UniFor: product design meets architecture

The location of the brand’s new showroom is inside Fondazione Giangiacomo Feltrinelli, part of the Porta Nuova district in Milan

UniFor showroom, Milan - Photo © Delfino Sisto Legnani & Alessandro Saletta - DSL Studio
UniFor showroom, Milan - Photo © Delfino Sisto Legnani & Alessandro Saletta - DSL Studio

Repetition of simple geometric forms, rows of triangular columns and transparent zones, in a building designed by Herzog & de Meuron which hosts the new UniFor showroom at Viale Pasubio 15 in Milan. Inside Fondazione Giangiacomo Feltrinelli, a true icon by the Swiss duo in the new Porta Nuova district, there is a dynamic of constant transformation. The opening of the new showroom comes more than 30 years after that of the first flagship store in Milan on Corso Matteotti, opened in 1988 and designed by Afra & Tobia Scarpa.

​The interior design reflects the principles of regularity and continuity of the structure that contains the space, a long wing with a peaked roof perfectly inserted in the façade. The architecture and the interiors establish a dialogue with a shared language and the rooms take on a site-specific identity.

Between Viale Pasubio and the plaza of Passeggiata Boris Pasternak, the showroom interprets two ideas: the dynamism of the street, faced by the main windows, and the more meditative context of the park-plaza. Inside the showroom, three-dimensional wooden partition panels mark the internal perimeter of the space.

The zones for the various functions are not divided by walls, but organized in areas that can be reshaped depending on changing needs, thanks to a system of mobile partitions. It is possible to create a set of small display areas, a space for events, a private meeting room or a setting for large public gatherings.

Visitors are welcomed by a monolith of mirror-finish stainless steel designed by Herzog & de Meuron, with an open, visible kitchenette. Facing the park, the meeting room is joined by a showcase with some of the most representative pieces in the collections of UniFor and Vitra (for which UniFor is the distributor in Italy and Australia), placed on platforms of mirror-finish stainless steel.

​The operative zone, in a tribute to the building, hosts tables from the collection created by Herzog & de Meuron and produced by UniFor for the Fondazione Feltrinelli project. The décor of the area is completed by modular cabinets from the LessLess series by Jean Nouvel.

Brushed aluminium is the protagonist of the side of the showroom facing the street; the area facing towards the park, on the other hand, features velvets in vivid colors, including yellow, blue and pink, making room for a soft, luminous character where the encounter of the two materials generates an unexpected, stimulating contrast.