The Time Machine - Advertorial - Domus
Alfa Romeo, Arese
 

The Time Machine

The design of the historic Alfa Romeo museum in Arese by Camerana&Partners highlights GranitiFiandre’s ability to interpret the demands of architects and clients.

 

Advertorial

Built at Arese, a few kilometres from the city of Milan, the Historic Alfa Romeo Museum is a key step in a broader programme to revitalise the great car brand.

The choice of location, that in the 1970s was the site of a major manufacturing base and management centre, later closed down, today carries an important symbolic meaning for the company and is a testimony of its desire to connect the past with the future, a distinctive feature also in the production of its famous sports cars. Commissioned to the Turin design studio Camerana&Partners, the architectural design combines new and old elements, articulated harmoniously together, in line with the philosophy of the prestigious Milanese automotive brand.

Come un ‘biscione’: la lunga pensilina d’ingresso sul lato nord è unLike a ‘snake’: the long entrance canopy on the north side is a curved ribbon in Alfa Romeo red that leads to the museum entrance flessuoso nastro rosso Alfa Romeo che conduce all’ingresso del museo

Like a ‘snake’: the long entrance canopy on the north side is a curved ribbon in Alfa Romeo red that leads to the museum entrance

The new museum is introduced by a long, metal canopy, characterised by its bright “Alfa red” colour and curved profile, recalling the ‘snake’ that features in the brand’s legendary emblem. This organic, curved element is set against the total uniformity presented by the old industrial buildings, carefully maintained by the design and restored under the guidance of local authorities responsible for the protection of architectural heritage. The canopy completely redefines the system of circulation, welcoming visitors to the new entrance on the northern side of the complex and leading them into the exhibition spaces.

GranitiFiandre, Museo storico Alfa Romeo

Inside the museum the display is organised around three main themes, inspired by three guiding principles, to describe the essence of the company in a visually-engaging fashion: Timeline, a portrait of the historic and industrial continuity of Alfa Romeo; Bellezza, a synthesis of classic design and style; Velocity, presenting the highest level of technological research and lightness. The visitor’s journey ends with a virtual reality multimedia and video gallery with a 360° screen. On the upper floor are situated all the other facilities: an archive, bookshop, a number of shops, a cafe, event spaces, a documentation centre and a showroom with delivery area.

View of the route upstairs to the services area, once again featuring the use of Alfa Romeo red

View of the route upstairs to the services area, once again featuring the use of Alfa Romeo red

The attention to detail along with the fluid and flowing shapes of the museum display distinctly recall the lines of the legendary cars. Camerana&Partners have thus created a new “brand architecture” that synthesises in its layout the engineering history of Alfa Romeo and its distinctive features (colour, line, dynamism), revitalising the image of the high-end red sports car. The attention given to both the story of the past as well as the dynamic attitude to the future is translated into an interior design that has been carefully thought out in terms of colours, materials and finishes. This is where the architectural solutions devised by GranitiFiandre Architectural Surfaces come to the fore. Following the collaboration with Automobili Lamborghini in Milan, GranitiFiandre has added another prestigious case history in the automobile sector, providing specific solutions able to guarantee maximum customer satisfaction. Understanding the project as a whole and a synergic collaboration with the architecture studio was once again the key to producing an integrated and aware design.

The shapes and styles of the historic vehicles are enhanced by the contrast with the floor surface made from Alfa Romeo Black porcelain stoneware tiles by GranitiFiandre

The shapes and styles of the historic vehicles are enhanced by the contrast with the floor surface made from Alfa Romeo Black porcelain stoneware tiles by GranitiFiandre

Over 30,000 metres of the original floor and ceiling tiles had decayed over time and become unusable so had to be replaced with a product able to meet all the aesthetic and functional requirements set out in the design by Camerana&Partners. Exploiting the advantages of Maximum Fiandre Extralite technology, new tiles were produced using eco-sustainable procedures that reproduced in detail the appearance of the old ones, in a large 100 x 100 cm format, achieving lightness with the 6 mm thickness combined with all the strength of porcelain stoneware.

The floor signage was created with sandblasted stoneware tiles finished with resin in Alfa Romeo red

The floor signage was created with sandblasted stoneware tiles finished with resin in Alfa Romeo red

The new Alfa Romeo Black tiles by Graniti Fiandre, easy to handle during installation, combine lightness with strength, making them ideal for a museum that displays cars. The high level of resistance to chemical attack and scratches offered by porcelain stoneware guarantees a surface that remains unaltered over time. GranitiFiandre also made information panels, inserted into the floor to indicate the chronological sequence of the cars. The tiles in porcelain stoneware in this case have been treated with a special sandblasting technique, refined with resin in the corporate Alfa Romeo red. Once again: attention to detail, quality and aesthetics.