24. April 2018
Away from the center, the Fondazione Prada sparkles in the summer sun. It is without a doubt the eye-catching architectural focus of the Largo Isarco industrial complex in the southernmost suburbs of the Italian metropolis.
Construction started in 2008, and the Fondazione was finally completed in 2018. It is a mixture of old and new. In collaboration with the project architect Federico Pompignoli, the celebrated architect Rem Koolhaas and his team have created a complex architectural structure that successfully connects dissimilar elements that would not normally match. Koolhaas has taken the historical substance and brought it up to date to make a new architectural ensemble. All of the old and new fragments interact continuously in a poised combination of restraint and invention.
Koolhaas and his colleagues from the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) gave considerable thought as to how to make the building really stand out. They tested different gold paints and attached specially coated metal panels, but the facade still looked green or even brown, depending on the way the light fell on it. In the end they had no choice but to use real gold, no less than 6.6 lbs of 24-carat gold leaf.
This outlay was what they needed to completely cover the tower on the Fondazione Prada site in Milan and make it shine. Inside the building, Duravit Starck 3 toilets by the famous designer Philippe Starck and Duravit Architec toilets – design classics for the private and semi-public sector for over twenty-five years – also shine in their own way.
Today the building in a former gin distillery built in 1910 is home to a number of prestigious exhibitions. The Fondazione is not only a museum and gallery, however. The 7 acres industrial complex has an unusual variety of locales, including a cinema, a restaurant, an office building and a library.