Bank of Pisa – Serious Outwardly, Cheerful Inside

The latest work of Italian architect Massimo Mariani, one of the shooting stars of postmodernism, proposes a sober contrast between exterior and colorful interior.

The recent creation of the headquarters of the Bank of Fornacette Pisa (on that last Italian city) claimed his intense intellectual and professional activity.

The veteran architect and designer of Pistoia synthesized with this work, the evolution of a thought that did not stop growing since his debut as a designer.

Almost forgotten today, Mariani shot to fame in 1986 when he founded the Movement Bolidista with 15 fellow graduates of the Faculty of Architecture of Florence. Immediately, the Bolidismo was considered the last word in Italian design and attracted media interest devoted to current affairs, lifestyle and culture. Between 1986 and 1989, the movement works and designs were published in numerous magazines.

The exterior coated by galvanized sheet has lots of windows and opens only at two points
The exterior coated by galvanized sheet has lots of windows and opens only at two points

Although it was almost abandoned in the 90s, the thought continued to operate in bolidista work Mariani, translating their designs concepts held by the group, such as communication, movement, lightness, multiplicity, becoming and action.

The basic principles of Bolidismo can be read at the new headquarters of the Bank of Fornacette Pisa, a building that seems modeled by the wind (Movement Bolidista name derives from the word bolide, a body thrown at high-speed, therefore, aerodynamic). But also the morphology of the new bank headquarters refers to organic forms, acquiring personality and uniqueness typical of living beings, but of a complexity and variety that is only possible in the construction thanks to industrialization and the use of technology on end.

The exterior coated by galvanized sheet has lots of windows and opens only at two pointsThe exterior coated by galvanized sheet has lots of windows and opens only at two points
The exterior coated by galvanized sheet has lots of windows and opens only at two points

From the outside, the new building shows a very simple picture, almost a caricature of a corporate building. A solid volume, with rounded edges, steel covered with scales and splashed of measured openings on three sides. Only the facade large windows where transparency and color is open. Mariani seems rehearse a playful dialogue between the sparse simplicity of the outer shape and the sophistication and rehearsing new environmental quality indoors.

The Bolidismo Mariani founded with colleagues as Dante Donegani, Stefano Giovannoni and Massimo Iosa Ghini, in the 80s, called for the dynamism of forms, derived in part a review of Futurism and streamline the US.

But this movement that characterized Italian design and postmodern architecture also referred to comic books and was shown as a natural continuation of the Memphis Group Alessandro Mendini. It is no coincidence that the new Bank headquarters just ended, a window displays the classic Magis Proust armchair designed by Mendini in 2011.

The Bank parallelepiped solid, galvanized plates coated sheet contains three floors and a basement. The metal skin between pearl and gold, has the ability to change shape during the day and depending on prevailing climate conditions. Inside this building shaped like a truncated pyramid or mastaba, the upper floors are occupied by offices; and subsoil for a 300-seat auditorium and a gallery for exhibitions.

Moreover, the new headquarters of the Bank of Fornacette Pisa and is the last step in the rescue of an urban edge, which began in 1995 when the board of the company decided to locate its headquarters and hired Mariani.

In 2008 it was decided to build the new headquarters in a small corner that was free near the building over. The new headquarters draws on the same sources that fueled the original Bolidismo; It is a foreign serious response, in permanent contrast with a playful interior that barely peeks through colored windows.

Inside, the building reveals an unexpected generosity in terms of air and light, as well as a spatial arrangement that encourages the administrative functions of the bank.

Built in energy class A / A (the equivalent of a platinum LEED), the building has two central courtyards that constitute the elements around which areas of use in a continuous fluid diversify. Patios, defined by vertical gardens, interior spaces provide natural light and ventilation.

The main materials are sheet metal coating gold, multicolored glass that appears on the main facade, and wood and glass to interior rooms. During the night, thanks to the large windows with red and green glass, the building was transformed into a multicolored lantern.

In the new headquarters of Bank of Pisa Fornacette, Mariani expressed his ongoing dialogue with the artistic research and the traditional character of the development and expression, topics that are on the same path traveled by the road map other renowned Italian designers like Ettore Sottsass.

The building is a show in itself. Not for nothing, the statement Bank is proud of its new flagship to describe: “In approaching this project, Mariani reveals once again its constant originality, one of the deepest roots of design culture developed in Tuscany and within the Faculty of Architecture of Florence, in the seventies and eighties. This work helps to describe one of the most brilliant careers and least known of the recent Italian architecture.