Benigno Crespi cotton mill is a perfect example of innovative workplace and enlightened culture of work. Founded in 1878 and listed in UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites in 1995, this jewel of industrial archaeology will born again thanks to the acquisition of Percassi that will transform it into a high-tech headquarters preserving its architectural features.
After 13 years, the industrial workers’ village goes back to its original vocation as a connection place between life and work.
The worker’s village Crespi d’Adda was founded by textile manufacturer Cristoforo Benigno Crespi in 1878 around the original premises of his Cotton Mill and was then further completed by his son Silvio Benigno in the 1930s.
The village is a unique example of industrial archaeology, it represents an example of “Industrial Worker Village” among the most well preserved in the world. it sits between two rivers -Adda and Brembo- right at the border between the provinces of Milano and Bergamo.
Crespi d’Adda is an outstanding example of “company town” and because its urban and architectural structure was kept unaltered, it was listed in UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites in 1995.
Giorgio Ravasio, president of Associazione Crespi d’Adda states “ we think it’s an absolute necessity for our society, now excessively based on the ‘Siliconic’ technology, to go back to its origin and finds once again the roots it is based on.”
It represents an innovative model of factory in the textile sector – one of the first “global” company”- and utopian social organization.
The regular street pattern and the form and design of the village layout allow to easily identify the main industrial buildings, which include, other than the Mill and the houses, also social structures such as: public lavatories and wash-houses, a clinic, a consumer cooperative, a school, a small theatre, a sports center and a cemetery.
After being closed permanently in 2003, being left abandoned and vandalized for a decade, the factory was bought in 2013 by local entrepreneur Antonio Percassi with the intention of making it the headquarters of his company but also a hub for innovation and art, open to other partners, with museum and exhibition areas accessible to the public. The acquisition was authorized by the Board of the Ministry of the Architecture and Culture.
The complex, with a surface of about 90,000 square meters in an area of about 135,000 thousand square meters, 36,000 of which wooded will have a multipurpose function: beside becoming the new headquarter of Percassi, with offices and centres for research, Crespi D’Adda will be transformed in a cultural centre, seat of the new instituted “ The Antonio Percassi family Foundation”.
Antonio Percassi, President of the company, stated “I am enthusiastic about the finalization of this operation. Crespi D’Adda is a beautiful example of culture enlighten by work. It’s an honor for me to have the chance to move here the Headquarter of the Group, looking at the same time to launch this site, that deserves a new development, also trough the promotion of cultural activities”.
The architectural project by Mauro Piantelli (De8 architetti) with Tobia Scarpa will respect the site and brings back to Crespi d’Adda its role of innovative workplace.
The new Percassi offices will be based in a huge open space divided into 20 aisles with shed roof and iron cast pillars, it will host 600 people on a total surface od 12,000 sqm.
Small woods will grow inside the new workplace to improve wellbeing and orientation.
The development of this complex and expensive project will take several years, but the process is already returning to Crespi d’Adda the original pride of place founded of work-life balance philosophy.