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The factory and the territory, between artifice and nature

Casalgrande Padana
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Casalgrande Padana’s “Old House” garden, designed by Kengo Kuma, won the 2016 Brand&Landscape Award. The work stood out for the way it integrates architecture and landscape within an industrial context.

For its 50th anniversary, back in 2010, Casalgrande Padana started enhancing the landscape around the production sites with a contemporary and high-quality architectural work. The CCCloud (Casalgrande Ceramic Cloud) is an outstanding landmark located on the roundabout in front of Casalgrande Padana’s production site. Kengo Kuma’s first work is the gift that the company wanted to give to the community.

The collaboration with the Japanese architect continued with the restoration of the “Old House”, a typical farmhouse in the countryside around Reggio Emilia, which survived the thorough industrial transformations this land underwent. Now that it is fully restored, it is used as a historical archive and documentation centre, and it also holds several events, such as exhibitions, cultural meetings, etc. This accurate and non-invasive intervention has restored the building’s functionality and structural stability, adding new possible uses.

The area surrounding the Old House was also involved in this renovation project, creating a visual and virtual connection between Kuma’s works, the production plant, and the surrounding landscape.

The Italian Association of Architects, Planners, Landscapers, and Conservationists, together with the international magazine, PAYSAGE TOPSCAPE, wanted to award a special prize to this garden/fruit orchard.

The 2016 Brand&Landscape Award confirmed the social function of architecture and gave the opportunity to think about the delicate relationship between industrial places and the landscape, production and the territory, the community and the places where we live and work.

The Old House summarises all this. The massive volume gracefully blends with the espaliered fruit orchard (which was what made the project win the award), which has more than 170 radially-planted apple trees. This makes the CCCloud the focus of attention. The white ceramic pedestrian pathways have a structured non-slip surface and never meet. The ceramic tiles are arranged at a short distance from one another to make them seem like they’re floating on the gravel. This solution hints at Japanese gardens and emphasises that feeling of lightness typical of Kuma’s style.

The prizes were awarded during the “Brand&Landscape” international symposium, an event organised by the Italian Association of Architects and “Paysage” during the XXI Triennale International Exhibition in Milan.

The factory and the territory, between artifice and nature

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