Summer in Milan is la dolce vita par excellence – soaking up the sun’s rays on Cathedral Square while enjoying a refreshing gelato. Away from the centre, 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. 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 28,340 m² industrial complex has an unusual variety of locales, including a cinema, a restaurant, an office building and a library.