As a general rule, shoppers don’t usually trek to malls, park their cars and trudge through parking lots to check out the architecture. But Boeri Studio is trying to change that with its futuristic overhaul of Italy’s first shopping mall.
In fact, Cinisello Balsamo Shopping Center pretty much shows no trace of the nondescript, industrial-looking space it was built as in 1974. Located on the outskirts of Milan, the structure has been revamped to make the mall more alluring to Italy’s design-minded consumers. The combination of the new parking garage’s Space Age-type alveolar polycarbonate panels and bulbous windows with rear lighting is meant to be enthralling at night. The mall’s interior has been rejigged and the exterior has been clad with perforated stainless steel, giving the effect of a gigantic cheese grater.
Boeri Studio’s founder Stefano Boeri is known for using different disciplines to transform European urban areas. He has curated such exhibitions as “Mutations,” with Hans Ulrich Obrist and Rem Koolhaas, and has created such installations as the “Uncertain States of Europe,” reflecting the new urban status quo for the Paris IFA, the Venice Biennale and the Milan Triennale.
So Boeri was understandably up for the challenge of creating an innovative and contemporary image from an outdated structure. He also liked the idea of working on Italy’s first shopping center.