Il Centro Shopping Centre - Arese (MI)

Unexpected, thrilling architecture

The iconic "Il Centro" shopping centre building in Arese, one of Europe's largest retail spaces, stands on the site where the legendary Alfa Romeo cars were built
Santino Limonta
Alessandro Della Savia (DS Visuals)
Davide Padoa, Michele De Lucchi, Arnaldo Zappa

The story of the Il Centro shopping centre, winner of the Mapic Award 2016 in Cannes for the „Best New Shopping Center of the year“, has three architects as its main characters. In what was perhaps a sign of destiny, the first, Davide Padoa, was born here and as a child used to play in the nearby fields, occasionally sneaking into what was then the Alfa Romeo factory. He completed his studies in California and went on to design the tallest skyscraper in Jakarta. In London he became CEO of Design International and oversaw dozens of highly original global projects. The second, Michele De Lucchi, has won countless international recognitions, including two Compassi d’oro awards, and completed projects all over the world. In particular he designed the Pavilion Zero at the Milan Expo 2015 and has an enduring passion for wood. The third architect is Arnaldo Zappa, who has worked with Finiper for many years and is renowned for his extensive experience in the design of retail buildings. With an architectural task force of this calibre, commissioned in 2014 by Finiper’s owner Marco Brunelli to create more than just a „run-of-the-mill shopping centre“ in Arese, it was hardly a surprise that the result would go on to win the Cannes award. The shopping centre can boast some staggering figures: 400,000 square metres of total floor space, 92,000 square metres of rentable space, more than 200 stores, 25 restaurants and cafés and 150,000 square metres of car parks. But the most surprising thing of all is the innovative concept, summed up in the Cannes jury statement: a sustainable approach to materials, simplicity of use, the use of natural light and visual perspectives. „Standing beyond the large tree-lined car park, Il Centro has a long, articulated front shaded by a wooden portico sustained by robust green Verde Alpi marble columns,“ commented Michele De Lucchi. „The entrances are marked by taller, projecting constructions, also made of wood, which interrupt the line of the roof and reflect the dimensions of the central gallery.“ The central gallery itself is based on a streetscape concept with an alternation of houses, gardens and plazas, each with their own distinctive features. It draws inspiration from rural architecture and makes extensive use of wood. This is also reflected in the 430 wood inlay panels that decorate the façade and recall the systems used to shade barns on Lombardy farms. The dramatic, eye-catching roof is constructed from 40-metre-long Glulam (structural lamellar wood) beams and joists covered with transparent polycarbonate sheets to provide protection from the elements. The technical solutions adopted guaranteed a linear connection along the entire 676 metres between the first and last columns. The hexagonal plaza in particular stands out for its striking roof structure. It consists of six heavy Glulam modules which were set individually on the ground and then joined at the top using a shoring tower. Ceramic tile is another key element of the project. To meet all the design requirements for floors and walls, Mirage supplied more than 60,000 square metres of porcelain tiles from five different collections. The use of stone and wood effects in conjunction with the Norr and Signature collections dominates the courtyards and outdoor areas, while the Tribeca,, Jewels and Stones 2.0 collections alternate in the indoor communal areas. The choice of a 20 mm thickness meant that heavy vehicles could transit over the unprotected floors during the construction stage. Mapei also contributed to the construction of Il Centro and gave the architects and building contractors advice on the internal structures and tile installation. Mapei products, especially ceramic tile and resilient floor materials, were used in more than 100 stores.

Mirage: Norr, Signature, Tribeca,, Jewels, Stones 2.0
porcelain stoneware
Technische Eigenschaften
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): compliant
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): compliant
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): compliant
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): compliant
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): compliant
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Projektinformationen anfordern > Produktgalerie >