The Sign, Italy
Copyright: Andrea Martiradonna
The Sign, Italy
Copyright: Andrea Martiradonna
The Sign, Italy
Copyright: Andrea Martiradonna
The Sign, Italy
Copyright: Andrea Martiradonna
The Sign, Italy
Copyright: Andrea Martiradonna
The Sign, Italy
Copyright: Andrea Martiradonna
The Sign, Italy
Copyright: Andrea Martiradonna
The Sign, Italy
Copyright: Andrea Martiradonna
The Sign, Italy
Copyright: Andrea Martiradonna
The Sign, Italy
Copyright: Andrea Martiradonna
The Sign, Italy
Copyright: Andrea Martiradonna
The Sign, Italy
Copyright: Andrea Martiradonna

The Sign, Italy

8 september 2021
Project: The Sign, Milan | Italy
Architect: Progetto CMR, Milan | Italy
Fabricator: ISA S.p.A., Bastia Umbra PG | Italy
Façade System: Tray panels on bolts
Year of Construction: 2021
Product: ALUCOBOND® PLUS naturAL Gold
Photos: Andrea Martiradonna

GOLDEN SIGN

As the name suggests, “The Sign” office buildingsin southern Milan by Progetto CMR architectsis a sign of the times. Milan has been inthe process of transforming from a manufacturingcentre to an IT location for more than twentyyears. In the once industrial city, production isincreasingly virtual and digital rather than tangibleor material. Today, the majority of Italiannetwork traffic flows through Milan, Italy's mostimportant Internet hub. In the Barona district, inthe vicinity of several universities and just a fewminutes by car from one of the most importantdata centers, a mixed-use district is being builtwhere an old factory used to stand. This site isprimarily but not exclusively for the IT industry.The “The Sign” project consists of four buildingsproviding a total floor area of about 40,000m². Three buildings have already been completed.Their façades could not be more in tunewith digital data transfer: wrapped around eachstorey, there is a sequence of glass windowsand opaque surfaces in ALUCOBOND® PLUSnaturAL Gold. These two elements are lined up,compactly spaced but in irregular intervals, apparentlyrepeating the same pattern. Indeed,apparently is the apt term because the alternatingglass and ALUCOBOND® surfaces featuredifferent breadths and sequences. This meansthere is an individual bar code for each floor,with details differing from the one above andbelow it. The overall design of the building complex,like the global sea of data, is binary. One orzero, glass or gold elements, which are repeatedyet reconfigured. In the spirit of our global Internet’sconnectivity, a network of glass interfacesalso unites the buildings with one another, creatinglinks between their counterparts and interruptingthe façade sequencing. So the glazedelements do more than only stretch across eachand every building and structure the façade. Onthe ground floor lay out, they also trace the accesspoints and walkways between the buildings,as light lines on the floor, across generouslycantilevered canopies and throughout theentire exterior outdoor design. The complex isset in a green-urban context and connected viasquares, parks and paths with the nearby universitybuildings and with the neighbourhood. Thatis, in fact, the actual intention behind convertingthis industrial wasteland: upgrading Barona,where a number of prefabricated concrete slabblocks were built in 1950s and 1960s to housefactory workers who had moved from southernItaly. With industry relocating to other countries,Barona needs new perspectives. Education anddigitization, as well as sustainable buildings –“The Sign” hopes for LEED Gold certification– and a green urban space should ensure thedistrict has a bright, golden future. “The Sign” isthe visual symbol and a sign of things to come.

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