof pitches facing south have adjustable mechanically-controlled shutters to provide natural lighting and, at the same time, keep out some of the direct sunlight and any extra inflow of heat.

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“The Prysmian HQ in Milan is a building complex with an apparently simple but technologically cutting-edge architectural form, which follows the very latest principles of energy sustainability, environmental quality, and respect for the environment. The old building was completely knocked down and all its constituent materials were recycled. It guarantees its occupants enjoy a good quality of life in accordance with the highest international standards”, the architect Varratta says.
Three of the factory blocks host on three levels the open space offices, meeting rooms, relax areas, and in a slighlty elevated area, the top management offices.
The fourth block, instead, is thought for hosting open and private events and activities, as congresses or training courses.

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The interior design by DEGW is inspired by the “Workplace change management” methodology, developed in collaboration with Methodos. According to this, every changing is a process that comes from the interaction and the participation of the people that live daily the environment, meanwhile, the design has to be a driver for the change.
Another brand of the Lombardini22 group, FUD Brand Making Factory, with Interbrand, has developed the space branding project.
Starting from the Prysmian logo on the bench of the reception, all the spaces tell about the company through some significant sentences, infographics, and products. Corporate values, such as ‘linking the future’,  are physically embodied in glass film showing infographics about the company’s worldwide operations in the form of words written in thick white plexiglass.
Text by Gabriele Masi.
Pictures by Dario Tettamanzi.

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“Be”, being well: a human-centred redevelopment.

Being well, productive, connected, innovative: the verb “to Be” is the centre of the contemporary workplace. The requalification of the business district in Cassina De’ Pecchi, next to Milan, by InvestiRE, design a modern vital village, thought to promote a productive interaction and wealthy working environment, through different services and integrating the outdoor and indoor space in the same concept. CBRE is the exclusive agent.

Nowadays revitalizing a working environment can’t be just about re-designing spaces and furniture. Evening if the “packaging” still plays a fundamental role, the core of the Real Estate project must be the “human experience” created by integrating internal and external spaces and services given by the company.


That’s the concept that has driven the project of the requalification of the 40.000 sqm of the business district in Via Roma 108 in Cassina de’ Pecchi, few kilometers from Milano: productivity, engagement, and collaboration, good health and well-being practices for the people, all these key concepts of the modern workspace are expressed in the simple name that has been chosen: “Be”.


The main building, re-designed by Park Associati, is created to promote socialization and collaboration, balancing private spaces with different environment to share among the companies and external professionals: co-working, meeting rooms, temporary offices and event rooms (up to 110 people).


The peculiarity of the project, however, is the focus on the wellbeing and on the work-life balance of the workers. Along with dedicated space and services such as an healthy restaurant, a full-equipped gym and a nursery school, outiside pedestrian walkways pass through a private green park, with movable and fixed facilities, that aims to create a “continuum” between the space indoor and outdoor, recalling the idea of “The Walk by De Lucchi of a “peripatetic office”.
Text by Gabriele Masi.







An urban landscape inside the office.

The project for the GFT Italia Headquarter in Milan by DAP Studio wants to shape a paradox: to design an office for a company who works with the immaterial world of Information Technology, taking inspiration from the greatest material invention of man, the city.
Instead of excluding urban life from the workplace, the interior design transform it into the very paradigm of work experience.

“We designed a working place where human relations and knowledge can move along ‘streets’ and ‘squares’, where people can discuss in cozy lounges or share opinions in front of a long dining table. Thus the open space of an ordinary office building becomes a new urban landscape, the theatre of a new way of understanding work”. explain Elena Sacco and Paolo Danelli of DAP Studio.


To reflect the non-hierarchical company, the space organization is fluid and facilitates interpersonal relationships and exchange of information.


The entrance to the office is designed as a threshold area between the “outside world” and the inner new office. Beyond the threshold, an elongated architectural volume, with its highly recognizable shape.


This iconic element is the fulcrum and the common background for spaces and paths and has a double value.

Its cross-section, with its sloping roof, refers to the archetypal shape of the house and emphasizes an idea of office that hybridizes with the domestic space: an informal place where people use to meet and share their ideas.


Its longitudinal flow refers to the standard image of the factory, too; with bright and warm color inside and a reflecting metal-like surface that captures the light. The exterior, instead, has a white perforated cladding, a mutable surface thanks to the effect of the filtering inner light and colour.


This dialectic between material perception and evanescence of shapes is a key to interpreting the project and we can find it also in the contrast between concrete walls and wide glass surfaces, minimal white furniture and strong wooden window frames.
Photo by Barbara Corsico


Working in a cloud: Lavazza HQ by Cino Zucchi.

