The project at 57 Ripa di Porta Ticinese in the Navigli district of Milan is an extension of Claudio Antonioli's avant-garde fashion store, which first openend in 2003 at this location. The new store occupies the corner of Via P. Paoli and the canal-side of Ripa di Porta Ticinese, a beautiful and lively former warehouse district of Milan.
Two materials dominate our intervention in the space: Asphalt, and tinted glass.
Asphalt as a very basic building material, at the same time crude, inexpensive, used for large scale infrastructural installations, but if applied in uncoventional ways displays great beauty.
In the project for Antonioli we used asphalt without the addition of aggregates. It is not rolled or polished, but melted at high temperatures, poured and allowed to settle, creating lava-like streams, articulated into rough and smooth areas. The floor was laid by a roadworks company.
The insertion of a continuous glass partition into the existing spaces creates a functional separation between front and back of house areas, and gently reflects colours of the surrounding canals and adjacent houses into the store. Subtle greens, reds and yellows tint the glass walls, which filter and bounce back shapes and colours, distorted in the curved sections. These effects continously change with the changing external conditions.
Peeling back from the existing building, the glass envelope takes advantage of its corner location to provide a covered entrance space, played out as part of a layered threshold sequence, including sliding polycarbonate screens.
A collection of white fragments, cast from jesmonite, populate the space in order to provide display and seating opportunities and contrast with the black asphalt floor, while marble stools create accents.
Originally three separate rooms, the freestanding curved glass screen is introduced to unify the spaces. Beyond the glass screen, three fabric volumes are created, using retractable curtains, to provide 2 fitting rooms and a private space for customer transactions.
A global ceiling grid is applied throughout the store, using linear light and spotlights, to provide a rhythm and structure to the space; this rhythm is playfully distorted when viewed via reflections in the glass.