In this specific case, the facade of the building, located on the West Third Ring Road and devoted to “Made in Italy” interior design has been converted into a refined interface at various levels: not only between the inside and the outside but, ideally, between China and Italy, that is to say between the local context and the imaginary, here evoked by the Italian style, in its latest figuration.
The whole facade is thus cladded with large white rectangular GRC panels (a composite material comprising the characteristics of compressive strength of the concrete matrix with the tensile strength of the glass fibers) and treated with a score of full height vertical elements, scanning a musical rhythm along its whole perimeter. The impact of the compositional solution which, at first sight, may look monumental, recalling the language and brightness of early Italian Rationalism, on closer inspection, proves to be an effective way to break up the huge unitary mass of the complex, making it so look more domestic and familiar. The insertion of a series of elements as variations on the theme – a curvature at a corner, a lean off-set portal, the dark glass reflecting surfaces, … – amplifies the figurative harmony and reminds the difference and complexity distinguishing marks featuring a genuine part of the city capable to relate to a multiplicity of lifestyles revolving around it.
Of course, the variability illustrated above also reflects the functional structure of the differently oriented facades, conceived as “tridimensional surfaces”. The east side, intended to accomodate most of the visitors, in particular the ones coming from the main entrance, has been designed through four compositional variations, identifying as many different visual patterns. The permeability of the access system contributes to generating a flexible internal space developed so as to act as public catalyst for the city’s commercial and social activities.
Different is the way the north facade, facing the residential area, has been treated. Here the design stems from an in-depth analysis of sunlight impact and of all visual relations with the surroundings. In fact, the extensive use of white GRC reduces the impact of the building’s shadow, reflecting daylight.
The west facade faces an urban area less dense than the other sides. In this case, the design choice steered towards a prevalent use of glass, so as to maximize the passage of natural light and thus reduce the building’s dependence on artificial lighting. At the same time, the large transparent surface allows the surrounding open landscape to “enter” the built body, enriching the breath and the atmosphere indoors.
The design of the south facade took shape with the aim to establish a fluid link with the communities of the districts nearby and optimize as much as possible the exchanges with the city.
The attention to the numerous levels of complexity of the contemporary city, which is the hallmark of Stefano Boeri Architetti’s work and practice, thus condenses into the Easyhome Lize New Retail Experience Mall’s architectural project, into an articulated “interface renovation”, in the spirit of a novel neomodernity, in between two cultures.
Photo credits: Paolo Rosselli