Gucci Hub: How to Make Adaptive Reuse Fashionably Sustainable

April 25, 2024

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By 

Albert Aycardo

Architecture firm Piuarch crafts a stylish transformation for a former aeronautical factory into the home of one of the world’s most famous fashion brands. Built in 2016, Gucci’s Hub employs adaptive reuse to the historical buildings, adding a touch of sustainable luxury to its architecture. It’s an assembly of the industrial past infused with Gucci’s forward-thinking vision in the heart of Milan.

Tailored By History 

The Caproni Factory was a pioneering aeronautical plant established in 1915. The company is well-known for its aircraft designs that played a crucial role in Italy’s aviation history. Unfortunately, the factory was shut down in the 1950s. From its sprawling complex, Gucci saw a historical site ripe for reinvention. 

As such, the renowned fashion house set out to build their headquarters within its 323,000 square foot grounds to accommodate over 250 employees and visitors. They wanted to honor its legacy while also adding their distinct touch molded by the brand’s future vision.  

Firstly, the designers preserved the factory’s original architectural elements. Exposed brick facades, saw-toothed shed roofs, and vast hangar spaces are unabashedly retained. In contrast, a large six-story glass and metal tower stands at the heart of the complex. It offers a juxtaposition to its retro surroundings with a more contemporary design. 

The overall form balances the low-slung, repetitive nature of the original buildings with the verticality of the modern tower. This results in a harmonious relationship between old and new structures that showcases the beauty of adaptive reuse. 

Threads From Past and Present 

Gucci redefines the vast industrial spaces with a bright design that introduces something new to its aged place. Once used for aircraft assembly, the former hanger is now a breathtaking event space for fashion shows and large-scale gatherings. Hallways are crafted with an understated elegance formed by its monochromatic colors of black and white. Former factory spaces are renewed to host showrooms, photo studios, and workshops. 

The hangar features a massive glass wall that opens to the exterior courtyard. The suspended metal walkways and staircases add opportunities for dynamic vantage points. Custom details, such as perforated metal screens and geometric lighting fixtures, convey a touch of refinement. Pops of color throughout standout against the factory-setting, as seen in the sculptural staircase.

Just like its original use, the Gucci Hub supports the brand’s creative work with cutting-edge technology. The project houses specialized production areas for the brand’s iconic leather goods and accessories. It’s an ode to the rich heritage of Italian manufacturing as they work within this historic space. 

Meanwhile, the Hub holds more contemporary forms of work with digital technology. Design tools and 3D printing support workflows that push the boundaries of fashion creation. It’s a fusion of time-honor techniques and modern innovation.

Making Sustainability Fashionable

Gucci Hub’s design puts sustainability at the forefront with LEED Gold certification. The building saves on 25% of energy costs through a variety of eco-friendly features. Photovoltaic panels create renewable energy production on site. Geothermal heating and cooling systems assist in minimizing temperature-regulation consumption. Advanced management systems reduce 20% of water usage. Furthermore, the team’s thorough process recycled 90% of the construction waste the project produced. 

In the context of its place, extensive greenery all throughout provides relief to the vast landscape. Gardens and a large plaza add trees to the surroundings across the property.  By prioritizing environmental responsibility, the Gucci Hub demonstrates that style can also be inclusive to eco-friendliness.

Elevating Italian Icons 

Aside from just the fashion world, The Gucci Hub extends its influence onto the city it has called  home. It contributes to Milan’s efforts to reimagine its past with new vibrant spaces for future use. As a shining example, other projects have also followed suit in breathing new life to abandoned factories and warehouses.  

Piuarch masterfully brings together adaptive reuse, sustainable features, and innovative technologies. It took an old factory and brought it up to modern standards with a luxurious take on sustainability and design. 

Read more: The Reinvention And Rebuilding Of The House Of Gucci

Photo credit : Andrea Martiradonna

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