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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Woven metal facade for Missoni store in Los Angeles

The metalwork by Marzorati Ronchetti mirrors the seductive use of textiles by the historic Italian fashion house.

To open its first branded boutique in Los Angeles, Missoni has chosen to recount and express the sense of its own identity also through architectural style, design and manufacture, which are all 100% Italian.
Not so much a store as a design building bearing the mark of Patrick Kinmonth and the collaboration of Space Architects and Marzorati Ronchetti. Inspired by the values and collections of the fashion house, the architects have designed a building of abstract whiteness with a heart of glass and steel.

"The idea for the building was based on two key concepts: Missoni and Los Angeles." explained Angela Missoni. "What could have each contributed to the other? How could they have interacted to bring to Los Angeles the spirit and soul of the Missoni tradition in an appropriately creative and non-conformist way?"

The building deploys intertwined aluminium sheets to cover a structure made of glass, steel and cement. The exterior creates the effect of a fabric which protects and adorns the interior, as a Missoni garment does to the body. The windows are reduced to steel insets which slice through the glass cover and enable you to look inside and out. The light filters through the weave from outside and through the numerous skylights to create a play of light and shade. At night the structure becomes a dazzling rectangular block, brought alive by interior lighting, and it projects a thick layer of shade interwoven into the surrounding area. For Missoni and for architects/designers, light is the outstanding feature of Los Angeles: sunlight during the day and the amazing views of downtown from the hills at night...and this building consciously aims to become part of the light of Los Angeles.

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The extraordinary facade with its interwoven effect was designed and built in Cantù by Marzorati Ronchetti, and then assembled in America. The structure is a marvel of construction: 78 aluminium sheets each 10 cm. in height, 8 mm. thick, and 50 metres in length, for a total of 3,900 metres and 11 tonnes in weight, painted in an opaque white powder and bent to imitate the folds of fabric on a frame. They gently surround the central part of the store which stands out against the backdrop of the city in shining harmony.

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Τhe interior is developed as a series of linked areas defined by the idea of a European shopping street leading to the centre and from which spring the areas which house the various collections: Women, Men, Accessories, Sunglasses, Missoni Mare and Missoni Home. The structure of the interwoven facade is clearly visible from inside, as if looking at the inside of a garment. All the furniture, in rosewood, lacquer and steel, has been specifically created for this space.
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The project for the exterior and interior of the whole building is the work of KINMONTH MONFREDA, a design and artistic management team led by Patrick Kinmonth and Antonio Monfreda, which is based in London and Rome. The technical cooperation was offered by Space Architects, an Italo-American team of architects with offices in Milan, New York, Miami and Los Angeles itself.

The building stands out in the urban landscape of Beverley Hills, Los Angeles, a prestigious location at the corner of Rodeo Drive and Santa Monica Boulevard. It covers a total surface area of around 700 square metres.

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