A new academy of excellence and taste
The Panino Giusto Academy, the only structure of its kind in Italy, was opened at the end of last year in a former municipal warehouse in the Bocconi area of Milan. It was created by the historic Milanese food retail brand Panino Giusto for the purpose of training personnel to a high level of excellence in the catering sector while promoting the culture of food and serving as an important exhibition space for the city in anticipation of Expo 2015.
The project, commissioned from the architecture firm of Giuseppe Leida, is part of a wide-ranging programme to renovate and revitalise a number of industrial buildings of great historical interest dating from the 1950s. «The most striking aspect of the existing structure was the way natural light filtered in through the roof,» commented Leida. «Another interesting architectural feature is the strong sense of perspective that extends the entire 42 metre length of the building. It was therefore immediately obvious that all routes and distribution solutions would have to be designed so as not to interfere with the sense of space and pervading light.»
Along with the educational activities, the building also houses the Panino Giusto company headquarters and above all provides a new exhibition space available for use by the city at large. The building houses a library focusing on the theme of the «panino» (sandwich), which within a couple of years will boast more than 2,000 specialist volumes, as well as a spectacular 400 square metre atrium which will be used to stage exhibitions devoted to the world of food. Nearly 8 metres high, this space is flooded with light from all directions, while a mezzanine level further enhances its functionality. The vault that extends above the 42-metre-long central section of the building has an extraordinary ceramic texture consisting of bevelled-edge tiles from Etruria Design in colours China Blue and Lux White, faithfully reproducing the colours of the cathedral glass on the front façades of the historic building. This solution enhances both the natural light and the reflected artificial lighting, creating a powerful sense of clarity that is consistent with the building’s previous industrial function. The skilful use of ceramic tile won the project a special mention in the «Ceramics and design» competition, an accolade presented to the best projects by architects and interior designers using Italian ceramic tiles.
Along with the imposing atrium that stands at the heart of the project, the Academy also has two classrooms and a splendid kitchen equipped with TV cameras to enable lessons to be screened on the monitors in the Academy and shared via the web.
Overall, the project stands out for its choice of simple finishing materials such as oak and Pietra Serena stone, as well as the use of the colour white to help emphasise the stark simplicity of the spatial layout. «The simplicity of the architecture is the result of a highly complex process of intelligent interactions,» concludes Leida. «Right from the start of the project, this concept reinforced the image of the Academy as a dynamic space with an active, hands-on vision.»
ETRURIA design, Diamantato series
Lux White - China Blue
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): compliant
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): compliant
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): compliant
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): 17 N/mm2
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant