Design is Human
Fondazione Prada, Milano, Italia. Photography © Bernard McCoy.

The architecture and relevance that is Fondazione Prada

Fondazione Prada, intended relevance lies at the heart of this beloved cultural institution and gift to the world.

MA! founder Bernard McCoy describes Fondazione Prada's architecture and renovation as "discreetly composed, complex and beautifully honest; pay close attention and you start to notice subtle design cues and interventions that earned one of Milan's best known culture institutions a nomination for London Design Museum's Beazley Designs of the Year in 2017."

The Milan venue of the Fondazione Prada, seven years in the making, is designed by OMA.

The project, led by Rem Koolhaas, Chris van Duijn, and Federico Pompignoli, is a milestone in OMA's long-term collaboration with Prada, delivering a 19,000 m2 campus dedicated to art.

Commissioned by Fondazione Prada, the project embraces a coexistence of new architecture with the regeneration of an early 20th-century gin distillery that includes warehouses, laboratories, and brewing silos, as well as new buildings surrounding a large courtyard.

Rem Koolhaas: "The Fondazione is not a preservation project and not a new architecture. Two conditions that are usually kept separate here confront each other in a state of permanent interaction, offering an ensemble of fragments that will not congeal into a single image or allow any part to dominate the others."

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Fondazione Prada, Milano, Italia. Photography © Bernard McCoy.


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Fondazione Prada, Milano, Italia. Photography © Bernard McCoy.


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Fondazione Prada, Milano, Italia. Photography © Bernard McCoy.


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Fondazione Prada, Milano, Italia. Photography © Bernard McCoy.


Located in Largo Isarco, south of the city center, the complex aims to expand the repertoire of spatial typologies in which art can be exhibited and shared with the public.

The project consists of seven existing buildings and three new structures: Museum, a space for temporary exhibitions; Cinema, a multimedia auditorium; and Torre,

a 10-story permanent exhibition space for displaying the foundation's collection and activities. Torre, currently undergoing construction work, will be open to the public at a later date.

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Fondazione Prada, Milano, Italia. Photography © Bernard McCoy.


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Fondazione Prada, Milano, Italia. Photography © Bernard McCoy.


The organization’s mission according to Fondazione Prada: For the last two decades, Fondazione Prada’s activities have analyzed intentions and relevance through an evolution of projects.

These have included ‘Utopian’ monographic artist commissions, contemporary philosophy conferences, research exhibitions, and initiatives related to the field of cinema. With the opening of a permanent cultural complex in Milan, the Fondazione offers new opportunities to enlarge and enrich our processes of learning.

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Fondazione Prada, Milano, Italia. Photography © Bernard McCoy.


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Fondazione Prada, Milano, Italia. Photography © Bernard McCoy.


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Fondazione Prada, Milano, Italia. Photography © Bernard McCoy.


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Fondazione Prada, Milano, Italia. Photography © Bernard McCoy.

‘What is a cultural institution for?’

This is the central question of today. Fondazione Prada embraces the idea that culture is deeply useful and necessary as well as attractive and engaging. Culture should help us with our everyday lives and understand how we and the world are changing. This assumption will be key for the Fondazione’s future activities.

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Fondazione Prada, Milano, Italia. Photography © Bernard McCoy.


The Fondazione's main interest is ideas and the ways in which mankind has transformed ideas into specific disciplines and cultural products: literature, cinema, music, philosophy, art, and science.

With the new venue, the Fondazione’s range of knowledge will be expanded. Each field will be afforded its autonomy but have the same overall aim. They will coexist with one another, leading to unpredictable resonances and cultural intersections.

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Fondazione Prada, Milano, Italia. Photography © Bernard McCoy.


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Fondazione Prada, Milano, Italia. Photography © Bernard McCoy.


Art is the Fondazione’s main and given instrument of working and learning.

A territory of free-thinking in which established, indelible figures—as well as emerging approaches—are welcomed. The Prada Collection, comprising mostly of works from the 20th and 21st centuries, is another one of our given instruments. The Fondazione's collection is conceived as a resource of perspectives and of potential energy. Fondazione Prada will invite different kinds of people to provide new interpretations of undetected ideas from the collection: curators, artists, and architects but also scientists, students, thinkers, and writers.

fondazioneprada.org

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