OMA: “Working on the tower was a neo-realist experience”

The architect Federico Pompignoli explains the Tower, the last new building which completes the Prada Foundation in Milan.

Torre - OMA, Fondazione Prada, 2018

“Working on this project was an almost neo-realist experience, I felt like I was in a Pasolini film, there were no cars, no-one on the streets”. “When we began in this district, we knew that we were working in a existing, industrial area, far-removed from the activities taking place in the city centre”. These are the words of the architect Federico Pompignoli, who directed works during the construction of the Torre, a tower building which completes the Milan headquarters of the Prada Foundation. The 60-metre-high Torre is made in exposed structural concrete. Each of the nine floors offers a completely new view of the internal spaces through a specific combination of three spatial parameters: layout, height and orientation. The height of the ceilings varies from floor to floor, in order to adapt the spaces to the increasing demand for variety and flexibility. 

Watch the full interview.

The Tower rises from the ashes of a distillery from the 1910s. The aim of OMA was that of bringing together the main ways to exhibit art. “After analysing the existing buildings”, explained Pompignoli, “we decided to bring the three ways to exhibit contemporary art together in one complex, even though we are no great fans of White Cube: we believe in the relationship between space and art, between art and art, and  at the same time between art and visitors, while White Cube isolates art.”  It was also a project on materials, continues the architect. “We have only used 10-12 materials, because we did not want to exaggerate and create clashes, some are truly innovative, while others are classic”. “We used aluminium foam, and we developed our own personal material made up of two layers of perforated aluminium in order to create a mashrabiya effect. We applied anodised aluminium to the interiors in a very clean and detailed manner”. How does art and architecture communicate? “Architecture is slow, while art and fashion move quickly. This is an interesting and essential exchange”.  

Title:
Torre
Location:
Fondazione Prada
Address:
Largo Isarco 2, 20139
Architect:
Federico Pompignoli (OMA)

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