New look for Coop’s Tuscan shopping centres
Milanese architects’ studio Lombardini22 had already completed work for retail giants like Auchan, Expo and Autogrill, when they were asked to undertake an extensive upgrade for Unicoop Firenze, the Florence section of the Italian Coop. Work on the prestigious project began in 2015, with the development of a new, organic and integrated look for the structures, complemented by a more modern image for the Coop brand.
One of Italy’s biggest Coops in terms if membership, Coop Firenze operates over 100 shopping centres in seven Tuscan provinces (Arezzo, Florence, Pisa, Lucca, Pistoia, Siena and Prato). Stores range from hypermarkets to supermarkets, neighbourhood stores and traditional shops.
The project was set various objectives. Given the need to renovate radically different architectural structures, one objective was to consolidate the Coop’s standing in the region, strengthen its ties with members and promote it to non-members. With this in mind, the Milanese team of architects began working on an image-oriented meta-project that led to the identification of specific priorities and guidelines for the work to be done partly by themselves and partly by other design teams.
Recognisability was a priority for the exteriors (in addition to a clearly identifiable logo, a standard architectural form was required for the façades and entrances to make the “containing structures” instantly recognisable). In a similar way, connectedness (with the surrounding area and with other outlets) was prioritised along with key aspects of design and management like safe and easy to maintain thoroughfares and environmentally friendly green areas. Key aspects of interior design included the presence of excellent natural and artificial light, quality furnishings, the arrangement of green areas and a stylish but functional finish.
Work completed under the project won awards and appeared in specialist publications (Studio Piuarch received the CNCC Deep Renovation & Design Award in May 2017 for the refurbishment of the Arezzo shopping centre). Though based on the same guidelines, the locations in Siena and Poggibonsi (also in the province of Siena), Castelfiorentino and Borgo San Lorenzo (near Florence) and Agliana (Pistoia) assigned to L22 in 2015 required very different restyling work.
The Poggibonsi project, for example (8500 sq.m.) required a rationalised interior and upgraded entrances, and made extensive use of new graphics, green areas and materials like glass and wood. The “Le Grondaie” centre in Siena on the other hand (6100 sq.m.) only required minor touches to the exterior (restyled green areas and outdoor furniture to create a more “urban” and welcoming look) and interior (the installation of noise reducing elements in the galleries). The Castelfiorentino shopping centre (4000 sq.m.) received a new backlit envelope of perforated metal panels around the existing cladding and saw the application of colour palettes inspired by the surrounding countryside, complemented by upgraded natural lighting. Renovation of the Borgo San Lorenzo Coop (8000 sq.m.) emphasised the age of the building, and made use of antique-look materials and rationalised lighting. Finally, at the Agliana Coop (11,000 sq.m.), work focused on the interior, with a new, more identifiable suspended ceiling to guide shoppers down the aisles, new sunshades to control natural light and a new square for relaxation and meeting.
Porcelain tile from Ceramica Vogue was used in all five locations to satisfy one of the main requirements: top quality, beautiful yet durable interiors. Square 5×5 tiles were chosen to form a coloured mosaic along the indoor galleries, giving each centre a new, contemporary look.
Ceramica Vogue, Interni collection, Trasparenze collection
INMilk, IN Silver, IN Iron, TR Iron
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): 1,5 %
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): GB min
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): >40 N/m2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): -
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant