Breathing new life into an old industrial building
Unprogetto + studio Bulbus | Carlotta Berta, Elisabetta Paiano, Francesca Grua, Valeria Icardi
Located in Collegno, a town of 50,000 inhabitants on the outskirts of Turin, the newly opened Brix Brew Pub occupies the fully converted spaces of a former industrial building dating back to the 1960s. The renovation project was assigned to Carlotta Berta and Francesca Grua (Studio unprogetto), Elisabetta Paiano (Studio Bulbus) and Valeria Icardi (Bottega Botanica).
The conversion project reflects the dramatic changes that are taking place in this area of the city. The town of Collegno expanded rapidly after World War II along the Baroque road connecting Turin with Rivoli. It was home to a famous lunatic asylum housed in the 17th-century Certosa Reale, a building that will soon be converted for use by the University of Turin. The town is also famous for the Leumann Village, the ground-breaking workers’ district set up in the late 19th century by the visionary Swiss entrepreneur Napoleone Leumann to house his cotton mill employees.
Brix Brew Pub is located at the centre of a well-established industrial area that is undergoing large-scale development following the relatively recent arrival of the metro. Alongside the original fabric of small manufacturing businesses, the new development includes housing, a shopping centre, shops and services, some of which occupy newly converted disused buildings and some previously vacant plots.
This specific project gave a new lease of life to a prefabricated volume that had housed a small family business for decades until the youngest generation of the owner family decided to invest in a pub with a kitchen and craft beer production area. The large, high-ceilinged interior spaces of the former industrial building were reorganised without abandoning their distinctive features. The internal levels were doubled with the addition of a new mezzanine floor supported by an exposed metal structure and accessed by a large two-flight staircase. The kitchen and the large beer production facilities are located on the ground floor, both of which are visible behind the long counter which runs diagonally to create a more dynamic layout.
The areas set aside for customers occupy both levels: the ground floor is used for beer-tasting and is furnished with comfortable sofas and chairs, while the first floor houses the restaurant with an adjoining informal relaxation area.
The interior design stands out for the use of reclaimed items of furniture together with custom-made furnishing accessories. It defines and adapts to the functions of the various spaces, combining velvet with wood and metal. The landscaping and lighting are an integral part of a transformation project that uses pale, neutral background colours. Italian porcelain tiles from ABK play a leading role and were chosen in various types and finishes for all the floors. The Ghost collection in the Rope version emphasises the industrial nature of the ground floor through the use of warm dusty tones, while Play Labirinth – a modern interpretation of traditional cement tiles – were chosen for the upper floor in the Clay and Sage versions.
“The challenge we faced with Brix was to create a youthful, innovative interior while maintaining the industrial spirit of the location,” comments Carlotta Berta. “It is a brew pub with a kitchen run by three under-30s: Rachele, the master brewer; Davide, the cook; and Alessandro, the bartender. The large spaces could be adapted to very different uses, from the restaurant to wine tasting and the pub, but the design intention was to maintain a strong unifying theme. Metal, light bulbs and plants were the key elements of this design approach, which extends through the various spaces thanks to the use of grid panels, reinforced concrete pillars and industrial staircases.”
ABK, Ghost and Play series
Rope, Labyrinth Clay e Labyrinth Sage
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): E ≤ 0,5%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): GB
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): conforme
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): conforme
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): ≥ 35 N/mm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R10-R11
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): conforme