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A building based on energy saving: the Prysmian Group headquarters

With almost 140 years of experience, the Prysmian Group is a world leader in the energy and telecommunications systems and cables sector. Designed by the architect, Maurizio Varratta, the Group’s new headquarters are located in the Bicocca area and the typical Lombardy mill-like shape of the complex deliberately recalls the traditional, industrial vocation of this area of Milan. Designed in compliance with the most innovative architectural criteria and a marked focus on energy efficiency and sustainability, the complex covers a surface area of 22,000 m2 and houses approximately 700 people.

The design consists of three blocks featuring offices, services and other facilities, connected and accessed by means of two glass-clad “greenhouse” structures featuring vegetation and pools of water that help regulate the microclimate.

The conference area is preceded by a small, glass-clad foyer located between the office block and the conference hall that is designed to welcome and direct visitors. The lighting system here is designed to ensure that the recessed Laser Blade devices, which have been especially redesigned to fit directly onto the metal structures that run the entire length of the foyer, blend in perfectly with their surroundings.

The lighting system for the conference room also includes the option of dimming and using coloured light. Here, Laser Blade High Contrast devices have been installed, in a monochrome and dimmable version for general lighting, and a dynamic colour change (RGB -DMX) version for scenic lighting. Scenic effects can also be projected outwards by the recessed Linealuce RGB luminaires arranged along the glass side walls of the hall that join with a number of the building’s outer walls.

The “greenhouses” include various types of greenery and are designed to be meeting areas as well as connect the various blocks. They also offer changes in perspective and contribute significantly to making working conditions more comfortable by guaranteeing a series of benefits linked to natural light as well as better energy performance levels. The roof flaps, for example, can be opened mechanically to integrate naturally cool air within the building’s air conditioning, thereby reducing costs, while also extracting smoke in the event of an emergency. The homogeneous and diffused artificial lighting in the greenhouse structures is created by Front Light spotlights suspended from a metal structure which uses a pendant system perfected in collaboration with the architect Maurizio Varratta.

In the office area, where the number of computer screens requires controlled luminance, recessed Reflex luminaires, with a 2000 Lumen rating, guarantee soft, diffused lighting that is integrated, when necessary, by a “Task Light” with specific functions. Moreover, the transit areas are illuminated using twin compartment versions of the Laser Blade High Contrast luminaire.

On the stairs that lead to the executive zone, the lighting enhances the prestigious character of the wood used. Thanks to their minimum size, twin compartment recessed Laser Blade luminaires have been installed under the stair tread surfaces following special laboratory tests that simulate real installation conditions to ensure the LED heat dissipation processes function correctly.

For the hall zone, in line with the architect’s requests, a special lighting system has been designed and produced entirely by iGuzzini, consisting of 158 ribbed glass spheres, each containing a 1 W LED, suspended at different heights from a track attached to the existing ceiling structure. The result is a series of softly lit, geometrical shapes that create a highly distinctive effect in this key area of the building.

DEGW were the business consultancy responsible for the interior design and space planning throughout the complex.

The design of the outdoor areas seeks to ensure the entire building is sustainable while also enhancing its various parts with vegetation. A range of plants has been chosen to help mark out the rhythm of the seasons and therefore improve people’s psychological wellbeing as well as indirectly save energy. The majority of the plants are deciduous, which means they offer cool shade in the summer and then shed their leaves in winter so they do not obstruct the entrance of natural light. This is complemented by artificial light whenever necessary.

In the outdoor areas, along the walkways, iWay luminaires with a low luminous flux were installed in compliance with the light pollution regulations applicable in the Lombardy region. The car park areas are illuminated using Delphi luminaires mounted on 7-metre poles and controlled by DALI protocol which defines the luminous flux on the basis of the various scenarios. In the greenery beside the greenhouses, which offer the offices a welcome change of scenery, iRoll luminaires were installed on lower, 4-metre poles to ensure that faces can be seen clearly. This is an extremely important feature in places designed for relaxation and socialising. As a matter of fact, architect Varratta’s vision is that light, both natural and artificial, is a feature that enhances not just the building, but also the surrounding area, continuing to express its unique character throughout the night.

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  • Year
  • Client
    Prysmian Group
  • Architectural project:
    Architect Maurizio Varratta
  • Structural engineering:
    S.C.E. Project
  • Interior design:
  • Design team:
    Maurizio Varratta, Luca Massone, Valentina Noli, Paola Loprevite, Marco Rusconi, Enrico Cianelli, Elisabetta Primavera, Roberto Casarini, Irene Cuppone
  • System design:
    Manens – Tifs Spa
  • Fire prevention:
    Gae Engineering Srl
  • Photographer
    Paolo Carlini