«The Fondazione Prada project’s purpose isn’t conservation nor the creation of a new architecture. These two dimensions coexist, while remaining distinct, and confront each other in a process of continuous interaction, as if they were fragments destined to never form a unique and defined image, in which an element prevails over the other». This is how the architect Rem Koolhaas, designer of the project, describes the new headquarters of the Prada Foundation, a 19 thousand square meter space the well-known Fashion brand dedicates to Art and Culture.
In the suburban area near Via Ripamonti, which in recent years has been requalified especially through the attraction of big Fashion names, Miuccia Prada, owner of the homonymous Fashion house, wanted to recover the old distillery Sis dating back to the ’10s of the twentieth century, where they brandy Red Horse was produced, to donate a new exhibition to the City of Milan.
The project, directed by the Oma Rem Koolhaas studio, the Dutch archistar creator of the Prada Store on Rodeo Drive (Beverly Hills, Los Angeles), includes a set of seven restored buildings and three new ones dedicated to both temporary exhibitions and the collection of the famous brand from Milan, and tries to enhance the main feature of the location where different and antipodal environments coexist harmoniously. “Old and new, wide and narrow, open and closed, horizontal and vertical” as the architect says.
The very large area of the former distillery also allowed the creation of an educational area for children, a movie theater with two hundred and fifty seats and a tower that will be completed in 2016. The Fondazione Prada’s gems are the Haunted House, a golden building that hosts a permanent exhibition by Robert Gober and two works by Louise Bourgeois, while the Podium hosts temporary exhibitions. On the left side of the courtyard is the Bar Luce, an ”old bar of Milan ” based on a project by the American visionary film director Wes Anderson.
The Fondazione Prada, headed up by Patrizio Bertelli (the brand’s former CEO) and his wife Miuccia Prada (stylist and founder Mario Prada’s granddaughter) is ultimately a cross between a museum and a playground, a place in which to experience the thematic tours, the exhibitions and all the planned cultural entertainment events. This is a lighthouse not only for Milan but for the whole country.