Former industrial building in Milan wrapped in concrete barcode by Giuseppe Tortato
In the fashionable city of Milan, former industrial sites are often taken over by the ateliers and showrooms of companies who wish to develop and sell their wares in a raw, up-and-coming area. In some areas this approach has been so popular with creative companies that property developers have branched out into the surrounding streets in search of more available land.
A fruitful site was thus found in Morimondo Street and transformed by architect Giuseppe Tortato from a redbrick building dating to the early twentieth century into a contemporary addition to this burgeoning neighbourhood. The commercial facility has been finished in glass, concrete, steel and wood, with each element processed in a number of ways to give a dynamic finish.
The municipality outlined a number of constraints for this makeover including the need to maintain the geometry and skyline of the original factory, with Tortato conceding: “With this background there was a serious risk of compromising the architectural outcome of the entire project, and then we decided to create something special.”
As a result, the central portion of the building has been encased in a concrete shell. This external shroud is toned in slightly differing hues of grey and arranged in a barcode formation, punctuated with glass cubes of varying size. Developed in collaboration with Seves, this expanse of concrete provides a refined street façade to the new development.
Meeting the restored brick building on either side are two new wings, one with a bright and airy feel, the other providing more intimate spaces. All three areas benefit from a variety of open-air courtyard spaces with accessible patios overlooked by generous windows which filter sunlight into the interior volumes.