Nuvola, the HQ Lavazza designed by Cino Zucchi, is a project that aims to regenerate an abandoned multifunctional area, opening it towards the city of Turin, while creating and transmitting the brand identity of the company. Conceived to facilitate smart and activity-based ways of working, the environment of the “Cloud” highlights some contemporary office trends as connectivity, interaction and the rediscovery of the importance of conviviality.

Nuvola, the Lavazza HQ by the arch. Cino Zucchi is based on the renovation of an 18.500 sqm. industrial complex in Turin, with a particular attention to the energetical and environmental sustainability (the project is running for the LEED Gold certification) and to create a space open towards the city. The office spaces, that will host about 600 employees, is conceived as the centre of the “Nuvola System”, that will include a public parking, a green square and an archaeological area dedicated to an early Christians basilica, discovered during the excavations.


In addition, by 2018 the Lavazza Museum, De la centrale, will be inaugurated: an event space with a 1000 people capacity, including also the gourmet restaurant Condividere by Lavazza, designed along with Ferran Adrià and Dante Ferretti.
Also the relocation from the old offices has followed a sustainable process, recycling part of the furniture and donating over 3.000 pieces to schools, hospitals, and charities.
“The Hq represents how we conceive a contemporary company. It is not just about moving desks, it is moving forward towards a more integrated, stimulating and human-centred dimension. A comfortable and, at the same time, technologically advanced headquarters to connect the 90 countries where we operate”,  Giuseppe Lavazza, Vice Presidente Lavazza, says.

“We have based the space planning on the concept of an activity-based office, stressing the role of technology and environments in creating connectivity”Michele Aruanno by GTP comments.

“This advanced open space is not composed of separated environments and repeated lines of desks, but it is designed with adjustable and, at the same time, functionally defined environment, all furnished with acoustic partitions and recharge areas for devices, along with space for quick and informal meetings, as well as separated meeting rooms that allow to easily connect with the outside”.


The value of “conviviality” and the importance of the ”coffee break” are two of the main feature of the project, literally translating the company’s activity into the ways of working: interaction and socialization are also expressed in different environments as the gym, the relax area and Bistrot, an innovative restaurant, designed by Cino Zucchi Architetti with RGA, in collaboration with Slow Food.


Also, the new furniture is chosen to improve a smart working approach, encouraging wellbeing, comfort and sharing. Estel, as a contractor, has supplied tailor-made solutions, while also Arper, Sedus, Vitra, Artemide furniture has been used. Tecno has designed the mobile partitions, Underline the graphic communication, while the IoT and technological solution have been furnished by Samsung, Cisco and Acuson.
Text by Gabriele Masi.



UnipolSai’s HQ in Milan: a building for a sustainable city.

Technical and engineering innovation are the concepts that lead  Progetto CMR to turn the building in Via De Castilia in Milan into a vivid example of green architecture: innovative materials were used like the titanium dioxide capable to “melt” the polluting agents in the air, creating, with the green areas of the project, a healthier city spot. The future operative HQ of the Italian insurance group UnipolSai was presented at the Italian Pavilion at Mipim in Cannes.

“A sustainable approach is essential for the future of our cities” . With this words  Massimo Roj, Architect and CEO of Progetto CMR, presented the requalification of the two buildings, 53m and 15m high, placed to form a 45°angle, of the new UnipolSai’s HQ in Milan.
The aim of the Milan integrated design firm was not only to change completely the appearance of the building, but also and foremost to improve its functionality, its energy performance and overall management efficiency. 


An idea clearly visible from the outside where dynamic façade, created by the interplay between the “void” spaces of the glass and the “solid” vertical connections, combines both aesthetical and functional aspects: while giving a new architectural identity to the complex, the new façade contributes to energy production, thanks to an innovative high-performance silicon film placed on the top glass layer. On the south façade a sequence of rhombus made of tempered glass panels, each with different inclination, and framed by extra light aluminum elements, reflects sunlight in a constantly different way during the day.


While the advanced building plant uses renewable energy resources as sun, air, wind and water, reducing the environmental impact of the complex and improving the livability of the context, the most interesting feature is the titanium dioxide that covers the the external surfaces of the building, a material capable, through a photocatalytic process,of melting the polluting agents in the air. According to a research by the University of Milan,  together with the green areas in the project, this will contribute to halve local pollution.
Text by Gabriele Masi.




The recipe of quality in the office: Cameo’s Campus.

“Quality is the best recipe”:  Cameo’s Campus, by Ackermann+Raff , is inspired by company’s payoff. The project is based on energetic sustainability (LEED certification) and a people-centered organization of the space, focused on the wellbeing and on a continuous interaction.

