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The World @ Home:
Interview with Park Associati

Filippo Pagliani and Michele Rossi, founders of Park Associati
© Park Associati

An interview with Michele Rossi, partner at Italian architecture firm Park Associati, about spaces that fulfil various needs and about design as a means of communication

Mr. Rossi, Park Associati work on very diverse projects from residential to retail spaces, from product design to office buildings. How would you describe your general approach?
Since our start as Park Associati in 2000, we tried to work on projects of different scale avoiding specialization. This is a typical Italian approach, where architects of our generation were trained as architects, interior designers and furniture designers in the same faculty. No matter the scale or the typology, our approach remains the same: a process more than an aesthetic philosophy. The strength of a project is given by many ideas put together and analysed. Each time it works like a big sponge that is then dried to make the synthesis. We avoid style or repetition: we always try to give what we believe is the right project for that specific client, site, brief.

Park Associati: Salewa Headquarters, Bolzano, Italy
© Oskar Dariz, courtesy Stahlbau Pichler and Park Associati

In fact, today’s lifestyles do not differentiate that much any more between different “spheres” of our life – working, living, leisure intermingle. How can e.g. designs for office spaces profit from residential or hospitality projects, and vice versa?
Our world is less and less a divided world. Spaces are used in more unconventional ways and they usually need to have more than one function. We must design spaces that can accommodate different needs; spaces that can be flexible in terms of layout, but also in atmosphere. And we believe it to be very beneficial for us that we have worked on such vast fields of projects in the last years. For example, we have designed an office building that houses also a climbing wall and a restaurant, and a restaurant that is also a conference/meeting room.

Park Associati: Nestlé Italy Headquarters, Assago (MI), Italy
© Andrea Martiradonna, courtesy Park Associati

For Electrolux you designed The Cube – a travelling restaurant pavilion which first appeared in Brussels and then moved to other European cities. Could this be exemplary for a company to connect to the people in a contemporary way?
The Cube was a great adventure: a wonderful concept to promote a brand through design. This year The Cube has been followed by Priceless: same concept, different client. First was Electrolux, second Mastercard to believe in communication of the brand through a provisional, itinerant piece of architecture destined to travel around and sit temporarily on buildings and monuments in major cities around Europe. Companies need new ways to communicate and to meet their clients, and we believe that new concepts, new visions can really help to do so.

Park Associati: Brioni international boutiques – new Brioni Concept Store worldwide
© Andrea Martiradonna, courtesy Park Associati

As part of the new, worldwide Brioni stores you developed a chandelier for Driade. How important is this creation “down to the detail” for you? And how do you start when designing objects, how important is the architectural space around them?
When we work on a project, no matter the scale, we always give a lot of importance to details. Therefore we find ourselves to design a lot of custom-made furniture for our projects. Some of this might have the potential to become a product. We love to design furniture, especially lamps, but we always feel embarrassed when we start thinking about a new object to put on the market: there are already so many chairs, tables, lamps. So it becomes more natural for us to work on a piece of furniture starting from an architectural or interior project. What we search to achieve in the architectural project is then used as a reference and an inspiration for the design of the object.

Park Associati: House in Val Tidone, Italy
© Andrea Martiradonna, courtesy Park Associati

For you as architects who are cooperating with companies which are present on the imm cologne: how important are the possibilities that such an event is offering?
As architects and designers, we always consider this event as a precious occasion to meet interesting people and to see new and exciting things. And of course, it’s a great meeting place to see again some friends living in different countries.

Park Associati: House in Val Tidone, Italy
© Andrea Martiradonna, courtesy Park Associati

Michele Rossi and Filippo Pagliani founded the architecture firm PARK ASSOCIATI in 2000 in Milan. PARK’s work covers all scales and typologies from big urban projects to the design of furniture and objects which often profit from architectural concepts as well. PARK ASSOCIATI have gained an international reputation with their projects who have been widely published. Next to their practical work as architects, Rossi and Pagliani both teach as professors at Milan Polytechnic.

The interview was conducted by Broekman + Partner