MILAN — After three years of restoration, Gucci has unveiled its new headquarters in the historic Caproni aeronautics factory built in 1915 on Via Mecenate here, in the city’s eastern border near Linate’s international airport.
The space, dubbed Gucci Hub, covers 378,000 square feet and brings together the fashion house’s Milan offices, worldwide showrooms, fashion show venue and graphics and photo studios in one location housing more than 250 employees. But Gucci’s spring show scheduled for Wednesday will once again be held at the former train depot on Via Valtellina. The new show venue at the new headquarters will be inaugurated next year with the first show combining the men’s and women’s collections designed by creative director Alessandro Michele.
“The concept and design of our new Milan location symbolize every aspect of the new chapter that Gucci opened at the start of last year,” said Marco Bizzarri, president and chief executive officer of Gucci. “This highly contemporary space, rendered from within a historic building, will foster and nurture an open working environment that is at the core of a true learning organization. It will also become a place of cultural exchange, when we present the collections each season.”
The company’s Florence headquarters with over 1,300 employees will remain “the heart of our historic brand” and “the center of excellence for Gucci’s renowned craftsmanship and manufacturing,” said Bizzarri, “while our Rome-based design office represents the center of excellence for the company’s groundbreaking creativity.”
The first step in renovating the former aeronautics factory was to reconfigure what was once a production area with sheds that usher in natural light, said the company. Exposed-brick facades line the main road that connects the buildings and offices all the way to the covered plaza.
In the center of the complex stands a newly constructed six-story glass-front office tower set on more than 32,400 square feet of land. The tower’s striking size and shape and its dark metal components contrast with the red exposed brick of the original buildings. The hangars, once used for the final assembly of Caproni aircraft, were restored and occupy 41,580 square feet, including 21,600 square feet dedicated to staging shows. Gucci built an underground parking lot that accommodates 300 vehicles.
The interiors and common areas of the campus reflect Michele’s aesthetic vision, with one-of-a-kind pieces, theater seats, old bar countertops and vintage screens, armchairs and side tables.
The Caproni facilities had 2,300 employees by 1918, but closed in 1950, leaving the buildings for small-scale manufacturing and warehouse purposes. In 2013, Gucci selected this area for its new offices and hired Milanese architecture firm Piuarch to create a new design and concept while preserving the existing architecture.
In line with parent group Kering‘s environmental, ethical and social efforts, the new location is entirely sustainable. Upon completion, it will include a wooded area, a tree-lined plaza and several gardens, as well as patios and green walls. The buildings enjoy LEED Gold certification and the project will result in average energy cost savings of 25 percent. A portion of total annual energy expenses is offset by energy from renewable sources generated on site using a photovoltaic solar system. More than 90 percent of the waste produced at the site during the construction process was recycled.