Opened at the end of May in the Certosa district of Milan, CoFactory Designtech is the first Italian workshop for digital production and prefabrication. Designed by Pininfarina Architecture, the new innovation hub created for the community of innovators and startups stands inside the stock area of the former Koelliker plant, and is part of a wider ranging project of urban revitalization overseen by the real estate developer RealStep. The project by Pininfarina reflects the innovative character of CoFactory, in keeping with the principles of DfMA, Design for Manufacturing & Assembly, in which the environment is organized in relation to methods aimed at reducing the complexity of operations in the phases of design, production and assembly.

The renewal covers a total area of 1500 sqm on two levels, reorganized to create a facility for co-design and exchange. Outside, a green area welcomes visitors, who once inside the large two-story space encounter two zones: on the one hand, the industrial workshop of the latest generation, with numerically controlled machines and rapid prototyping tools; on the other, an area for gathering, exchange and social interaction.

A large wooden staircase – also conceived as seating for the audience during events – leads to the second level, a loft in which it is possible to find modular monochrome spaces that overlook the prototyping zone and are used as workshops, offices, meeting rooms and co-working areas.

From the standpoint of technology and impact the space designed by the studio Pininfarina Architecture stands out for the use of smart construction solutions and an approach that fosters collaboration with the players involved in CoFactory. Getting to the details, the loft and the modular walls have been produced off-site and then assembled in place, a solution that offers shorter worksite times and reduction of production waste.

Some of the cladding panels have even been made at the site, thanks to the presence of machinery prior to the official opening of the space. To guarantee maximum wellbeing, great attention has been paid to the quality of lighting and ventilation: natural light floods the spaces thanks to large skylights, a remnant of the former Koelliker plant which Pininfarina has recovered and revised.

The aeration system, on the other hand, made by the startup Aura System, relies on purification treatment to remove particulates and gases, based on a process implemented by micro-organisms present in the substrate and the roots of plants.