Max Mara headquarters

Reggio nel I'Emilia, Italy

The complex consists of 5 blocks of office buildings and 3 blocks of common facilities. The site area is about 310,000sqm, and the building area is about 31,000sqm. I thought that the most appropriate solution to the programmatic requirements and the site conditions was to turn the entire site into a park and to treat the building blocks as pavilions. This work provided an opportunity to consider the relationship between the extensive exterior space of the site and the interior spaces of buildings. It also gave me a chance to reflect on the relationship between architecture and nature. These became the themes of the design.
In Japanese traditional architecture, nature and man exist in harmony. Man is enveloped by nature. In this design, exterior space is linked to the interior space of buildings by means of transitional spaces. The entire site has a park-like character, and the transition from exterior space to interior space is achieved architecturally through the use of interior courts and terraces.
The concept of light is also inspired by traditional Japanese residential architecture. This is evident in the placement of green areas and interior courts on the north side, and the use of louvers on the south side to cut down glare.
All the structures are a mixture of steel post-and-beam construction and reinforced concrete load-bearing walls. Within the steel frame, outer walls are made of industrially produced prefabricated materials such as precast cement panels and steel panels. The reinforced concrete walls are finished in brick? the traditional material that is commonly used in northern Italy. The brick walls serve as an orienting device on the first floor. Since brick is usually handcrafted, it has something of the warmth of the hand that made it. It is not a uniform material. The brick walls on the first floor can be touched and endow the architecture with a human scale.
A work of architecture is created from the representative materials of the age. It is also affected by the conditions of the site and also deeply connected to cultural traditions and heritage. Steel, glass and cement are materials of the twentieth century, whereas brick is a traditional material. These materials and technologies coexist in the structures of this project. The presence of traditional and modern materials is emphasized. These materials effect a continuity between past, present and future. This design reflects certain aspects of the 20th century, the cultural tradition and milieu of northern Italy, and the spatial concepts of Japanese architecture.