The working environment of Cameo’s Campus in Desenzano del Garda (Brescia, Italy) reflects the company’s view and products throughout all the space. The 200 fixed workstations, 30 team working environments, the project areas and the 10 phone boots, are organized over three floors inspired by the most famous products of the company: the “Pizza walls” at first floor contains the business, marketing and management’s offices; the second floor, with sales services and logistics points, recalls Cameo’s cake; while the third floor – Dessert – hosts the HR service and the general management.

The core of the project is represented by the ground floor, open to visitors, where all the common areas are placed, with the restaurant, cafeteria, auditorium, and three meeting rooms also dedicated to three other main products of the company.
The sustainable and people-centered campus is designed with the “essential features to ensure our future growth” as Alberto de Stasio and Peter Irle, Cameo’s general managers, say.
The sustainable architecture, based on photovoltaic and geothermal energy and an efficient lighting and air-conditioning system controlled by a Building Management System, was rewarded with the LEED Certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).

The people-centered concept is based on the green areas, such as the garden at the first floor, the informal social hubs, the meeting point to relax, as well as the wellness balls used as comfortable seats in order to improve the posture during the working hours.
The replacement of landlines with Voice Over IP, an internal integrated communication system, and a free WiFi all over the campus also contribute to an overall mobility and interaction.
Text by Gabriele Masi.


The office way to wellbeing: PwC Switzerland by Evolution Design.

The PwC Switzerland offices in Basel by Evolution Design offer a new horizon for the working environment design, taking the concept of work-life balance further: can a workplace teach how to stay healthy through the space?Working healthy is about far more then ergonomics” explains Stefan Camenzind, executive director. Creating health and energy is about keeping yourself active without forgetting rest and relaxation, building a positive attitude and eating healthy.

Concentrating on the connection between wellbeing and productivity is on of the most interesting trends of the working environment design. The PwC offices in Basel follows the Evolution Design’s recipe, a subtle blend of creativity, planning and humanity, providing variety and choice of workspaces, with a particular attention to the role of informal environments and networks, focusing on individual needs such as relaxation, nutrition and empowerment.

“Since they already offer pilates and yoga classes, we focused on how the workplace design can support more movement. Keeping active is crucial for energy and health”, Camenzind says. The project has three main kinds of environment: a desk area where everyone can work on his own projects, feeling still part of a team environment,  called “The Focus Space”; a “Quiet Zone”, with private spaces where it’s possible to concentrate without interruption or noise; and a “Team Space” with large shared desks, whiteboards and walls on which it’s possible to pin project work, ideal for group projects and tasks. The different furniture of each spaces, from sofas to cafe tables and stools allows everyone to find his own favorite setting. All the workers are also free to choose and use the room they need and like, following the feelings and mood.

But energy it is not just about movement, sometimes it requires rest. A peculiar feature of the PwC offices is the “Relaxation Room”, with natural motifs, with low-level lighting and music, massage chairs and the MetroNap Energy Pod, especially designed for taking power naps.  “I know it sounds strange to take a nap at work, but in the future people who don’t take time out to relax will be seen as irresponsible”, Stefan Camenzind comments.
Another peculiarity is the attention given to the food as a symbol of a correct lifestyle: a series of graphics are drawn throughout the office space to remind and motivate people to eat well, while healthy snacks, fruit and water are also on offer.

An healthy lunch is also served at the 7th floor rooftop restaurant, while different coffee areas and social hub are spread throughout the space, encouraging informal meetings where ideas can be shared and improve the creativity.
The Evolution Desing’s creative director Tanya Ruegg concludes: “Empowering people. The design here is all about making it easy and enjoyable for workers, in oder to do a task in the best way possible. It’s functional, but also emotional.”
Text by Gabriele Masi.
Pictures by Peter Wurmli.

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COAF Smart Center by Paul Kaloustian.

The COAF Smart Center in Armenia is “more than a building”. As its designer Paul Kaloustian says, the project was based on a new approach regarding the relationship between architecture and nature, a ribbon shape walkway that, embracing the landscape, makes it the heart of the construction. The space becomes the image of its function: a school where experiences and competences made inside can be positively transferred outside, in the local contest.

The Smart Center in Lori, north of Armenia, is an example of how some projects are designed to be more than a building. The building is thought to support and represented the work of COAF in the area, delivering superior and regionally-relevant educational, sustaining community programs and encouraging progressive ideology, in respect with the rural society and environment in which it operates.
This idea led Paul Kaloustian to create a walkway that, as a sinuous ribbon, envelop a portion of the landscape, creating a fertile 7.000 sqm courtyard. The one-level walkway will host interconnected virtual classrooms, computer labs, youth clubs and meeting areas, a library, a restaurant, and studios for languages, arts and music, all made with ecofriendly materials and supported with green and sustainable energy.

