It’s impossible to miss. Jutting out of the elegant Fondazione Prada is this bold, geometric tower of white concrete, iron and glass. It’s the final touch to a project by the OMA architecture firm, which saw a gin distillery from 1910 transformed into one of Milan’s most happening cultural and art spaces.
While the Fondazione Prada was officially opened in May 2015, it’s taken almost three years for it to be completed in a large-scale development that saw seven buildings renovated and three new structures added. The project was led by architect Rem Koolhaas along with his colleagues Chris van Duijn and Federico Pompignoli.
Aptly named the ‘Torre’, the final structure is the tallest and most starkly modern. While it contains a restaurant, panoramic terrace and rooftop, its main function is to exhibit Prada’s vast collection of 20th to 21st-century art pieces. To this end, each level is unique and complements the work within. The ceilings gradually get higher (from 2.7m on the ground floor to 8m at the top), the shape of the floor plan shifts, while natural light streams in from different angles. According to Rem Koolhaas, “by introducing so many spatial variables, the complexity of the architecture will promote an unstable, open programming.”
It adds to the varied architectural and design style of the complex, which includes such unusual structures as the Haunted House, a building covered in 24-carat gold leaf, a cinema camouflaged in mirrors, and a bar designed by Wes Anderson.
The Torre will open on 20 April in time for Milan’s Design Week.