Situated on the Fantoni furniture design company manufacturing campus, in Osoppo, Italy, started by renowned Italian architect Gino Valle in 1972 and continued by his son Pietro Valle, the new building imposes like a cathedral.
Plaxil 8 accommodates a new totally automated production line for MDF boards used for the manufacture of furniture, doors, interior panelling and sound-absorbing materials – the largest press in Europe and the second largest in the world. The building is designed as a visual scaffolding that dialogues with the machinery, creating a new interior and exterior landscape that merges creatively with the existing buildings, in interplay with the continuously evolving industrial landscape.
Supported by lattice trusses the 300m long and 28m wide single span structure covers an area of 8,500m2 with an average height of 14.50m in its linear section, though it rises up to 50m on its western side where a large metal frame supports the various levels of the mat formation plant.
Housing the service areas, the entire lower section of Plaxil 8 is clad in prefab concrete panels cast onto corrugated sheet metal forms, to create a continuous fretted texture setting out the metal vectors entering and exiting the building. The sloped section of the roof is also covered by reflective metal panels, ribbed vertically to retain the large diagonal “fillet” that characterises the silhouette of the building against the sky.
The building interior also interacts with the machinery that is left exposed – partially covered by metal mesh – as a crescendo of lightweight overlapping frames, thus obtaining a new internal transparency.