The Smart center will have also guest quarters where visiting collaborators and program participants can be accommodated and space for feature outdoor activities, indoor workshops and greenhouses where children and adult will learn relevant skills for the region’s development.
After the Moukbel Award and the Order of Architects Award, Kaloustian was at the 13th Venice Biennale with his “House in a Forest” and at the exposition “Atlas of the Unbuilt World” at the Monde Arabe in Paris. The COAF Smart center represents Kaloustian’s first major project.
Text by Gabriele Masi.
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The Copernico’s hub in Turin: a fertile ecosystem.

The historical L’Oreal headquarter in Turin is being turning into a new efficient coworking space designed as a fertile ecosystem, a dynamic system where sharing spaces and resources means shearing also experiences and ideas. The 12.000 sqm Copernico’s hub will be inaugurated this spring 2017, following the success of the Copernico Milano Centale project.

“We want to build an environment that creates the need of sharing experiences through a dynamic system, where ideas can be concretely realized”.
Pietro Martani, managing director of Copernico, introduces with these words the project of the last company’s coworking environment. Turin, best city in Europe for innovation, after Amsterdam, will host the ninth Copernico’s hub, a wide environment capable of satisfying all the need of the new ways of working with private and sharing working stations. A space to encouraging productivity, a good life-work balance, mobility and flexibility. A “fertile ecosystem” designed with a clear idea: a space, multifunctional and flexible, with a strong connection with city, that aim to be a model for a cultural transformation. This idea is gonna be represented on the ground floor from a café, designed to be a centre of connection, “a social floor” to encourage networking and the informal sharing of ideas.
Text by Gabriele Masi.
Pictures by Gabriele Zanon.

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Olof Palme Convention Centre in Managua.

The impressive upgrading project of the multi-purpose centre Olof Palme is signed by the Italian architect Bruno Belluomini and has involved some major Italian companies, such as Ares Line, manufacturer of hotel, offices and training halls supplies, that also furnished 1200 armchairs for the glamorous Plenary Chamber.

The Convention Centre was carried out at the end of the ‘80s with a financial contribution from Sweden and devoted to the past First Minister Olof Palme, killed in 1986. Nowadays it is even the most important Congress Center in Nicaragua.
After being neglected, largely due to the big heartquake in 1972, it was in a dilapidated state.
In 2011 architect Belluomini was entrusted by Nicaragùense de Securitad Social Institute, owner of the whole area, with the renovation of the existing building and the carrying out of new ones: a 3 stars hotel with fitness centre and swimming pool, a multipurpose hall and commercial spaces to liven up the area outside the convention facilities, too.

The project, that lasted five years, was recently ended; it did not just restore the centre to its original magnificence but also added new features and re-established a link between this area and the urban pattern.
The six buildings are conceived as six independent organisms – in architecture and management, too- different in age, dimensions and shapes but linked by a modular constructive system and by the simple and rationalist style.
As far as the Plenary Chamber named “Plenario” is concerned, the only change was the reconstruction of the arch portal for the static consolidation.
Inside, the elegant Sweden interior design of the plenary chamber remained unchanged, except for the new false ceilings with integrated lamps and the new wooden floor.
Thanks to the new distribution now there are 1200 seats -instead 800.
Papillon armchairs by Ares Line were chosen, with red leather upholstery and supplied with drop-leaf tablet and multifunctional console, to guarantee optimum use, easy to fold away on special caddies, store and compact, to allow a flexible use of the multi-purpose room.
At the wall, a copy of Guernica by Pablo Picasso, with its destroyed town, pays homage to the memory of these places.



Healthcare focused on light and colors.

Particular attention is made to the child’s world who, although being in a pained condition of ‘little patient’, must continue living in his dimension. This is the basic concept behind the architectural project by Schiattarella Associati for Pediatric Ward in Rome: thought to make the child feel protected in a new, but at the same time, familiar environment just as if he was “at home”.

The Rome-based firm Schiattarella Associati’s project for the restoration of the Nephrology and Gastro-Enterology Ward inside the Pediatric Pavilion of the Umberto I General Hospital in Rome was commissioned by both the No Profit organization Onlus Nuova Armonia and by 30 Ore per la Vita.
The restoration of this ward has been realized thanks to funds coming from donors and with the same spirit the designing team has given its technical contribution: this is Schiattarella Associati ‘s ethical vision of the Practice.
The key features of the refurbished ward are the rationalised spaces, humanized rooms, creation of a recreation room and a computer room useable by teachers of nursery, primary and secondary schools working inside the Hospital; advanced technology to continuously monitor young patients, digital medical record and video surveillance for severe patients in addition to a high tech area for intensive care to transplanted children and to children in immunosuppressive care. All rooms are thought for the child and his family, improving admission quality.

