Act-romegialli recently completed the renovation of the headquarters of Rinascente Torino, the Italian high-end brand of department stores. The project consisted in the renovation of the modernist building as designed by the engineer Carlo Alberto Bordogna (1913-1998), particularly the main facade, the ground-floor retail experience and the escalators on all floors.
Since its foundation 1865, La Rinascente has been a laboratory for architecture, design, graphic design and art. Indeed, the Italian brand established the Compasso d’Oro award for industrial design back in 1954. Moreover, it has been able to rely on some of the greatest designers throughout its history, such as Franco Albini and Franca Helg, who designed the notable flagship store in Rome (Piazza Fiume, 1957-1961).
For act-romegialli, founded in 1996 by Gianmatteo Romegialli and Erika Gaggia van Hardeveld, the challenge has therefore been to reinterpret the brand in a contemporary way.
Rinascente Torino overlooks piazza CNL and the rigorous urban axis planned by Marcello Piacentini (1937-1938): this context includes the presence of historical palazzos, such as Palazzo Perrone (Giovanni Battista Borra, 1757) and the neoclassical Palazzo Bricherasio (Barnaba Panizza, 1860).
The redesign of the facade follows the client’s request for opacity in order to optimise the building’s functions. The urban front in the consolidated historical centre required a compositional study that supported act-romegialli in the search for a solution, then sought through the reinterpretation of the tripartition of the historical facades.
Three inverted arches dominate the front, characterised by delicately varied textures of travertine cladding and chiselled with burnished brass details. A recess of the front at the ground floor level marks the entrance, anticipated by barrel-vaulted space. This space anticipates the retail experience of the ground-floor – which includes cosmetics, accessories and food – where even the smallest detail is carefully designed.
Franco Albini & Franca Helg— Gabriel Verd (@gabriel_verd) September 29, 2019
Perhaps taking the meaning of La Rinascente too literally, his design maintains the basic massing of the 1887 building and transmutes the geometry of its cornice profiles into steel
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- Rinascente Torino
- Turin, Italy
- La Rinascente