The historical Milanese company Ugolini S.p.a., which produces cooling machines for drinks and ice cream, wanted to celebrate its 75 years of activity with a new management and production headquarters, characterized by a strong presence of vegetation. The company entrusted the conception and development of the project to the Barreca & La Varra studio, which took care of all the design aspects: from the masterplan design to the architectural project, landscape design and interior design. The desire of the Ugolini S.p.a. company was to create an entrance that was the common access for all employees; a request that determined the need to design a project characterised by the fluidity of the spaces, both internal and architectural. The objective was therefore to allow different building systems – offices and prefabricated warehouse and production buildings – to coexist.
The solution was identified in the open courtyard morphology, guaranteeing the buildings a fair balance of union and independence. A balance even more emphasized by the architectural fronts that reflect the structural world to which they belong on the outside. The three main materials used in the creation of this structure are medium grey GRC, used to ventilate the façade, prefabricated concrete panelling treated with different finishes, and painted corrugated sheet metal as the crowning feature of all the roofs. The constant search for harmony and order has led the Barreca & La Varra studio towards a meticulous analysis of the material references and harmonious alignments between spatial and architectural elements.
The building dedicated to personnel offices is distributed over two floors, on an area of 3000 square metres. The structure is a reminder of the morphology of a typical Lombard farmhouse with an open courtyard, whose interior space is enlivened by four trees wrapped in luminous structures. The entrance is made up of four lobbies, two of which are double height and illuminated by zenithal skylights, whose interior is mainly organised as open spaces used as offices and meeting rooms. The interconnection of the spaces is the main value of this structure, whose interior spaces make it possible to maintain visual contact between the different environments thanks to the presence of large glass walls.
For the interiors, refined and refined materials have been chosen, cared for by craftsmen, such as the solid wood panelling of the main lobbies and the flooring of the stairs. In order to maintain the characteristic of continuity, wooden materials have also been chosen for the walls and perimeter furniture of the offices, which are finished in oak. The floors of the different spaces also maintain consistency with each other. The lobbies are paved with cement effect resins, in the same colours as the industrial floors of the plant and the warehouse – the flooring of which is floating, to guarantee better usability – finished with rolled concrete effect stoneware slabs. Adjacent to the offices we find the production space arranged over 5500 square metres, visible directly from the large windows in the “research and development” section, emphasising the continuum between the various employees.
The only isolated building, on the other hand, is the 5700 m2 warehouse to allow access to vehicles along the entire perimeter. As previously mentioned, the open courtyard houses four trees – a plane tree, an oak, an ash and a mulberry tree – surrounded by large circular LED lights, 3 metres high and with a diameter of 7-9 metres. These structures generate a bursting effect, extraneous to the geometric design of the structure. Outside we find materials such as grey asphalt, beige architectural concrete and extensive lawn. Also interesting is the treatment of the flooring, made with Mururè wood inserts, similar to the GRC (Glass Reinforced Concrete) slabs of the facades, recalled in the finishes of the seats on the edges of the flowerbeds.