One of the most high quality elements in this project is the research for natural lighting: we wanted to build a peaceful common space, ensuring each room lot of light coming from the wide full-height windows.
Excellent levels of privacy and comfort are assured thanks to particular architectural and technical tricks such as sun shields, curtains, coloured strips with drawings applied to windows together with an up-to-date air conditioning system.
Spaces dedicated to recreation activities as well as the waiting room, the visitors meeting room and the medical examination and treatment areas are located at the beginning of the ward far from the relax and care areas but next to, and immediately available, medical staff . The ten recovery rooms, all equipped with their own bathroom, electrical and mechanical systems, air conditioning, medical gas systems, audio-video system, data network and specific healthcare furniture in order to create a comfortable and warm space where the child can peacefully sleep.
Each single room is characterised by a color and a fairy tale, told with drawings and words on the windows so that family and child are not disoriented; color is everywhere: on the walls, on the floors and on the furniture all meant to be functional to what they were designed for.
All rooms overlook on a modern contact point made of crystal full-height walls that, thanks to the use of an innovative artificial lighting system made of LED bars with RGB system remote and manual color change, create an amazing environment in which the child can “dive” as if he was in a colored bathtub. Colors can be chosen according to chromotherapy criteria which can be of support to counseling therapy.

Client: Nuova Armonia Onlus
Project: Schiattarella Associati
Project directors: Arch Irene Rinaldi, Arch Emidio Di Nicola
Lighting Design: Arch Carla Maresca
Structure: Riccardo Fibbi, Mauro Scalambretti


Ways of Designing and new simplicity: Alain Gilles

Although he studied political science and marketing, design was always something special for Alain Gilles. That’s why in 2007, he decided to quit his job in financing, change his life and open a design studio in Brussels. Since then he has been working for important companies and has received important international awards. We have met him at the BuzziSpace stand, at Orgatec 2016, where we have drink with him to BuzziFloat, his first project of a chair.

Is your design approach the same everywhere and with all kinds of companies or does the approach change to the different situations?
No, of course the approached will depend on the type of project and company it designed for. Then again, there are always common traits to what we do and how we approach a project: logics, visions, materials combinations, general shapes, etc… which only makes sense it is coming out of the same mind and Studio.
The biggest difference probably lies in the fact that a project is self-initiated and not designed at first for a specific company/editor but rather proposed to a company; or if it is done for a specific company and answers some of their general requests.

You operates on quite different markets and fields. Do your analyses show new users life styles and requirements?
Yes, indeed, we do design for some very different markets but always in the mid to high level part of the market since I am only interested in qualitative products. Having studied Political sciences and Marketing Management before industrial design I generally have a pretty good feel for the changes our societies are going through and general evolution in lifestyles.  Having lived “different” lives also helps.
Of course before starting a project we always check quickly what is already existing in order to make sure we don’t repeat what has been done, and to get a feel of where what we will be designing will be positioned in the market.
For some projects like the solar lamp design we had to a careful and long study of how people live in off-the grid countries is it is more remote to my daily life.  It was the same when we designed the first collection of a new French kitchen tools brand since we generally didn’t know much about that large and crowded marked and need to understand what was technically possible in order to define a DNA for the new brand.

Are there any conceptual “contaminations” and common elements among the many design areas you deals with?
Without repeating ourselves from one project we always try to make sure that there is a red thread between the different design that we do even if the sectors are different one from the other. In general, I work on what I have come to call “Simplexity” with projects that may appear simple at first hand but that generally have different levels of understanding, and also what I call “New simplicity” for projects that are clearly readable and use a minimum amount of material and transformation processes in their production.  We will generally work on the architecture of the product and/or on the graphic aspect and material combinations of the product.
So, yes indeed, there are definitely some “contaminations” between our different projects. The fact that we design for different fields also generates this cross-pollination effect between projects.

How has the workspace vision changed in the past few years and have these changes an impact on the new interior design and furniture products?
Before studying industrial design I work for five years in a large American company active in international finances.  As far as people management and organization they were definitely ahead of their times. During those fives year I had the chance to live firsthand the transformation of the company to a paperless company.  They also re-did all their interiors in their 15 story-building and 1.500 strong staff and went for a hot-desking policy with fully opened space.  As a future-designer those experience were very enlightening to me since I experience them first hand and felt what other were feeling.
In the last few years the workspace has become a lot more homey and a lot more human and I believe that through our collaboration with Buzzi Space we had the chance to have an influence on the evolving visions of the work environment and the increased attention to the wellbeing of the people. The office where we spend most of our days has become more and more a “full experience” place  ( not to say a place of full of experience ) where people increasingly interact and share with other.  In most cases the experience in the office is far richer and more modern than what most people live at home. One could almost say that some offices are a bit conceived like “boutique hotels” where one goes for a few days in order to live an experience different from their daily routines. People and the interaction between people have now become the fuel that drives successful companies and their interior design just tend to reflect that importance and the fact that people matter.

