Developer Europa Risorse wants to restore the abandoned industrial area of Milan, the Rizzoli district. But in 2021 you don’t just simply redevelop; to make the most of a great vision, something more is needed. And it’s from this vision that comes ‘Welcome’, a project that aims at becoming one of the most advanced eco-friendly in Europe.
In the past months, we talked a lot about sustainability and biophilic design. We also discussed how the pandemic, in 2020, accelerated certain trends in the industry that were already developing before. As topics that are extremely close to our values, I thought it was important to feature this one too on the blog. The whole concept is well synthesised by Leopoldo Andreis De Gregorio, Head of PineBridge Benson Elliot, a fund management firm whose fund financed ‘Welcome’:
“Design excellence is at the heart of every development project we undertake at PineBridge Benson Elliot, with a view to creating lasting, high-quality buildings that are distinct to their location and use, while also pushing the boundaries of sustainability.
It was particularly important to us that the design should be eco-friendly and sustainable, using low-carbon-emission materials and we believe this will also be important for future occupiers as the pandemic accelerates pre-Covid work trends with more corporates focused on environmentally conscious design for their office space”
So, let’s dive in and see what the project is about and how it’s been conceived.
'Welcome, feeling at work' has been developed by Japanese Kengo Kuma and Associates, with partner Yuki Ikeguchi as the project manager.
This firm has realised some remarkable works all over the world, so I guess being we can be super excited for what’s to come. What has been produced for the project in Italy so far is nothing less than awe-inspiring.
*Renders by Kengo Kuma and Associates
As can be seen from the vast majority of their previous works, this studio focuses deeply on the use of sustainable materials and strong elements of biophilic design. Not just for the choice of materials, concrete, steel, and wood, but also for their use, the source and use of light, and the surrounding outdoor areas.
The project seemed very suitable to the design studio strength as Milan itself is a city that blends both strong modernity and traditions. Art and craftsmanship needed for the woodwork would be easy to find there.
Regarding the concept Ikeguchi claimed:
“Welcome, feeling at work, is designed with organic, natural elements that appeal to our senses and tendency to find comfort and inspiration to the natural settings. Architecture space fully integrates living plants and greenery, composed with organic materials.”
In their vision, Biophilia is about living with nature, which in urban centres translates into giving life to the city itself, as well as fostering
“a creative and forward-thinking work life. Natural elements in architecture; green, light, air, timber that appeal to human senses make a difference in the workplace, living culture for better mental, physical states, creativity, and productivity.”
As modern trends dictate, along with being focused on sustainability, Welcome will also be a multifunctional and flexible space. Developed horizontally, to better mix with its surroundings, on a 50,000 square metres area, the complex will consist of six sites, and start in 2021, with completion scheduled for 2024.
*Renders by Kengo Kuma and Associates
Apart from its primary function of co-working, Welcome will also include offices, auditoriums, restaurants, lounges, shops, supermarkets, wellness and exhibition areas, a large green outdoor area, courtyards, terraces, kitchen gardens, flower gardens, sheltered walkways, and greenhouses. All this is intended to create a diversified community where a number of different activities can be carried out.
This wealth of facilities in fact will allow for both formal and informal work and meetings, leisure, exhibitions, entertainment, and more, thanks also to technological and digital integrations.
On the development side, the building aims at achieving carbon-neutrality through the use of renewable sources such as solar energy, consumption control, water-saving, and green areas.
Overall, Welcome, feeling at work, should become the embodiment of all the best practices that are being adopted in architecture, interior design, and shared living/co-working schemes. It will be a good inspiration for future development around Europe and surely a pleasure to work in! Don’t you think?
*Cover render by Luxigon