The Torre Prada terrace stands out for its striking optical-effect paving
OMA, Rem Koolhaas - Chris van Duijn - Federico Pompignoli
The Fondazione Prada complex, the prestigious new development designed by OMA (partners Rem Koolhaas, Chris van Duijn and Federico Pompignoli) in the south of Milan, has a composite architectural configuration that combines existing buildings deriving from the conversion of a distillery dating back to the 1910s with three new structures (Podium, Cinema and Torre).
In the OMA project, the conservation work is successfully combined with the new architecture, the two approaches interacting and compensating for each other while remaining distinct.
The 60-metre-high new Torre Prada building is constructed from exposed white concrete. Each of the nine floors, housing galleries, a restaurant and visitor bathrooms, is based on a different combination of spatial parameters, half of them having a trapezoidal layout while the others have a rectangular floor plan. The ceiling height increases from the bottom to the top of the building. The external façades consist of an alternation of glass and concrete surfaces, exposing the floors to light on the north, east or west sides while the top floor gallery space is illuminated from above. The south side of the Torre has a diagonal structure incorporating a panoramic lift.
The rooftop terrace with bar for visitors is conceived as a flexible space that connects seamlessly with the gallery interior, an appealing location overlooking the surrounding urban landscape and an integral part of a metropolitan-scale installation.
The black and white optical effect of the paving was created using the Absolute collection from Lea Ceramiche, a sequence of rectangular modules in Slimtech laminated porcelain stoneware cut by waterjet to a special design and arranged according to a geometric layout that amplifies the surface, while the mirror cladding of the parapet eliminates the barrier between the terrace and the panoramic view of the city. The minimalism and purity of the materials in the two dominant colours coupled with a distinctive, slightly curved layout create a striking aesthetic effect. The architects envisioned the terrace as a kind of open-air «exhibition space/artwork», an experience confirmed by visitors. It is an engaging space with strong emotional and experiential appeal in which the city itself plays a key role.
Absolute Total White was also used on the floors in some of the bathrooms, with modules specially cut to create a strict surface grid effect.
The Absolute collection is part of Slimtech from Lea Ceramiche, a series of large-size, low-thickness porcelain laminate panels created using cutting-edge technology that has completely revolutionised working techniques in the ceramic sector. Their low weight, strength and versatility make them suitable for applications and installations that would have been unimaginable until fairly recently in both residential settings and large architectural projects.
Lea Ceramiche, Slimtech Absolute
Total White, Rotal Black
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): < 0,1%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): LA-HA; LB-HB (Lev)
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): 50 N/mm2