What scenarios and evolutions do you expect for the office and the ways of working in the near future?
I believe that we will work less and less in the office and only come a few times or a few days during the week to re-connect with colleagues to share information and enjoy the social sides of work.  People will be working partly from home, or co-working spaces at walking distances from their homes. They will thus spend less time commuting and when they will be commuting they will be try to escape the rush hours.
When in the office, people will have the possibility to work from different types of spaces that best suits their need for concentration or collaboration. To work lying on a couch, sitting or stand behind a desk, or working in collaborations with other in informal spaces with enough sound proofing elements to respect the intimacy and concentration of other.
Green spaces and terrace-like spaces will become the norm to escape the dull grey routine of what used to be called the work day, but which is above all the most important time in the life of people.
Text by Gabriele Masi.
In evidence, A portrait of Alain Gilles, copywrite Thomas De Boever.
2. New Perspective Mirror, Bonaldo, Alain Gilles.
3, 4. Big Table, Bonaldo, Alain Gilles.
5. Wicked Armchair & Basket Table, Vincent Sheppard, Alain Gilles, copywrite STOR.
6. BuzziPicnic table, versione split level, BuzziSpace, Alain Gilles.
7. BuzziPicnic Workbench, BuzziSpace, Alain Gilles.
8, 9. BuzziFLoat chair, BuzziSpace, Alain Gilles.



Ways of Designing and hybridization: Giulio Iacchetti.

What does designing in an hybrid way mean? We have talked about it with the designer Giulio Iacchetti at the round table WOW! Office Design Ibrido. Two times Compasso d’Oro Award winner, with Moscardino and Sfera, designed along with Matteo Ragni, Iacchetti focus his work on the research and definition of new object typologies, in an approach that we can define hybrid.

From the half spoon and half fork Moscardino, Compasso d’Oro 2001, to the last Paper Tablet for Moleskine, hybridization has been always a feature of Giulio Iacchetti’s design.An way of approaching the project that we have discussed with him during the round table “Office Design Ibrido”, official event of the Design City Milano 2016, organized by WOW! and Dieffebi.

What does hybridization mean?
It’s a real contemporary word. I like to use the image of a mule, the best example of hybridization. It is not a negative example. For me the mule shows what a man can do when he looks for a compromise. Even if it doesn’t have the majesty of an horse or some features of the donkey, it has other and useful peculiarities, as his great resistance and his stubbornness to face the obstacles.

Which place does the hybridization have in the contemporary design?
I think hybridization is “the grey area” in the middle of the extreme trends of design, a specific place between the a generic solution and an hyper-specialized one, between originality and anonymity. It is the most interesting trend of contemporary design.

What does “grey area” mean?
Again, it is not a negative example, as people sometimes tend to see. Grey is a color that you can obtain mixing all the primary colors. It is really interesting, because nowadays we are all moving in hybrid, not defined, not fixed situations: it is a kind of contemporary instinct.

In which way do designers approach to an hybrid project?
Every designers try to create something new, therefore it tries to hybridize existing forms. The correct approach is to understand the value of different and apparently distant things and put this value into the design process. Projects are like bridges between different worlds, they are the link that create a new situation in the in-between area.

What was the experience of designing Moscardino in 1999, referring to the hybrid design?
We had to design an object that would allow people to easily consume food at happy hours, that were really successful in those years. We tried to hybrid the fork and the spoon in order to design an agile, versatile and small object allowing people to eat while standing. Moscardino was the result me and Matteo Ragni came up with. For sure hybrid has some limits: as someone said, “if you use it first as a spoon, then you’ll get your fingers dirty…”

What about the new project for Moleskine?
Moleskine is basically a paper object in a world where digital prevails. Designing this object I tried to identify myself in the hybrid dimension where we are all leaving nowadays, searching for a match between a smartphone and a paper agenda. That’s why we came up with Paper Tablet, a Moleskine with curved edges, with a shape that recalls a digital object. By this design I wanted to convey the potential of this notebook, that can be connected to a smartphone where you can download all the sketches and notes you have taken by hand through an app. It is a design based on the ambiguity of our age.

