In 2016, Herzog & de Meuron designed a Milan home for Fondazione Giangiacomo Feltrinelli, a foundation that studies the history of ideas and social movements. Six years later, the firm returned to its building to deliver three floors of Fondazione Feltrinelli offices in collaboration with Coima Image and UniFor, the workplace design division of Molteni Group.
For Herzog & de Meuron, UniFor was an obvious choice for the project. It has collaborated with the company on many projects, including the Public Hotel in New York and Asklepios 8 for Novartis in its hometown of Basel, Switzerland.
At the new offices, which occupy three of the building’s five floors, flexibility is the focus. Herzog & de Meuron built a custom movable panel system for the interior that partitions spaces, lines the walls, and provides shelving.
This means the spaces can be divided into different zones as-needed to create smaller nooks, conference rooms, or larger areas for events. Post-covid, this flexibility has become somewhat of a requirement in workplace design.
Visitors are greeted by a welcome area and kitchenette, which segues into a workspace with desks that Herzog & de Meuron created for Fondazione Feltrinelli. The company has a long history of product collaboration with accomplished members of the architecture community.
The board room is dominated by a conference table from the Element Office Collection by Foster+Partners. The room’s AV is cleverly hidden by two sliding doors that are part of a UniFor patented furnishings line designed by architect Álvaro Siza.
Throughout the offices, uniquely inlaid oak floors unify the bright palette and infuse the space with calm. The curving pattern subtly contrasts the rectilinearity of the paneling system.
On the street-facing side, aluminum panels prevail, while on the courtyard garden side, Herzog & de Meuron used velvety finishes in bubbly primary colors to better match the softness of the greenery.
“[It is] a place which conveys the very essence of UniFor in all its technological excellence,” UniFor Managing Director Carlo Molteni said. Herzog + de Meuron’s return to the building exemplifies the brand’s long history of collaboration with cutting edge architecture and design through its bold and adaptable design that accommodates the needs of the modern workplace.