Case Study —
Exhibition

Fondazione Prada — Milan HQ at the biennale.

Can the breadth of an architectural experience be communicated through a series of scaled models?

Overview

What is Fondazione Prada?

Located in a former gin distillery dating from 1910 in the Largo Isarco industrial complex on the southern edge of Milan, the new home of Fondazione Prada is a coexistence of new and regenerated buildings including warehouses, laboratories and brewing silos, as well as new buildings surrounding a large courtyard.

Key Project Goals

The art biennale brings a large portion of Prada's target audience to Venice. For the occasion, the Italian fashion brand wished to showcase in their Venice Palazzo the design of its new headquarter under construction in Milan. Designed by architecture office OMA where I worked, the project juxtaposed a wide variety of architectural interventions in an abandoned industrial space. Our team designed a series of scaled models that gave a taste of the multifaceted spatial, material, and curatorial experience.

Context & Role

I worked on this project as a designer at the Office for Metropolitan Architecture in Rotterdam, Netherlands. In a team of five under the leadership of Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli, I organized a strategy executive methodology for the scale 1:100 model shown in the adjacent photographs. I developed techniques of various sorts to render the building's unique materials using poured resin, metallic foam, laser cutters, milling machines, and spay paint. The model had to be capable of dismantlement to travel in custom made boxes between Rotterdam and Venice. I also advised the display of the unique scale 1:1 materials custom developed for Prada.

Timeline

The exhibition was curated over a period of 6 months and prepared in 12 weeks. It was displayed for 5 months.

An unusual adjacency of materials belonging to diverse economic regimes critically position Prada with regards to consumerist neoliberalism.

Silver, Gold, Ceramic Tiles & Greige Plaster
Material choices further emphasizes the distinctive assortment of historical periods. A plaster the color between grey and beige, 'greige', is used for the industrial facades, as it pairs elegantly with the roofs' ceramic tiles. A floating pavilion of silver foam houses a cinema, in contrast with the gold leaf building referred to as the haunted house.

Miniature Art Collection
The Prada Foundation is at once a museum and a bank. The art pieces are both financial investments and opportunities for intercultural conviviality.
 

Material Studies

Feeling like Doll in a Biology Lab
These models display at scale 1:1 materials developed for Prada. They are inspired by photographs taken through a microscope. As such, they invite the dweller to consider the world from the perspective of smaller beings, much like a doll in a biology lab.

Signage & Credits

Text LinkSilver, Gold, Ceramic Tiles & Greige PlasterMiniature Art CollectionFeeling like Doll in a Biology LabSignage & Credits
Fondazione Prada