What is the meaning of an “hybrid world”?
Our job has become hybrid, our roles not defined, as well as the spaces we are living in and the objects we are using. All our life is oriented to flexibility, a dimension were we feel good, without any need of fixed boundaries. I guess the motto for the hybrid design can can be “less specialization, more freedom and usability”.
Text by Gabriele Masi.
1. Rolo, Giulio Iacchetti, Internoitaliano. 2013
2. Surf-o-Morph, Giulio Iacchetti, project assistant Mario Scairato, Surfer’s Den. 2014
3. Siptel, Giulio Iacchetti, project assistant Alessandro Stabile Fontana Arte. 2015
4. Bard, Giulio Iacchetti, Internoitaliano. 2014. Photo Credits: Fabrizia Parisi
5. Paper Tablet, Giulio Iacchetti, Project Assistant Alessandro Stabile, Moleskine. 2016
6. Newcastle, Giulio Iacchetti, project assistant Alessandro Stabile, Meritalia. 2013
7. Ora In / Ora out, Giulio Iacchetti, project assistant Alessandro Stabile e Mario Scairato, Alessi. 2015 Photo Credits: Alessandro Milani e Matteo Imbriani.
8. Moscardino, Giulio Iacchetti e Matteo Ragni, Pandora Design. 2000




Thonet Pop-Up Cafe: new temporary showroom concept.

The Thonet Pop-Up Café has been recently opened in the center of Vienna; for one year, it will be the must-see for Design lovers and Vienna Culture lovers. It is the perfect place to celebrate the coffee house culture and, thanks to the wi-fi, to accommodate smart workers who like a comfortable workplace in a unique atmosphere… like the Central European writers did, a century ago, with pen and notebook.

The Thonet Pop-up Café brings new life to the Alte Post – a building complex comprising almost 35,000 m2 in the heart of Vienna, that after the summer of next year, will be converted into a special real estate project with high-end flats, hotel, green atriums, galleries and businesses.
This innovative temporary showroom-cafè concept (250 sqm) offers the opportunity to enjoy the refined Jonas Reindl selected coffee creations from all continents, in a location that reflects the history of the well renowned Austrian brand; an unusual tribute to Viennese coffee house culture and a perfect set to show some of the masterpieces of furnishing design, living, lounge and office furniture: chairs, sofas and armchairs as well as tables, bar furniture and desks. From the bentwood classics including the famous Vienna Coffee House Chair 214 designed by Michael Thonet, the popular wing chair 808, the lounge classic S 35 by Marcel Breuer from the Bauhaus era, to the modern pieces of furniture by James Irvine.

An inspiring and out of time locations that does not neglect the new lifestyles; thanks to the wi-fi connection, smart working and job meeting are also possible.
The showroom-café project was conceived and realised in cooperation with Jonas Reindl Coffee and Standart Mag, the quarterly magazine for beauty and the specialty of coffee.
Thonet is supported with the furnishings by the following partners: USM, Porzellanmanufaktur Augarten, Vorwerk Flooring, Carpet Sign and Cooper Colours.


The best of Biennale Architettura: the WOW!’s selection.

The Jury of 15th International Biennale Architettura assigned the Gold Lions to the best pavilions and projects. WOW! shares the jury’s choices to some extent and offers its own selection of a few extremely interesting pavilions among the National Pavilions visited at Arsenale and Giardini.

Many articles were published about the Lions assigned by the Jury composed by: Hashim Sarkis (President, Libano, USA), Pippo Ciorra (Italia), Sergio Fajardo (Colombia), Marisa Moreira Salles (Brasil), Karen Stein (USA).

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We posted an article about the very interesting Italian Pavilion and -before knowing they are winners- we talked about “Unfinished” (Spain Pavilion) awarded Golden Lion for the “concisely curated selection of emerging architects whose work shows how creativity and commitment can transcend material constraints”.

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We also appreciate the floating school “Waterfront” by Kunlé Adeyemi, transported from Makoto to the Gaggiandre at Arsenale. It was awarded Silver Lion for”a powerful demonstration – be it in Lagos or in Venice, that architecture, at once iconic and pragmatic – can amplify the importance of education.”
We also share the Jury’s choice of the Special Mention to Japan Pavilion for “the poetry of compactness to alternative forms of collective living in a dense urban space.”

