Fondazione Prada, the place to be in Milan

Zlata Golaboska | Live the World

November 23, 2022

A bit about Prada

Prada is one of the most famous fashion brands and you would have to live under a stone for quite a few years not to have heard about it. Even the devil wears it! The story of Prada begins in Mi[lan](, at the start of the 20th century, when the company was founded by Mario Prada. Latter this brand got inherited by his granddaughter, Miuccia Prada. The brand took off in 1979 and transformed into a big company,  from simply being a humble leather store in Milan up to that moment. Miuccia created waterproof bags in the 1980's. Everything after is well-known history.

A bit about the foundation

The foundation is established as a means of support to ideas; more precisely the foundation is focused on ideas in general and how those are transformed into specific expressions or art disciplines. Therefore, since 1995, the year of commencement, this foundation has been working with several disciplines and cultural products: art, science, literature, cinema, music, and philosophy.

Picture © Credits to Flickr/Fred Romero

This idea about "hosting and merging ideas" resulted in the need for a permanent cultural complex, which would raise new opportunities to enlarge and enrich the process of learning. A permanent complex designed by OMA studio led by Rem Koolhaas, was unveiled in May 2015 as a response to this need. The hunger for high quality architectural design is about to be satisfied.

Rem Koolhaas is a Dutch architect, in fact, one of the most important nowadays. Zaha Hadid **was one of his students! He had some unsuccessful design proposals for the European Union flag*, using bar code stripes in several colors. The idea however, wasn't accepted at the end. (This info stands here just to trigger you to Google this guy*!).

Back to the venue. Placed in Largo Isarco, in the south of Milan, the compound contracts on an overall surface of 19.000 m sq.  The complex combines seven existing buildings (some of these structures hosted a distillery back in the 1910's) with three new structures. The new Structures are the Podium, Cinema, and Torre.

Picture © Credits to Wikimedia/DesignerToparchitect

The Torre is the main point of the complex. A white concrete vertical structure, 60-meter high, offering nine levels of original internal environments, is exactly what you need in an art complex.  The southern side of Torre presents a diagonal structure inside, where a panoramic elevator is integrated.

Picture © Credits to Flickr/August Fischer

New, old, wide, narrow, horizontal, vertical, white, black, open, and enclosed – all these contrasts define the new Fondazione complex. Koolhaas tried to introduce the space with many different attributes. This complexity of the architecture will lead to unstable and open programming, where art and architecture will exist in unity. A much more accepted design than his European flag proposal...

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