Piero Busnelli, the Managing Director of the Italian furniture manufacturer, B&B Italia, so admired the designs for the Centre Pompidou that he commissioned Piano + Rogers to design his company’s new offices.
The brief called for a high degree of flexibility and this building reflects the practice’s enthusiasm for open-ended systems that can be added to or subtracted from – it has a clarity and sense of order coupled with an elegant economy of means.
The idea was to reduce everything to a very slender structure, a sort of filigree: it required a great deal of patience and some acrobatics. The structure consists of a series of lightweight portal frames from which the
highly glazed office container is suspended, with servicing occupying the space between the two. The interior of the building is entirely column-free, contained within a box suspended from a series of twenty tubular steel portal frames spanning 30 metres. Services are restricted to the perimeter, obviating the need for fixed internal elements – walls and partitions can be freely moved around. The elevation of the office floor provides for electronic information services, plant-room and storage. In the bridge which links the offices to the existing factory lightness is taken to a new extreme.