Since 1995, Rem Koolhaas has overseen the transformation of a 1900s gin distillery into an expansive art center for Miuccia Prada. Located in Largo Isarco in the southern part of Milan, ‘Fondazione Prada’ is a multifaceted space designed to challenge conventional exhibition and art practices.
The site lies in a sparse outlying neighborhood in Milan, and were it not for the two buildings — one glittering gold, one white and concrete — that break up the traditional terracotta skyline, you would be forgiven for not realizing it was there. Fondazione Prada functions here as a cultural institution that explores art, literature, theatre, film, music, philosophy and science. As Miuccia Prada explained, Fondazione Prada is not a museum, “but rather the continuation of an intellectual process founded on the exploration of doubt and on extensive research.”
The reimagination of this industrial site has been ongoing since 1995, and today includes seven existing buildings and three new structures: ‘Podium’, ‘Cinema’, and the recently opened ‘Torre’. Rounding off the end of Milan Design Week 2018 was the opening of ‘Torre’, a nine-storey tower that completes OMA’s conversion. “Torre is the final section of a collection of different exhibition conditions that together define Fondazione Prada,” Koolhaas explained of the project. “To extend the typologies offered by the Fondazione, a series of systematic variations is applied: each next floor is taller than the previous one, rectangular plans alternate with wedge shapes, the orientation of the rooms alternates between panoramic city views to the North, or narrower views in opposite directions, East and West.”
The opening show, ‘Atlas’, conceived by Miuccia Prada and Germano Celant, features work from famed 20th and 21st-century artists, including Damien Hirst, John Baldessari, Jeff Koons, Edward Kienholz, Carsten Höller, Michael Heizer and Pino Pascali and Walter De Maria amongst others. The ‘Torre’ completes the campus, which originally opened in 2014, cementing its status as a bold complex of exhibition venues and architectural interventions.
Largo Isarco, 2