The hall is designed to be a permeable and transparent semi-public space serving as a sort of indoor square that opens externally. Along the vertical axis, it provides for connecting the various levels from the skylight to the basement.
Being a space that ushers visitors into the building, the hall has a huge inclined marble wall that digs into the ground out of which bare, solid stone masses surface. They are wet by trickling flows of water to recall the environment typical of caves.
The opening in the floor hosts a hypogean garden structure, called Albero Climb. Designed by Luigi Siard, it is 18 metres tall and comprises 380 plants that rise out of the ground in the based scenically crossing the entire space vertically.
The indoor crossed stairway is an element of huge visual impact and brings to mind the visual architectures created by the American abstract artist Ellsworth Kelly.
In keeping with its primary function of welcoming visitors, the hall opens on the showroom. The entrance is sheltered though, almost shielded by a backdrop that separates it from the hall. Once past this opaque and quiet separation, visitors are overwhelmed by the surprise effect of the spectacular volume and height of the room in which the slabs of marble on display create an imposing prospective sequence, almost an exhibition promenade that establishes a contact with Margraf’s marbles.
The bottom of the showroom features a building inside the building, a small treasure box surrounded by the marble. It cherishes Margraf’s archive of original drawings by the great designers of the past and present, from De Chirico, through Gardella, to present-day designers and architects. Then comes the conference hall. The huge glass facade – that helps to regulate the micro-climate and lighting – reveals the showroom on the outside, along the road, creating an intriguing interplay of transparent and matt surfaces spanning the different levels.
Obviously, marble is the predominant material of the indoor and outdoor surfaces and floors. These feature complex decorations that capture and enhance the great company’s production.
Margraf Headquarters, Chiampo, Vicenza, Italy
Architects: Asa Studio Albanese
Area: 26,000 sqm