Next to a court, in the midst of late-Nineteenth century buildings in central Milan, an old umbrella factory has become the Missoni showroom after an impressive and radical renovation: a space which may not only be used as showroom but also for fashion shows, exhibitions and events. The materials (glass, iron, brushed and mirror-polished steel, cement and felt) have been chosen to render the architecture light and transparent, like a greenhouse which succeeds in incorporating the colours and architectures of the surrounding environment. The building receives natural light by day, but is capable of coming alight like a large lantern by night; its space is a neutral container where the collections are staged, as if it were a theatre. The surface of the roof, which has been completely rebuilt according to the original type of the pitched roof, is now in glass. Also the new staircase is in glass; it connects the three floors on which the show room is organized, namely a ground floor, a first floor which may be defined as a greenhouse cum dining room and a basement (900 square metres in all). Even if the shell is neutral, it is not colourless. But in order not to interfere with the collections presented in the showroom, colour has been used in the more “hidden” spaces.
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