Prada Productive Headquarter
Valvigna is the most complex of all the “green factories” realized by our Firm. It is mainly designed for workers, for their mental well- being and also for the surrounding landscape, in order to erase the wound inflicted by earlier built industrial complex and avoid further violences imposed by the high density of our brand new facility.
Secluded and unexpected, the interstices between the dining-hall and the main block are reminiscent of the mediaeval alleys in the Tuscan hamlets nearby© Gabriele Croppi
At the north end, the vine-planted bastion is hollow, becoming a long 90-metre portico that dematerialises in reflection pool conceived as a symbolic property line.© Alessandro Ciampi
Elevated walkways connect the parking-lot garden facing the hill with the work areas, and allows for rapid access to the emergency exits© Gabriele Croppi
The fully glazed triple-height foyer of the office wing is immersed in the western garden. On the horizon lie the stepped vineyard and the riparian trees growing on the far side of the River Arno.© Luca Roti
Vitis vinifera and evergreen climbers swathe the metal skeleton of the pergolas. The large pergola protecting the dining hall is seen in the left-hand background© Gabriele Croppi
The new Prada industrial headquarters clings to the hill like a technological spider, its long legs full of ducts and pipes stretching toward the valley, making the building not compact and closed, but a node of walkways leading into the landscape
Concept of the boxed-beams in the same time structure, technical space and support to the footbridge to the walkways to the parking area on the hill
Valvigna industrial hub is placed inside the narrow Arno valley, between Florence and Arezzo, subtle plain on a hilly background and contaminated since the first industrial expanding during the 1960s. Prada has intended the “green factory” as the place for leather goods, still in the balance between industry and crafts. Almost like a farmhouse, Valvigna is designed for workers which are still linked to their home legacies, resident in a not completely urbanised territory. For this reason, the presence of gardens and greenery is persisting, with fruit trees and bushes which are tipical of italian countryside: vines, Rosemary shrubs, pomegranate fig trees. Same attention has been given to materials: cement, bricks, steel, glass windows opened on the Tuscany countryside and especially the stretch of water, which represents valuable resource of renewable Energy.
The complex’s architecture refuses all gratuitous gestures and feats of exhibitionism, remaining instead faithful to a critical rigour of rationalist origins.
The operation proves particularly virtuous in terms of environment and sustainability, as it consumes no new portion of agricultural land, but occupies a plot already allocated to industrial usage. And on this, a major process of renaturation has been generated by turning the long side along the motorway into a garden, and by consolidating and remodelling the landscape on the opposite side, while reflection pools are used as Energy riserves. Also noteworthy is Prada’s patient acquisition of adjacent land in order to ensure that the built complex full of greenery can continue to enjoy a wide-open setting of woods. The horizontal planes of the facility are always anticipated to our gaze by a green foreground, which becomes the actual view. Pergolas follow the curves of terraces while vines and Rosemary shrubs hide the higher vectorial trajectories and systems. From every corner of the offices, sweeping views of the gardens greet the eye through full – length grazing and a screen of greenery.
The design of the complex sought to mitigate its volumetric consistency by means of recurrent inserts of hanging greenery and spacious planted surfaces. All along the front of the site, the narrow reinforced-concrete building for the technical units materialises as a tiered base. Stretching along it are luxuriant banks of grape vines, referring to the site’s ancient name, Valvigna (“vineyard valley”). Standing further back is a heavy prefabricated parallelepiped and, above this, on the first floor, lightweight metal pavilions are rotated by 45 degrees to make the windows of the sawtooth roof face perfectly north. These spacious pavilions are defined around their edges by boxed beams providing convenient ducts for the lines of systems that run all throughout the building, while the triangles left open by the horizontal rotation of the geometry between the ground floor and the first floor are precious protected gardens for work breaks, and a green backdrop to the long, low fenestration in the walls beneath the saw-tooth roof. The diffused lighting, together with the outdoors as seen through the ribbon glazing, helps to avoid feelings of alienation and claustrophobia.