milan: fondazione prada relocation

© fondazione prada / photography: bas princen

fondazione prada is a cultural exponent of sorts of luxury fashion house prada. founded in 1993, its aim is to analyze present times through the staging of contemporary art exhibitions as well as architecture, cinema and philosophy projects. the foundation operates an outpost in venice, and here in milan it has had a venue for many years in a former bank archive in the heart of the city. but that location is temporary, and on sat - may 9 the institute will relocate to even bigger premises on the outskirts of town. fondazione prada has found a new home in a former distillery, a complex of seven industrial buildings from the early 20th century. 

the existing warehouses, laboratories and brewing silos have been complemented by three new structures, including a museum for temporary exhibitions, a transformable cinema building and a tower, all under the supervision of dutch starchitect rem koolhaas. obviously, the dimensions are enourmous. if you must know, the total built area is 18.900 sqm. [203,444 sq.ft.] of which no less than 12.300 sqm. [132,400 sq.ft.] is dedicated as exhibition space. the entrance building is home to two new facilities developed through special collaborations. the first is accademia dei bambini, an area for kids and designed by 18 students from the école nationale supérieure d’architecture de versailles.

the second facility is bar luce, a hospitality concept by american film director wes anderson, and one which oozes the distinct vibe of old milanese cafés. interestingly, architectural and decorative details from the original structure have been paired with key elements taken from galleria vittorio emanuele, one of milan's landmark buildings in the duomo area, creating a meticulously patterned decoration for the top half of the bar. the so-called torre, a ten-storey gallery space intended to display the permanent collections, will open at a later stage. the relocation being a much anticipated and festive occasion, fondazione prada will present an impressive series of special events.

artists robert gober and thomas demand have both created site-specific installations in dialogue with the venue's imposing industrial architecture and the new spaces within. film director roman polanski explores the cinematographic inspirations behind his artistic vision, and which have been translated into a new documentary and a series of film screenings. furthermore, cherry-picked artworks from prada's vast art collection will be presented in a series of thematic exhibitions. the serial classic exhibition, curated by salvatore settis and anna anguissola, completes the program. the project, whose display system has been conceived by koolhaas' architecture practice oma, focuses on classical sculpture, and explores the ambivalent relationship between originality and imitation in roman culture and its insistence on the circulation of multiples as an homage to greek art. location: largo isarco 2 [ripamonti].

© fondazione prada / photography: bas princen + atillo maranzano