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ESP shopping mall in Ravenna doubles its size and services with a brand-new wing designed by Area-17 and INRES. 19,000 square meters, hosting 50 new businesses, makes of ESP one of the most relevant shopping mall in Italy, counting now over 100 stores. While harmonizing with the earlier architecture, the design is meant to provide strong visual evidence of the extension, to be read even on an urban scale.

The main façade is characterized by a covered walk converging in the new entrance defined by monumental volumes. The sinuous movement of overlapping layers encourages entering the building, but it also anticipates the design of the interiors. The custom-made street furniture points out the effort made to create a relational space other than a commercial space. Lingering outside, it is possible to appreciate the vibrancy of the inside atmosphere through floor-to-ceiling windows, and vice-versa.

The new gallery’s layout is based on the addition of a commercial ring linked to the preexisting environments. The original idea aims to create a path where visitors will not feel lost despite the significant increase in size. The architectural language enhances the layout, modelling the interiors according to smooth and fluid lines, which guide clients to discovering the mall stores following an even, natural flow.

Two squares are the focal points of the path: the one where the old and the new parts link together and the food court. Here, the urban topos merges with elements inspired by the natural world –stylized trees and skylights framing wide portions of the sky. Explicit references guarantee a visual continuity with the former gallery, particularly the floor design picks up the same materials and style of the original one.

Design: INRES and Area-17 Architecture & Interiors
Photography: Pietro Savorelli

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