MILAN — The new Torre [tower] at Fondazione Prada was unveiled to stage the fall Prada show last week, but its official opening to the public will take place on April 20 during Milan’s international furniture and design trade show Salone del Mobile, running April 17 to 22.
Covering nine stories and around 21,600 square feet, Torre has changed the city’s skyline with its almost 200-foot-high white concrete structure. Its rectangular plan is constructed on a wedge-shaped site.
Six levels will be dedicated to exhibition spaces, conceived to display works and large installations from the Prada collection, which mostly includes contemporary art works by 20th- and 21st-century Italian and international artists, as well as other potential artistic projects. The remaining three floors will house a restaurant, murmured by sources to be a Michelin-starred locale, and other facilities. A 1,728-square-foot panoramic terrace with a rooftop bar will complete the building.
The Milan headquarters of Fondazione Prada, which was established in 1993, is a complex comprising seven existing buildings recovered from a distillery dating back to 1916 and three new structures, including Torre, all located in Largo Isarco, in the southern part of Milan. The foundation’s Venetian outpost continues to operate in the 18th-century palazzo Ca’ Corner della Regina.
Thanks to the variations of plan dimension, clear height and orientation, each floor of Torre presents specific environmental conditions. Half of the levels have a rectangular floor plan, while the other half display a trapezoid one. The clear height of the ceilings increases from bottom to top: from 8.8 feet on the first floor to more than 26 feet on the top level. Concrete and glass alternate on the facade with all-around views of Milan. A panoramic elevator is integrated in an inclined structure made of iron and concrete. Depending on the viewer’s observation point, given the irregular geometry of the tower, the building has a different appearance.
“By introducing so many spatial variables, the complexity of the architecture will promote an unstable, open programming,” said Koolhaas.