Il Centro once hosted one of the most prolific motor factories in Italy: the Alfa Romeo, one of the country’s most admired brands within the motor industry. The former Alfa Romeo factory will resurrect on 14 April 2016 as a shopping citadel bursting over 200 shops, cafés, restaurants, outdoor as well as indoor sport, cultural and health activities.
Il Centro will become the largest shopping centre built in one single phase in the country. With its 92,000m2 of GLA, it is in fact a superregional centre that will attract visitors from one of the most affluent and wealthiest populations across north Milan, the Lakes and Switzerland, with over 8 million within one hour reach. But what makes Arese unique and different is that it is not just a shopping centre – typically a hermetic and decontextualised “retail box”; instead it is a permeable street with indoor buildings, indoor and outdoor squares, porticos, gates and gardens. Arese is citadel of shops.
The project, designed by a consortium of renowned architects that include Davide Padoa of Design International, Michele de Lucchi and Arnaldo Zappa, features an outdoor retail and restaurant street, which will be accessible to the public till late night, as well as an indoor winding street on two levels, anchored by plazas, activities and events – like cities do.
Each plaza has its building. Each building has its brand. Each brand is a flagship. The hypermarket plaza, where Iper La Grande is addressed, has been transformed into a market place. On the upper level there will feature a restaurant court with dedicated seating in the piazza for each restaurant. The concept of the market place is that public spaces, restaurants, fresh products and exhibition areas are all blended together, so much so that Iper expands its products into the plaza and the plaza enters freely into the hypermarket. The market place climbs with a ramp from the ground floor to the restaurants’ court on the first floor, resembling the ramp of the Guggenheim in New York. Here, food and taste are on display.
At the opposite end of the internal street is the fashion plaza, which will feature premium and aspirational brands, some making their Italian store debut. At the centre of the plaza is the Il Palazzo dei Profumi, an area that breaks the space and creates a sequence of plazas at the same time. The plaza will host the largest collection of cosmetic as well as some luxury brands. On top of the Palazzo is an aperitivo bar offering a unique perspective of all brands and activities over the shopping streets. The fashion plaza will feature a hydraulic catwalk and state-of-the-art audio-visual media and lighting systems to broadcast events and shows.
Capitalising on the tradition of covered city streets like Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, the internal shopping street of Il Centro is covered by a continuous layer of compact high heat resistant Plexiglas – opaque from outside and transparent from inside. Under this natural roof, supported by one the largest glulam timber structures in Europe, each store front is treated individually and in three dimensions. Real trees are planted on both the internal and the external shopping streets, creating a shopping city where guests and visitors will meet and feel at home. The result is not just the transformation into a ‘factory of brands in a citadel’, it is also the most sustainable large scale shopping centre ever designed in Italy, which will be certified LEED Gold.
Project: Out of town regional shopping centre
Opening: April 14, 2016
Investors: Marco Brunelli (Finiper) 76%/ EuroMilano (including Unipol, Intesa San Paolo) 24%
Parking units: 3,000
Source: Europe Real Estate