Vodafone Village, Italy
Innovative design, urban redevelopment of an abandoned industrial area, quality workplaces, sustainable materials and technologies – this is the Vodafone Village, an eco-technological complex built in Milan, Italy, to house the 3,000 employees who work at Vodafone’s offices in northern Italy.
The three tower blocks standing 60, 55, and 42 metres high, together with an auditorium, make for a surface area totaling 67,000 m2. The buildings were designed by architects Roland Gantès and Roberto Morisi; the interiors by Dante O. Benini & Partners Architects. HeidelbergCement’s subsidiary Italcementi put its own signature on the exterior of the Vodafone Village office buildings, which were made with TX Active® white cement.
An example of virtuous architecture and eco-compatible design, the Vodafone Village also features a "photovoltaic garden", where the panels are an integral architectural element. Solar energy is used to generate auxiliary power, while the 27,000 m2 of glazing illuminate the offices with full natural light and provide specific energy-efficiency features to cut demand for air-conditioning in the summer.
The entire area resembles a medieval village ("Borgo Lorenteggio"), with the buildings gathered around a super-elevated square – a meeting place for the social growth of the community. Research into the concept of a "modern borough" provided inspiration for the architects as they modeled the facades with curving elements in a spiral around the complex, while the interior is dominated by the sheer transparent faces overlooking the communal square.
A distinctive feature is the cadenced rhythm of solid and space, where the spaces are spectacular, fully glazed sky-to-earth facades, and the solids echo the walls of an ancient borgo: forceful and compact, they nevertheless maintain a dialogue with the light, animated by the whiteness of their surfaces. An essential element here is the use of panels of white TX Active® cement: Italcementi's patented photocatalytic cement, whose active principle reacts with sunlight to keep the cement clean, helping to eliminate smog particles from the surface and preserve its white colour. An environmental as well as compositional and formal choice, TX Active® combines the high plastic quality of cement with the chromatic elegance of white, emphasising and enhancing the formal softness and fluidity of these buildings with the elliptical shape of their ground plan expressed fully through the facades – facades that interweave in a kaleidoscope of light and shadow.