The Rinascente division retailer stands on the advanced, if not complicated, Piazza Fiume, simply outdoors of Rome’s towering, historical Aurelian Partitions. It was designed by architect duo Franco Albini and Franca Helg between 1957-61 and has lengthy been one of many metropolis’s modernist marvels. So the duty of updating the constructing for at present’s exacting retail necessities whereas retaining the primary six flooring of store house open was ‘pretty advanced on a sensible degree’, says Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli, likening the works to a leopard’s spots. He’s founding father of 2050+, the Milan-based interdisciplinary design company that has overseen the revamp and redesign of Rinascente’s distinctive façades in addition to the rooftop degree and the brand new carry to service it.
Redesigning La Rinascente Piaza Fiume
‘It is a restoration undertaking,’ explains Pestellini Laparelli, ‘however restoration of the trendy,’ emphasising a few of components that straddle the road between reinstating what was in Albini and Helg’s unique design, and going additional by decoding their architectural intent and introducing unashamedly new options.
Transparency is a key theme by which 2050+ has gone again to the unique drawings, says the architect, who beforehand was a associate at OMA in Rotterdam. Giant store home windows on the bottom flooring recall the unique parallelepiped (generally known as rhomboid) formed glass, permitting sight strains straight in (and out) as a technique to have fun the frenetic consumerism happening. Equally, Albini and Helg’s glass wall façade exposing the criss-crossing escalators inside has been introduced again. ‘It was a second when modernism celebrated the flows and the fluxes of individuals and of issues,’ says Pestellini Laparelli, ‘a kind of celebration of the start of globalisation.’
However he’s emphatic that this isn’t a nostalgic restoration undertaking. Certainly, there’s way more at play right here than reviving the transparency that fixed adaptation had obscured over the many years. ‘Being fashionable is about embodying and remodeling, somewhat than simulating an perspective,’ reads the studio’s communication of the undertaking, explaining an strategy that makes use of ‘focused interventions’ to strike a stability between restoration and transformation.
‘Modernist maestros reminiscent of Albini and Helg had a really dynamic relationship with the previous,’ continues Pestellini Laparelli, pointing to midcentury contemporaries of the Rinascente designers, studios reminiscent of these of Gio Ponti and BBPR. And so 2050+ has put in a brand new carry to the aspect of the constructing that connects the road degree instantly with a brand new panoramic top-floor meals court docket and restaurant. The geometry of the shaft construction, says its designer, mimics Albini and Helg’s never-realised automobile carry to rooftop parking, creating what would have been a constructing that was ‘a machine for procuring’ (see 1957 mannequin).
Reyner Banham, in his 1969 e book The Structure of the Effectively-Tempered Atmosphere, describes the Piazza Fiume constructing as ‘a technological structure for a historic context’. This quintessentially fashionable typology lends itself to innovation however the harmonious juxtaposition with the encompassing historical metropolis doesn’t fail to impress to this present day. Certainly, maybe it’s the avant-garde nature of Albini and Helg’s design legacy (a younger Renzo Piano was Albini’s intern on the time) that had the largest impression on the present undertaking.
‘Paradoxically our undertaking is uncomplicated in design,’ concludes Pestellini Laparelli, ‘primarily because of the sophistication of the unique structure.’ Dynamic and with out nostalgia, advanced whereas providing easy flexibility, the 2050+ Rinascente revamp, like Albini and Helg’s unique undertaking, feels convincingly up to date.
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