The initiative concerned the requalification – of a highly-qualitative and architectural level – of the Milan Fair zone. It involved some internationally famous architects, such as Zaha Hadid, Daniel Libeskind and Arata Isozaki. The project foresaw the urban transformation of the area, providing it with a mixture of functions. It includes residential and business district lots and a commercial sector. A notable technical complexity characterized the operation, which is attested by the particularity and uniqueness of the creations, one of which being the tallest building in Italy. This operation was also of a considerable economic significance, with an overall cost of more than two billion euros. The Gross Floor Area is equivalent to about 290,000 square meters, allowing for the construction of around 1,500 apartments, offices for more than 13,000 employees and over 100 stores.
The genesis of the project comes from acknowledging Rome's particular natural light on hand; a precious design resource allows a normal doorway to become an ever-changing entrance portal. A new rigid steel screen frames and highlights the building's access point. Together with the artificial lighting, a strong and unique character is given.
Inserted into an entirely two-dimensional facade, a series of steel trapezoids interconnected with thin metallic elements confer a three-dimensionality to the portal. The light vibrations derived produce a complex play of reflections with the narrow square window openings. Similar elements present act in the same way, a slight shift of meaning produces a new language, with which to dialogue for the entire facade.
The portal's asymmetry stems from the direction of one's arrival from the main road in relationship to the building's orientation. Increasing the second floor's visibility places the conventional facade further to the background. The parterre entrance also helps to direct the attention to the new portal.
The atrium’s interiors bring in a few design elements found in the facade; more services and control devices respond to the clients request without, however, neglecting the design intent for a warm and welcoming entrance hall.