The manufacturing plant of Max Mara fashion house was originally located in in via Fratelli Cervi 66, when it was founded in 1951. The building, commissioned in 1957, was designed by architects Pastorini and Salvarani. The project was extremely innovative for its time, focussing as it was on the enhancement of natural lighting, the close connection between the inside and the outside, the versatility and flexibility of the interiors.
In 2003, when the company moved to bigger headquarters, the possibility of using the old plant to house Achille Maramotti's contemporary art collection was taken into consideration and became feasible. U.K. architect Andrew Hapgood was then called to work on converting the structure into an exhibition facility; the architect opted for a clear-cut and respectful approach, by preserving the stark essentialness of the building and complying with the original project which saw the structure as adjustable to different applications and changing according to demands.
The most important conversion phases of the project have been:
- new entrance facing a different direction, parallel to Via Emilia. with a new “cut”, which created wide-open entryways on the east and west fronts, leading visitors towards the centre of the new gallery; the building of a 14-metre wall which is the hinge element of the ground floor, around which all the other activities branch out: reception, rooms for temporary exhibitions, book store, office space.
- a three-story-high space, located above the main entrance at the centre of the permanent collection, receiving light from the three new linear skylights distributing natural light through reflectors placed inside the vertical skylights: the result is an on-going exchange with the outside and natural light with its constant changes.
The first two floors of the building are dedicated to the permanent collection. The galleries are awash in daylight coming through the original wide windows running along the perimeter, with temperature and light levels controlled by the sun roof which was installed outside in the seventies, and has now been restored.
Landscaping has been designed along the same principles applied in the building conversion, by choosing plant species and ornamental solutions which are typical of the surrounding areas, in order to strengthen the idea of reappropriation of the grounds as a post-industrial landscape.
L’ingresso alla Collezione è gratuito e la visita avviene solo su prenotazione. L’ingresso senza prenotazione avverrà solo in caso di disponibilità di posti.
Entrance to the Collection is free of charge. Visits must be booked in advance. Visitors without a reservation, will be admitted depending on availability.