— Frame Magazine —

Designed by Cino Zucchi, Pedrali’s new automated warehouse marries nature with the machine

Italian furniture brand Pedrali has opened the doors to a revamped automated warehouse and production facility in Mornico al Serio, a commune of Bergamo, Italy. The facility, which spans across an area of 7,000 sq. meters and houses over 16,500 pallets of high-end contract products stacked along a 29-meter high storage infrastructure, was designed by Milanese architect and academic, Cino Zucchi.

Dubbed Fili d’Erba – which in English translates to ‘blades of grass’ – the exterior façade of the new facility features striking aluminium profiles painted in varying shades of green. Extruding from the building’s smooth oyster grey skin, the ‘blades’ cast graphic shadows along the structure’s otherwise harmonious surface.

Depending on the angle, the extrusions appear either to blend in with the achromatic cladding or jut out in a burst of vivid colour. In the words of the architect: ‘The dull and uniform volume of the new warehouse is thus transformed into a visual phenomenon rich in variations, a kind of natural "amplifier" of the time of the day and the seasons. In certain moments it dissolves into the misty sky, reflecting its grey-blue tones, and in others it becomes imbued with the bright green of the agricultural fields in spring.’

Mirroring the aesthetics of the neighbouring agriculture, the design has received favourable recognition from Mornico al Serio’s Commissione per la Qualità Urbana (Committee for Urban Quality) for its modern interpretation of the surrounding landscape. Despite its pastoral references, Fili d’Erba does not disguise itself in nature or shy away from its industrial vocation. Rather than trying to conceal the machine, Zucchi exposes it, giving it an architectural identity that at once contrasts and compliments its rural context.

The building’s smart looks are equalled by a state-of-the-art interior architecture – the ‘brains’ of the operation, as it were. A dramatic lime green staircase and walkway leads visitors to the core of the facility, offering a birds-eye view of the mechanisms involved, which include a ‘skytrain’ and eight self-steering shuttles that run day in and day out at maximum speeds of 18 km/hour, transporting volumes of up to 2,000 kg to and from production and packaging departments.

‘With this important investment we gain more space for stock products and also achieve a higher efficiency in the manufacturing times of job orders’, explains Pedrali CEO Giuseppe Pedrali. ‘The new warehouse will furthermore open up new spaces within the production site where we are going to install new machines and consequently create new jobs’, he adds. The facility, which was officially inaugurated on the 22nd of September, is the first phase of the company’s plans for a future-proof design and manufacturing operation, one that proudly remains 100% ‘Made in Italy’.