Imaginative neighbourhood engagement to launch a new landmark development in the centre of Milan with Allianz Real Estate.
Allianz’s former HQ in the centre of Milan is being reinvented by architects Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) as a cutting edge campus workspace for a new tenant. Designed by Italian design hero Gio Ponti in the 1950's, Corso Italia 23 is only a ten minute walk away from the Duomo in a part of Milan that is about to see a huge amount of change. The welcome redevelopment of this site and others in the area, plus a new metro station ready for 2022, means this rather staid and quiet part of Milan will become much more familiar to both the Milanese and visitors to the city over the coming years.
We were asked to engage with the neighbourhood, discover the hopes and fears for the area and ensure the re-introduction of the space was done in a sustainable, imaginative, sensitive and positive manner.
We worked in the neighbourhood for a year, involving the locals and wider city players to produce a pop-up public exhibition in October 2019 in the empty building. There were over 1,000 attendees and huge levels of press coverage.
“This neighbourhood doesn’t really have its own identity, it’s a place to pass through… yet Milan is on the up and this area is central to that”
We listened to the neighbourhood and the city from the outset, running workshops with leading figures from the worlds of development, technology and sustainability.
We conducted interviews with over 100 local residents to establish the pressing issues in the area and perceptions of how it was changing. We identified a number of key local heroes who we worked together with to develop events and content.
Enzo Margarita, Cobbler
Philippe Daverio, Art Critic & Local Resident
The buildings were originally designed by Gio Ponti, Piero Portaluppi and Antonio Fornaroli in the early 1960s, and served as the Allianz Italian headquarters until 2018. They're now being reinvented by renowned international practice Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, in a project that puts sustainability at its heart.
Key to the project is creating a new type of campus workspace. It will open up what was a closed, imposing office building to the surrounding area through new environmentally friendly facades, courtyards and a public square around a new metro station.
Gio Ponti was an Italian architect, designer, artist, teacher, writer and publisher. During his six-decade career, Ponti designed more than a hundred buildings in Italy and beyond. He was a major figure in the renewal of Italian design after the Second World War. He died in 1979.
The project needed a public launch that would place the building’s redevelopment in a wider context and highlight its innovative features to varied audience of local neighbours, city officials, and international architectural press.
We designed and produced a temporary exhibition in the building site as construction work was about to begin. Lavori In Corso (Work In Progress) featured portraits of the neighbourhood and city, as well as plans for the future of the building and area.
The exhibition was open to the public and attracted over 1000 visitors as well as PR coverage across web, print and TV.
“This is a groundbreaking and important project for Allianz Real Estate. Something More Near have been superb in helping us make the most of the reinvention of our former Italian HQ for a wider audience.”
We assembled a team in Milan to work closely with the local area alongside our London HQ. This team was led by writer and strategist Cosimo Bizzarri, with a Milanese crew of researchers, photographers and filmmakers. And one stellar saxophonist.