Contract - Autodesk Milan

design - features - corporate design



Autodesk Milan

12 August, 2013

-By Lydia Lee. Photography by Luc Boegly


For an American firm opening a sales office in Milan, one thing seems clear: you have to ratchet your style quotient up a notch. And for Autodesk, the leading maker of 3D drawing software, design is particularly important. When it decided to move its Milan office from the suburbs to a more central location, it looked for a firm that could give the company that urban edge.

“We’re an international company, and until about seven years ago, every office looked very cookie-cutter,” says Jenny Lum, senior program manager in Autodesk’s corporate real estate division. “But then we changed our process to look for the best firm in the local market, so that not everything would be ‘Autodesk blue and black’ and the local culture would be infused. You should know when you’re in the Milan office, or in the Tokyo office.”

After considering several firms, Autodesk chose Goring & Straja, an architecture firm with offices in Berkeley, Milan, and Rome, which had also designed Microsoft’s Rome office. Principals Jim Goring and André Straja met years ago working for William Turnbull, Jr. Straja later became the director of STUDIOS Architecture’s Paris office, where he gained experience in commercial interiors. In 1996, Straja moved to Milan and joined forces with Goring again. The two run independent offices but frequently share work. In this case, Straja’s office completed the design, but called upon Goring’s office in Berkeley to manage Autodesk Milan’s LEED-CI Gold certification.

Beginning with beautiful bones

Autodesk had selected an exceptional space to begin with, which helped set the stage. The new office building is in the Zona Tortona, a hip industrial neighborhood of Milan that comes alive during the Milan Furniture Fair each April. Designed by architect Matteo Thun, the building has an unusual configuration: the 18-foot-high, double-height spaces have a mezzanine level that one ascends to from elegant floating staircases. The design team devoted the main floor—located one floor up from the ground floor on the piano nobile—to open work space, with three glassed-in telephone booths for private conversations. To encourage interaction, all of the common spaces—conference rooms and break areas—are located on a  mezzanine level.

The lofty building also posed some challenges in terms of ventilation and acoustics. Because the office had a radiant ceiling and walls for heating and cooling purposes, which are common in Europe, the architects couldn’t use typical acoustic panels. Instead, they specified sleek, white baffles and perforated wall panels. To make sure the office could handle a crowd, the architects beefed up the ventilation system with 250 feet of stainless steel tubes, which are left visible as a design element. They also added a long green wall that runs the length of the space, in part to conceal mechanical ducts, but also as a principal organizing element connecting the two floors. Finished in hand-troweled Venetian plaster, the wall is a visible reminder of human craftsmanship in the midst of an office full of digital renderings.

Finishing with Italian flair
To reflect an Italian sensibility, Straja specified high-design lighting fixtures and furniture. In the reception area, an LED Net light from Artemide is poised over classic Barcelona chairs upholstered in black leather. Unifor open workstations designed by Michele De Lucchi and Herman Miller Mirra task chairs accommodate around 40 people. Sliding glass doors installed throughout the office hang from stainless steel rails and have custom-made stainless steel jambs and gaskets.

Straja also convinced Autodesk that concrete was ideal for a  reception desk and the kitchen and bar countertops. “Italy is not the country of gypsum board and wood. It’s the country of masonry and cement,” he says. The concrete is embellished with the forms of old drafting tools: a protractor, French curves, a compass, and so forth. “They are the fossils of the past—the things that Autodesk killed,”
he explains. Meanwhile, glass partitions and doors are etched with technical drawings—developed in Autodesk’s AutoCAD, of course—of the project itself. “The space looks like it cost a lot, but it didn’t,” Straja says. “The clients had high aspirations and enough time to do the work well, which doesn’t always happen.”

Autodesk Milan

  • Architects: Goring & Straja Architects
  • Client: Autodesk
  • Where: Milan, Italy
  • What: 9,150 total square feet on two floors
  • Cost/sf: Withheld at client’s request

Key Design Highlights

  • An internal wall finished in green Venetian plaster serves multiple functions: it conceals ductwork, provides storage, divides the space for different uses, and creates visual continuity throughout the office.
  • Distinctive light fixtures, such as fluorescent lighting by Italian designers, as well as furnishings, add instant design credibility to the space.
  • Gray concrete, wood, and tile surfaces are counterpoints to white walls, glass partitions, and refined stainless steel hardware.
  • Glass-enclosed conference rooms with sliding glass doors maximize openness and daylight.




Autodesk Milan

12 August, 2013


For an American firm opening a sales office in Milan, one thing seems clear: you have to ratchet your style quotient up a notch. And for Autodesk, the leading maker of 3D drawing software, design is particularly important. When it decided to move its Milan office from the suburbs to a more central location, it looked for a firm that could give the company that urban edge.

“We’re an international company, and until about seven years ago, every office looked very cookie-cutter,” says Jenny Lum, senior program manager in Autodesk’s corporate real estate division. “But then we changed our process to look for the best firm in the local market, so that not everything would be ‘Autodesk blue and black’ and the local culture would be infused. You should know when you’re in the Milan office, or in the Tokyo office.”

After considering several firms, Autodesk chose Goring & Straja, an architecture firm with offices in Berkeley, Milan, and Rome, which had also designed Microsoft’s Rome office. Principals Jim Goring and André Straja met years ago working for William Turnbull, Jr. Straja later became the director of STUDIOS Architecture’s Paris office, where he gained experience in commercial interiors. In 1996, Straja moved to Milan and joined forces with Goring again. The two run independent offices but frequently share work. In this case, Straja’s office completed the design, but called upon Goring’s office in Berkeley to manage Autodesk Milan’s LEED-CI Gold certification.

Beginning with beautiful bones

Autodesk had selected an exceptional space to begin with, which helped set the stage. The new office building is in the Zona Tortona, a hip industrial neighborhood of Milan that comes alive during the Milan Furniture Fair each April. Designed by architect Matteo Thun, the building has an unusual configuration: the 18-foot-high, double-height spaces have a mezzanine level that one ascends to from elegant floating staircases. The design team devoted the main floor—located one floor up from the ground floor on the piano nobile—to open work space, with three glassed-in telephone booths for private conversations. To encourage interaction, all of the common spaces—conference rooms and break areas—are located on a  mezzanine level.

The lofty building also posed some challenges in terms of ventilation and acoustics. Because the office had a radiant ceiling and walls for heating and cooling purposes, which are common in Europe, the architects couldn’t use typical acoustic panels. Instead, they specified sleek, white baffles and perforated wall panels. To make sure the office could handle a crowd, the architects beefed up the ventilation system with 250 feet of stainless steel tubes, which are left visible as a design element. They also added a long green wall that runs the length of the space, in part to conceal mechanical ducts, but also as a principal organizing element connecting the two floors. Finished in hand-troweled Venetian plaster, the wall is a visible reminder of human craftsmanship in the midst of an office full of digital renderings.

Finishing with Italian flair
To reflect an Italian sensibility, Straja specified high-design lighting fixtures and furniture. In the reception area, an LED Net light from Artemide is poised over classic Barcelona chairs upholstered in black leather. Unifor open workstations designed by Michele De Lucchi and Herman Miller Mirra task chairs accommodate around 40 people. Sliding glass doors installed throughout the office hang from stainless steel rails and have custom-made stainless steel jambs and gaskets.

Straja also convinced Autodesk that concrete was ideal for a  reception desk and the kitchen and bar countertops. “Italy is not the country of gypsum board and wood. It’s the country of masonry and cement,” he says. The concrete is embellished with the forms of old drafting tools: a protractor, French curves, a compass, and so forth. “They are the fossils of the past—the things that Autodesk killed,”
he explains. Meanwhile, glass partitions and doors are etched with technical drawings—developed in Autodesk’s AutoCAD, of course—of the project itself. “The space looks like it cost a lot, but it didn’t,” Straja says. “The clients had high aspirations and enough time to do the work well, which doesn’t always happen.”

Autodesk Milan

  • Architects: Goring & Straja Architects
  • Client: Autodesk
  • Where: Milan, Italy
  • What: 9,150 total square feet on two floors
  • Cost/sf: Withheld at client’s request

Key Design Highlights

  • An internal wall finished in green Venetian plaster serves multiple functions: it conceals ductwork, provides storage, divides the space for different uses, and creates visual continuity throughout the office.
  • Distinctive light fixtures, such as fluorescent lighting by Italian designers, as well as furnishings, add instant design credibility to the space.
  • Gray concrete, wood, and tile surfaces are counterpoints to white walls, glass partitions, and refined stainless steel hardware.
  • Glass-enclosed conference rooms with sliding glass doors maximize openness and daylight.

 


Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
*Username: 
*Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 




follow us

advertisement


advertisement






advertisement


advertisement




Contract Magazine is devoted to highlighting creative interior design trends and ideas that are shaping the industry on a daily basis. Contract is proud to provide you with the most comprehensive coverage of commercial interior design products and resources that procure uniqueness when designing a space. Contract is the modern interior design magazine that recognizes fresh interior design ideas and projects powerful interior design resources.

 

Contract Magazine Home | Interior Design News | Interior Planning Products | Interior Design Research | Interior Design Competitions | Interior Design Resources | Interactive Interior Designing | Digital/Print Versions | Newsletter | About Us | Contact Us | Advertising Opportunities | Subscriber FAQs | RSS | Sitemap

© Emerald Expositions 2014. All rights reserved. Terms of Use | Privacy Policy