“The study of this Corporate, which undoubtedly will become the most innovative place of training and research in Italy, started from researches conducted by Healthy Plants on the benefits of introducing vegetation into the workplace. – explains the architect Isacco Brioschi – Once more, the architectural challenge is that of preventing from losing men through a recollection with his own nature, making it “re-enter and re-balance with its own environment”.
The design philosophy indicated by the architects: “Thinking about three words, training, roots and knowledge, we have imagined how the project would have to be developed and we have identified it as a big tree wrapped by a spiral of knowledge. The background, which holds the roots together and sustains the tree, is formed by the knowledge, the ideas, the hopes that well-known historical figures, by us regarded as examples, have cemented in the values of this bank.
The roots are the history (enclosed inside the museum) which starts from the basement and through the stairs is able to pervade with knowledge the entire building and every classroom, envisioned as a tree-branch from which the future Family Bankers sprout, as lymph of this tree”.
“Excellent training comes from strong roots and a solid background; we started from this consideration for the Mediolanum Corporate University project“ explains the architect Roberto Marabese. The Mediolanum Corporate University Campus is situated in Milano Tre, in the proximity of the centre of Milan, where you can also find the Banca Mediolanum Headquarter.
With more than 4000 sqm, Mediolanum Corporate University is a place designed in order to express a new way of learning and transmitting the values of the Group: to be trained here means above all to align yourself with the history, the values, to recognise its signs and become passionate about them. MCU is harmonically realized, starting from the choice of materials and finishes, of modern technology, of new interior design solutions and both stimulating and relaxing spaces.
Inside the building, in the basement, the Museum and Media Library represent for the project the roots of knowledge from which Mediolanum Corporate University is sustained. In the Library, the main training place, are placed many plants, as in the whole building it has been introduced a natural theme in order to follow the innovative researches developed by Healthy Plants, from
which emerged that observing plants and other natural elements, even during a work activity, helps in reducing stress, stimulating positive feelings and therefore lowering anxiety and sadness, influencing positively also the creativity and the concentration. Next to this room, the Media Library with twelve multimedia stations available to learners, teachers and visitors.
The Museum is an exhibition area where you can listen and watch the most significant moments of the Banca Mediolanum history. It is a spiralling path that arranges the design development of the space, highlighting the idea of a ‘Museum around you’, with the use of modern technology such as the touch-screen which permits the interaction with numerous multimedia applications.
Mediolanum Corporate University communicates through a symbology of its own spaces: the emotional message conveyed from every place is strong, evocative, starting from the moment of the greeting at the entrance. The Reception is the starting point to every path, is the place of the first physical, emotional and professional contact, it is the business card of the MCU.
It is indeed extremely evocative, through the realisation of a fake glass bookshelf, over-scaled, which has backlit panels with the images of figures particularly significant for the history of mankind such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Gandhi, Martin Luther King and many others, in order to create the ‘occasion’ to a strong effect and Brand Experience. Also on the main ground the welcoming and wide plenary room has been thought for special events, conventions and meetings.
The spaces on the upper levels comprise the 23 didactic classrooms, spacious and bright, each one of them equipped with the most modern technology and all carefully designed in the materials and in the layout of the furniture in order to encourage learning, confrontation and team-work; completing this rooms are the images and the graphics of the most significant moments which have marked the history and the origins of Banca Mediolanum.
Even the common spaces and the restoration rooms are as important as the other dedicated spaces, all designed to favour learning and socialization, as here the breaks become important moments for they encourage communication even informal and the sharing of the learning experience.
On every floor, in fact, a café area has been planned as a pleasant and relaxing place in which confront each other, exchange opinions, have a coffee and regenerate between one lesson and the other. The meeting place par excellence has been named Bar Kitchen, where the writings become an icon repeated on the tables, on the walls and on the windows, continuing the idea of social communication and exchange where special ‘blackboard panels’ have been used, upon which you can leave your testimony that will be participated by all the users.
On the ground floor the Organic Bar structurally evokes nature, as materials with strong natural connotations have been used, in a mix between organic and inorganic: the table tops and the vertical partitions of the glass are made of polycarbonate with bamboo inserts, as a reminding of the tapestry also made of bamboo; in this bar only BIO food is served.
In order to gather the new information acquired during the day of study and to get ready for the following learning activity, the Mens Sana room has been designed: an essential space full of bonsai plants and flowers in which to search the secrets of mind and body and find one’s own balance through the chromo therapy, the aromas and the surrounding music, because the physical wellness is tightly bound to the mental one.
Here is another effort to place the individual at the centre of the scene, as one and only protagonist. The last floor is dedicated, other than to the classrooms, also to the offices and to the presidency, conceived as a representative place in which all the personalities that would gravitate inside MCU would find the choice of the meeting table, the leather boiserie, the teak wood floor, the coloured glass and technology as appropriate elements to such a comfortable and elegant space.
The Campus of the Mediolanum Corporate University is completed by the nearby residence. The guidelines to understand this project can be synthesised in some key-words, expressed here by the architect Isacco Brioschi:
Touch-screen: the use of this technology that interacts directly with the human body allows us to create the perfect fusion between the body and the virtual, which will be the ’near future’. Therefore this highlights the idea of a ‘Bank built around you’, placing the user at the centre of control of all the activities.
Unusual games of transparency, reflection and both natural and artificial light characterise the architecture of the interior spaces. The glass is used in many forms and characteristics; other than diffusing more light inside the environments it has been also used to highlight the subordination of the technology to the users.
It has been observed that numerous materials used in buildings and interiors can be a major cause for indoor pollution, because they contain chemical compounds harmful to our health. On the other hand recent researches have found out that some plants are able to absorb specifically these polluting elements (often amplified by the air conditioning) and to produce oxygen therefore dramatically increasing the quality of the air.
That is why it is advised to place, somewhere in the room, numerous plants in order to create an healthier and more comfortable environment which should be as similar to nature as possible. From researches developed by Healthy Plants (footnote 1) emerged that observing plants and other natural elements helps in reducing stress. It has been demonstrated that there is a positive relation between the presence of green plants in the workplace and the productivity of the workers.
The green element in fact influences positively also the creativity and the concentration. 1) ‘Did you know that a third of all the modern buildings in Europe have an insufficient internal environment and that the sick leave percentage is higher in these places? An healthier environment in the workplace is an essential condition to the optimal performance of the workers.
• Eliminating constraints
The project wanted to balance the presence of a quite strong structure. The volume of the elevators has been covered with lacquered glass not only because of the aesthetical values, yet for the idea of making this pre-existing volume visually less cumbersome. The result was that of a faked perspective, very scenographic, of the hallways and of the lift-landings. Next to the elevators some touch-screen monitors have been located in order to access way-finding information throughout the building.
In order to eliminate the claustrophobic feeling typical of the long hallway some recesses have been designed nearby the entrance to the classrooms, to break the perspective and emphasize the entrance to the rooms, also with the use of glass portals that contain a monitor presenting multimedia contents relative to the lesson. In the hallways have been installed floor lights to highlight the scenography of the path.
• Graphics and images
In the environments there is the use of a lot of graphics and images to make the Corporate more alive and emotional. The image of the group is particularly stressed starting from the Reception. Moreover, in order to evoke the history and the evolution of the Bank through its Conventions we tried to represent the most significant images on blow-up pictures on the walls and with images on the glass table tops.