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2050+ for La Rinascente: between design and restoration

“To be modern is to embody and transform, rather than to simulate an attitude”, declare the architects, who developed the project in this direction.

Imagining a remodeling project for one of Franco Albini and Franca Helg’s best-known works must have been no easy challenge. Yet, Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli and his team managed to reconcile contemporary needs, functional and plant engineering adaptation with complete respect for those modernist features that made this work “a technological architecture for a historical context”, as defined by historian Reyner Banham.

The façade layout, with its characteristic arrangement of steel frames that in its score recalled the moldings typical of Roman palaces, was preserved and marks the rhythm of the new components added by the Milanese firm: a panoramic elevator that characterizes the side façade, and the opening of the sixth floor, which reflects the original will of the designers, as evidenced by the first design drawings from 1957. The Milan firm also intervened on the complete renovation of the sixth floor interior as an integral part of Albini and Helg’s architecture, with lighting, modular displays and surfaces that enhance the characteristics of the original design.

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