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Carlo Ratti Associati unveils vision for renovation of Oscar Niemeyer-designed Palazzo Mondadori

Italy Architecture News - Jun 27, 2024 - 16:28   2421 views

Carlo Ratti Associati unveils vision for renovation of Oscar Niemeyer-designed Palazzo Mondadori

CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati, an international design and innovation office, has developed a renovation project for Generali Real Estate's Palazzo Mondadori in Milan, in partnership with the late Italo Rota and Maestro Technologies

One of the masterworks of Oscar Niemeyer, the structure houses the main Italian book publisher Mondadori Group's headquarters. The CRA design incorporates cutting-edge strategies for the workplace of the future while paying homage to the original. 

Carlo Ratti Associati unveils vision for renovation of Oscar Niemeyer-designed Palazzo Mondadori

More than 20,000 square meters are covered in the project's first phase, with a larger renovation program for Niemeyer's primary European landmark to come.

Carlo Ratti Associati unveils vision for renovation of Oscar Niemeyer-designed Palazzo Mondadori

The project proposes a radical way of thinking about contemporary furniture design. Working with Maestro Technology, the most recent company to emerge from the group, CRA has restored more than 1,300 of the original modular units that were originally installed in the building. 

Carefully disassembled and reassembled, this classic post-war furniture by Swiss Manufacturer USM integrates wood and creates additional reconfigurable modules. These interventions include adding plant space and skillfully integrating nature into the office setting.

Carlo Ratti Associati unveils vision for renovation of Oscar Niemeyer-designed Palazzo Mondadori

"In order to get us out of the comfort of our pajama Zoom calls, office spaces need to become more like playgrounds," says Carlo Ratti, founding partner of CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati and curator of the Venice Architecture Biennale 2025

"Forget the old cubicles, which obstruct innovation and encounters, as shown in French director Jacques Tati's 'Playtime' movie. Exchanges in physical space are crucial, and benefit from a constantly reconfigurable environment," he added.

Carlo Ratti Associati unveils vision for renovation of Oscar Niemeyer-designed Palazzo Mondadori

All five of the building's floors now feature redesigned desks that promote casual interactions. Furthermore, in order to improve the sense of continuity between areas and enable people to move around while taking in the surrounding natural surroundings, new transparent meeting rooms have been added. 

Carlo Ratti Associati unveils vision for renovation of Oscar Niemeyer-designed Palazzo Mondadori

The arrangement of the furniture has been thought out to take full advantage of the natural light, highlighting the beauty of the Palace and fostering a closer harmony with the surrounding park.

Between 1968 and 1975, Palazzo Mondadori was designed and built, marking the pinnacle of Niemeyer's difficult poetic style. 

Carlo Ratti Associati unveils vision for renovation of Oscar Niemeyer-designed Palazzo Mondadori

The centerpiece of the building is a suspended glass box with parabolic arches supporting it, giving the impression that it is floating in midair and emerging from a man-made lake created by landscape architect Pietro Porcinai

The office spaces in the building, which were state-of-the-art for the 1970s, was redesigned by CRA to be innovative and brought back to the forefront.

Carlo Ratti Associati unveils vision for renovation of Oscar Niemeyer-designed Palazzo Mondadori

The offices of the Mondadori Group are the most recent development in CRA's ongoing research into the future layout of workspaces, which focuses on modifying areas to promote significant human interactions.

CRA's other noteworthy examples are the mixed-use CapitaSpring in Singapore, The Fondazione Agnelli in Turin, the Zambon headquarters in Milan (created by Michele De Lucchi in collaboration with Amdl Circle), and the ILOW complex for Bouygues at La Défense in Paris.

Carlo Ratti Associati unveils vision for renovation of Oscar Niemeyer-designed Palazzo Mondadori

Carlo Ratti Associati unveils vision for renovation of Oscar Niemeyer-designed Palazzo Mondadori

Carlo Ratti Associati unveils vision for renovation of Oscar Niemeyer-designed Palazzo Mondadori

Carlo Ratti Associati unveils vision for renovation of Oscar Niemeyer-designed Palazzo Mondadori

Carlo Ratti Associati unveils vision for renovation of Oscar Niemeyer-designed Palazzo Mondadori

Carlo Ratti Associati unveils vision for renovation of Oscar Niemeyer-designed Palazzo Mondadori

Carlo Ratti Associati unveils vision for renovation of Oscar Niemeyer-designed Palazzo Mondadori

Carlo Ratti Associati unveils vision for renovation of Oscar Niemeyer-designed Palazzo Mondadori

Carlo Ratti Associati unveils vision for renovation of Oscar Niemeyer-designed Palazzo Mondadori

Carlo Ratti Associati unveils vision for renovation of Oscar Niemeyer-designed Palazzo Mondadori

CRA is closely associated with the significant legacy of Oscar Niemeyer. The studio worked on the Brasilia masterplan for the Biotic project in 2020. 

Comprising one million square meters, this new district continues the legacy of Niemeyer and Lucio Costa's original Plano Piloto by emphasizing technology and innovation.

Project facts

A project by: CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati, Italo Rota and Maestro Technologies
Creative lead: Italo Rota
CRA Team: Carlo Ratti, Francesco Strocchio, Chiara Leonzio, Marco Santini, Nicolette Marzovilla, Rodolfo Siccardi, Jelena Krco, Gary Di Silvio, Pasquale Milieri, Gianluca Zimbardi
Italo Rota: Francesca Grassi
Maestro Technologies: Mykola Murashko, Sara Zamperion, Eren Sezer

All images © DSL Studio/Delfino Sisto Legnani, Melania Delle Grave

> via CRA 

Carlo Ratti Associati concept refurbishment renovation