Renzo Piano’s Parco della Luce inaugurated in Milan

Renzo Piano Building Workshop returns to the building he renovated as the headquarters of the financial newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, now an urban oasis that is being revived with the works of three contemporary artists.

Parco della Luce is the latest piece of the ambitious project by Renzo Piano Building Workshop, marking the definitive opening of the enormous complex at Via Monte Rosa 91 in Milan. Transformed into a new urban campus and inaugurated last June at the initiative of AXA IM Alts, this site represents the culmination of a bold real estate operation.

Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Parco della Luce, Milan, Italy, 2024. Photo Enrico Cano

This building, with a complex and layered history, might be seen as reaching a point of arrival with this latest development. Located in the Lotto area in the northwestern outskirts of Milan, the building was initially the headquarters of the automotive company Isotta-Fraschini and later Siemens-Italtel, the leading Italian telecommunications and electronics company. In 1998, work began to transform the former industrial plants into the new headquarters of the historic newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, under the direction of Renzo Piano Building Workshop.

The structure, with its entrance at 91 Viale Monte Rosa, was inaugurated only five years later: a glass parallelepiped containing 40,000 square meters of office space over five above-ground levels, a garden floor, two underground levels, an auditorium that can host about 230 people, and an artificial hill. In 2020, the editorial staff, along with its new educational branch, 24 Ore Business School, vacated the building, which was then acquired by the global asset manager AXA IM Alts. Renzo Piano’s studio was called back to rework the project, resulting in an outcome that exceeded expectations.

Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Parco della Luce, Milan, Italy, 2024. Photo Enrico Cano

Monte Rosa 91 is much more than a simple office center: RPBW’s visionary project transforms the architecture both in terms of methods, with particular attention to energy efficiency, and purposes, creating a place for interactions and green spaces that defy the logic of a productive hive and invite life and community.

The design of the green area is by AG&P greenscape, in a redevelopment project that saw the recovery of over 93 existing trees, 42 new trees, 60 large shrubs, and 13,800 small shrubs and perennials. The public program, which aims to become a significant new cultural center for the city of Milan, is curated by Gaia Manzini, who is responsible for reactivating the space through interdisciplinary events and initiatives open to the public.

Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Parco della Luce, Milan, Italy, 2024. Photo Enrico Cano

Above all, the Parco della Luce stands as a manifesto of this new architectural vocation. Located on the original artificial hill, it now hosts the “Prima Luce” project, curated by Helga Marsala. Three internationally renowned Italian artists, known for their inseparable relationship with nature, present three large permanent installations positioned at the top of the hill, through the enclosed spaces below and the large central staircase. Stefano Arienti’s dust covers depict artificial landscapes, Mario Airò’s LED tuning forks capture the electromagnetic emission spectra of gold and lead, while Loris Cecchini’s stainless steel sculpture composed of organically shaped modules reflects and blends with the garden. These interventions add to that of Japanese artist Susumu Shingu, installed in the central part of the building twenty years ago.

This body of work, which may grow in the future, becomes a small model of work, a laboratory for a new idea of urban regeneration developed in harmony with nature, leveraging collaboration among various arts.

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