MILAN — Golden Goose is turning 20 this year and the Italian brand is marking the anniversary with a sprawling new headquarters in Milan.
Located in Via Ercole Marelli, not far from Fondazione Prada and in the area that will house the Olympic Village for the Milan-Cortina Winter Olympics in 2026, the project is the result of the renovation of two industrial buildings. It nods to the company’s first headquarters in an old foundry in Marghera, near Venice.
One can’t miss the striking building, as two 3-D, intersecting parallelograms covered in black microperforated metal sheet, or Kalzip, create a geometric effect. Offices are located in the largest building, covering three levels and almost 40,000 square feet, while the smaller, one-story, 10,800-square-foot building houses the brand’s showroom.
The absence of pillars in the original structure made it possible to develop a centripetal project in which everything converges toward the central patio — an invitation to socialize.
In addition to a concrete tunnel at the entrance, there are several architectural elements reminiscent of the history of the brand and its Venetian roots.
Metal carpentry is characterized by V-shaped pillars, which are also present at Golden Goose’s original headquarters in Marghera, while the floor was created by setting 6,300 stars made of Carrara marble. This harks back to the technique used for historic Venetian terraces and for the mosaic design created by architect Carlo Scarpa in the Olivetti store in Venice. Lamps inspired by those at the Met Breuer museum in New York, near the brand’s Madison Avenue flagship, light up this space.
Four gilded alcoves are in the building housing the offices, inspired by the Golden Goose LAB stores, where sneakers are personalized. A patio with a large pool of water covered with black stones evokes Japan — a source of continuous inspiration for the brand.
Workspaces and meeting rooms around the patio are identified by numbers that recall significant moments for the company. Room 750, for example, identifies the number of employees at the time of the opening of the new headquarters. Room 193 nods to the perimeter in millimeters of the brand’s signature golden star logo. The company is planning for employees to return to the new headquarters in staggered turns, but smart working also will continue to be allowed given the lockdown restrictions imposed as a result of the pandemic.
A series of “phone booths” were conceived to allow moments of privacy, and there is a break room, where employees can play table football with a gold-plated soccer table.
Chief executive officer Silvio Campara underscored that the new headquarters were designed for the well-being of its employees, placed at the center of the project, in “a place where everyone can feel relevant. The architecture itself underlines the strength of the collective and the possibility of being able to express one’s ideas.”
He described the location as “perfect in its imperfection where you can build collective and individual experiences and success stories every day.” He also sees it as “a real creative hub to let our people experiment, create and dream.” The space, he contended, “carries within the history of the brand” through its architectural elements, while at the same time being projected into the future.
Campara’s office is wrapped in a three-dimensional painting created by New York-based South Korean artist Stickymonger, or Joohee Park. As per her website, her “obsession [is] to convert spaces into imaginary worlds that emerge as giant mural installations.” Her works also decorate an area of the World Trade Center in New York.
The young executive underscored that the venue “marks a new way of interacting and connecting with the employees, introducing benefits and policies that improve the management of everyone’s agenda,” and is a space that can inspire creativity in a “circular approach: from the place, to the people, to the world.”
Flexibility will be channeled through structured smart working. Golden Goose has initiated a corporate welfare program and an internal concierge service will be available for personal errands, and home and family-care services.
In addition, the company will offer employees the potential to benefit from baby-sitting, dog-sitting and care services for the elderly during weekends and in the evenings.
Other measures to support new families will be implemented, such as financial contributions for the birth of children and adoption, and there will be economic incentives and more time allowed for mothers and fathers to look after their newborns.
Finally, employees will be granted time to devote to volunteer activities.
The LABs were the blueprint for the Dream room, with sneakers hanging from the ceilings and walls lined with distressing machines. The chairs are customized with the word “Dream Maker,” inciting employees to contribute to the future development of the brand.
Sneakers are the brand’s core business and account for around 80 percent of sales, but Golden Goose has been developing and expanding its accessories and ready-to-wear.
Golden Goose achieved much of its success with the Superstar sneaker, which offers 400 variations a year. The brand prides itself on keeping its products handmade in Italy and offers customization through the LAB project.
Swings are placed on the outdoor terraced area on the the rooftop on the second floor. There is also a Golden Bench on which visitors can leave a message of love. Inside, there is a restaurant with open kitchen managed by Vicook, the catering service that boasts an important partnership with the three Michelin-star restaurant Da Vittorio. The space is completely covered in Rubelli silk — another nod to the brand’s Venetian heritage.
Part of the restaurant is reserved for a hydroponic garden whose produce will be used for the daily menu.
The new headquarters reflect the brand’s sustainable approach, exemplified by an area dedicated to e-bikes and electric machines available for employees.
In the showroom, the walls are entirely flocked and the lighting system consists of a string of 11 18-meter-long LED strips. The industrial furnishings are entirely chromed in gold.
In February last year, private equity fund Permira took control of Golden Goose from Carlyle at a price that sources pegged at 1.28 billion euros. Carlyle retains a minority stake in the business.