Pisa, the temple of watchmaking

It is located in Via Verri 7, within a historic bourgeois palace in Milan. 1200 sq m spread over three floors, which dominate Milan’s “quadrilateral of fashion” facing Via Montenapoleone. A sacred aura surrounds Pisa Orologeria’s new flagship store, an international reference point for enthusiasts and collectors: a gallery leads to the entrance, defined by symmetrical alabaster counters and dominated, in the center, by the brass Labyrinth – the brand’s logo – embedded in the marble floor.

This is the focal point that forms the basis for the overall concept of the store. The creative force behind the project was Art Director Antonio Vittorio Carena, who incorporated the structure of a planetarium in the architectural design, in which the moon and the planets are conceptually represented by surroundings that gravitate around the Labyrinth, or in Pisa, the sun:  thus, the valuable watches are the stars that light up the night sky. «The circularity of the store, from the walls to the steps, is accentuated by the orbits that spread out vertically from the central orbit, repeated on every floor – the architect explains – If he first floor is a marble labyrinth, the second corresponds to a rug, while the third is a black mirror.»

Even the names of the areas follows that philosophy: the entrance is referred to as Dial, flanked by brass wings with a circular design in which the constellations of the elements of the Pisa family are represented; occupying a deeper space, the Satellite area is for brands with concepts that are always personalized; an imposing mahogany staircase leads to the Orbits on the second floor, the most intimate and secluded lounges, in which each disk contains a different brand that gravitates in the space.

The Observatory, beneath the structure’s dome on the third floor, has a hybrid character – it is a distinctive area specifically designed for events and special projects to celebrate the watchmaking world in all its diversity; the other area houses the hospitality lab and the technical lab, open to the public for the first time. «The Observatory was created with the dual aim of returning to the central concept of watchmaking, where watches become an extension, and to transform this store into an international boutique and thus be able to speak to the world in a unique language ».

The architectural design – which also involved moving the facade of the palazzo back by 160cm to create the external gallery – projects Pisa towards the future and towards a process of internationalization, while the interior design reflects the brand's history, which was founded 75 years ago with the Pisa brothers’ first workshop right in via Verri and is now in its third generation. «The shades were chosen by analyzing all the brand stores from 1940 to the present day – it was not a trendy choice, because Pisa Orologeria wants to be a trendsetter itself – says Vittorio Carena –  Consequently, all the historic materials are present, integrated in the contemporary era, such as mahogany, traditionally shiny, but in this case matt.

In fact, all the finishes are matt because we wanted watches to be the only things that shine in the store.» The white marble is gray Istrian stone, the fine-grain earthenware was redesigned with a medium- large grain texture. Finally, new materials were used, including the metal galvanic finish of the matrix, which was also used for the finishes of the furnishing accessories, designed by Romeo Sozzi or custom-made.

Pisa Orologeria is part of the collection Contract&Hospitality – Spring/Sumer Book 2016 by IFDM, also available in digital version.

Ownership: Pisa Orologeria
Interior design firm: Antonio Vittorio Carena
Furniture main supplier: Promemoria design by Romeo Sozzi
Photo credits: Antinor