Pedrali grows among Blades of Grass

«A kind of natural amplifier of the time of day and the seasons». Cino Zucchi could not have found more appropriate and evocative words to describe Pedrali’s new automated warehouse, designed by his firm and located in the company’s manufacturing complex in Mornico al Serio (Province of Bergamo). The inauguration of the building last week drew attention to the most innovative aspects of the project, which is spread over an area of 7,000 sq m and rises to a height of 29m.

The project can be considered revolutionary for a number of different reasons. First of all, due to the cutting-edge technology that lies at its heart: completely automated, active 24 hours a day, the warehouse enables storage of 16,880 pallets of finished and semi-finished products. The pallets arrive at the warehouse transported by a Skytrain and by eight self-steering shuttles. They are then stored in the large load-bearing shelving area by five stacker cranes.

The perfectly functional interior apparatus is matched by the equally innovative industrial architecture design of the exterior. The creative mind behind the project is the Cino Zucchi Architetti firm, which pursued the idea of a «fifth wing that responds to the different conditions of the surrounding landscape».

At first glance, the building looks like a parallelepiped inflected by two additional volumes, the first of which is at the south/west corner, which constitutes the visitors’ route into the complex, while the second forms the missing side of the loading/unloading yard.

So why Blades of Grass? The reason can be easily detected in the simple extruded aluminium elements that generate the visual pattern that covers the four walls of the warehouse (which are clad at the base with smooth insulating panels that have a natural aluminium colour). A combination of vertical and oblique lines which, like gigantic “blades of grass”, punctuate the structure and reproduce the warm, natural colors of the surrounding environment – three shades of green – on the west side, which faces the fields and the irrigation ditch.

«The interplay of length, direction and intensity of the shadows of these “blades” at different times of day, combined with their mix of colours and the variation of the front and passing views – explains Cino Zucchi – creates a very active and enchanting spectacle».

Thus, the design overcomes the concept of environmental mitigation: here, the work becomes an active part of the natural context, «an important sign of the roots of Pedrali and of the people who work in a particular area like the Bergamo district».