OMA Designed Fondazione Prada Campus in Milan

The new Milan venue of Fondazione Prada recently opened to the public. Designed by OMA – led by Rem Koolhaas – the 19,000 square meter complex embraces the coexistence of new and old architectural elements.

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Just south of the city centre in Largo Isacro, the new Fondazione Prada is sited in an old industrial complex. A century-old distillery containing brewing silos, laboratories and warehouses provide an unusual diversity of spatial environments. To this repertoire three new structures were added; a large exhibition pavilion, a tower and a cinema “so that the new Fondazione Prada represents a genuine collection of architectural spaces in addition to its holdings in art,” explains Rem Koolhaas, founding partner at OMA.

The project is a continuation of the long-term collaboration between Dutch architecture firm OMA and the Italian fashion house. “The Fondazione is not a preservation project and not a new architecture. Two conditions that are usually kept separate here confront each other in a state of permanent interaction — offering an ensemble of fragments that will not congeal into a single image, or allow any part to dominate the others,” Koolhaas explained.

“New, old, horizontal, vertical, wide, narrow, white, black, open, enclosed — all these contrasts establish the range of oppositions that define the new Fondazione. By introducing so many spatial variables, the complexity of the architecture will promote an unstable, open programming, where art and architecture will benefit from each other’s challenges,” Koolhaas said of the complex.

Established by the Italian Fashion house Prada in 1993, Fondazione Prada serves as a cultural organisation dedicated to art, cinema and philosophy.