Just a few kilometres from Milan, the largest shopping centre in Europe has opened its doors.
We're talking about "Il Centro", the brand new mall that opened a few weeks ago in Arese at the ex-Alfa Romeo factory, which has a surface area of 120 thousand square metres.
In 2014, the studio Design International was asked to evaluate the structure and invent a new use for the sprawling building complex that hadn't been used in years.
After that, careful research and activity category models were completed to find an architecture that was impressive and large-scale while also being relatively non-invasive for the surrounding environment. This process led to the development of the current project.
The end result was an actual city street, both inside and outside, with an Iper la Grande superstore on one side and one of the largest covered octagonal squares in Europe, dedicated to fashion, on the other side.
Inside, a wide promenade runs between a series of buildings, tree-lined streets, squares, staircases and rest areas along a lively pathway that provides visitors with lots of things to look at and experience as they do their shopping.
Over 200 stores are involved in the project, many of which belong to internationally famous brands. Stores are presented differently at this shopping centre - instead of normal stores, they are actual "Palazzi" (buildings) inside their own city.
A particularly innovative method was adopted for the design of the roof, never before attempted on a shopping centre.
The roof structure is made of "gluelam beams" (structural glued laminated wood products made with sustainable materials). With its 40-metre high bays, it is one of the largest wood structures ever built in Europe for a shopping centre.
Moreover, the entire complex was designed to be compliant with rigid energy savings and biosustainability standards, promoted by the U.S. Green Building Council to obtain the prestigious Gold LEED® Certification.