En:art of nexus (Japan)
The main concept of the Japanese Pavilion is En a word of the ancient buddhism, however very used nowadays, it means the space between people and the space able to link people and things, in-between area, nexus, boundary.
In contemporary Japan, where unemployment, particularly among the young, has become chronic, and inequality and poverty grow worse every day, the high-growth economy of the postwar era is now a historical event that belongs to the distant past. Though there are several world-renowned works of architecture that emerged in tandem with economic growth in modern Japan.
The architectures exhibited in the Japanese pavilion are focused on En concept in its different meanings. Architects are interested in situations that incorporate spaces where people can encounter each other in buildings in which numerous people live.
For example Yokohama Apartments designed by Koichi Torimura -a complex of rental apartments designed for young people to live, create and exhibit their work in a vivid manner- and LT Josai by Masao Nishikawa -a prototype of house that creates an irregular 3D space that expresses the potential for an architecture based on lifestyles and conditions, in which individuals are linked through increasingly fluid movements.
Another meaning for Boundary Window by Masuda+Otsubo, a renovation project where the wall facade is entirely covered with an expanded window with two functions both dividing and connecting the individual interiors and the outside areas.
(Foto Francesco Galli, courtesy La Biennale di Venezia)

Dou Pavilion (Cina)
Dou is focused on the concept of Play.
It is originated from a prefab building product – Checkered Playroom” for pre-scolar education program for remote northwestern China.
It is developed by Unitinno and Chinese University of Hong Kong team led by prof Zhu. Playing underlies this shelter to test and interact with, 70 m2 composed of concave and convex squares, causing surprise in kids and adult people, too.

Blue: Architecture of UN Peacekeeping Mission (The Nederlands)
Dutch Pavilion is centered on the Case Study of Camp Castor in a desert region in Mali where the UN is carrying out a peacekeeping mission the metaphor for the conflict and the element that combines architecture and human rights: the UN Blue Helmets and the Toeareg, known as “blue men”.
Blue presents a new series of narratives for architecture in conflict areas, central to which is the potential to improve the lives of people. The project is based on conversations with military engineers and architects, anthropologists and economists, activists and policy makers. It links cultural and architectural research, provides the prerequisites for a new spatial conditions and aims to make visible the spatial challenges and opportunities of this complex situation. UN camps are no longer strongholds with a barbed wire fence and change into catalysts for local development. 

Heroic. free shipping (Serbia)
Blu is a ship, too, taking up the whole Serbia pavilion at Giardini with a refined architectural design; an empty, dream-like and meditative space only filled with the tapping on keypads and the click of mouses. Metaphor of a heroic space that can host many connected people. Energy isn’t just what is needed to charge our devices, but what is produced when people meet.

LifeObject : Merging Biology & Architecture (Israele)
A completely different approach for the studio of the Israel team T -Bnaya Bauer, Arielle Blonder, Noy Lazarovich, scientist Dr. Ido Bachelet and curator Dr. Yael Eylat Van-Essen-
focused on the relationship between architecture and biology.
At the center of the exhibition is the LifeObject, a free standing structure inspired by a 3D scan of a bird’s nest. It integrates artificial and natural elements into an organic system and combines composite, smart and biological materials to form a “living structure” that responds to its environment.

The conceptual foundation of the exhibition centers upon resilience, an essential element of biological systems that refers to their ability to cope with shock or trauma. This concept bears increased significance upon Israel and its geo-political context, where states of crisis continually rise up, greatly influencing quality of life and spatial design.

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Offices for the community.

“From the company’s identity to the community, from the brand concept to the people”. Buongiorno offices in Milan by cristianavannini | arc were designed with the “start-up mentality”, multifunctional, fluid and avoiding fixed framework.

Place, ways and time of working are evolving rapidly, especially the office which is the centre of a new relationship between people and space. Hierarchies are falling apart, the environment is becoming hybrid, articulate, democratic, and the work itself comes out from the defined area of the office and features typical of the home environment enter the workspace”.
The Buongiorno office in Milan follows the words of its architect, Cristiana Vannini: located in the city Centre, close to “Parco delle Basiliche”, the early 1900s historical building that hosts the company has been completely renovated to give a new contemporary and dynamic twist to the interiors.

Common spaces build ties with working areas, from the ground floor, where the reception and a multifunctional area are located, to the higher floors where a meeting rooms and private offices alternated with common spaces like coffee-points and telephone booth areas.
Minimal colors palette, distinguishing textures and wall lettering are the basics of these elegant and cozy offices, approaching and defining Buongiorno’s corporate image, along with the customised furniture.
“Another current trend is the requalification of the already existing estate”, Vannini says. ”Today design has to adapt to the old buildings for a new request of functionality, through new systems and technologically advance materials”. This idea was applied to the 1500 sqm space Buongiorno offices, communicating an idea of modernity and innovation, but keeping at the same time the simplicity and some taste of the historical building.
Text by Gabriele Masi.
Photos by Saverio Lombardi Vallauri and Luca Rotondo 

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