Pedrali's Fili d’erba

Architect and Founder of Cino Zucchi Architetti (CZA)

January 2017
A new automated warehouse, Fili d’erba (blades of grass), has been designed for Pedrali to improve the Italian company’s customer service. The new storage building, completed in October, can accommodate some 17,000 pallets and has a footprint five times smaller than that of a traditional warehouse, therefore occupying less land. At 29 metres high, it has an overall floor area of 7000 square metres. Here the company stocks finished and semifinished products, vertically and horizontally. CZA worked on the skin of the container-building, transforming the mute façades into expressive surfaces that become part of the landscape, well beyond the logic of mere ‘corporate communication’, by rethinking the concept of ‘environmental insertion’ in an innovative way.
“Over time, Pedrali’s awareness of sustainability in regard to the production cycle has generated a project of great environmental quality within a landscape where the agricultural matrices are still strongly present. The mass of the new warehouse, whose height and volume are totally determined by its inner technical devices, reacts to the abstract theme of wrapping the machines it contains with a specific response that is related to the context, to solar orientation, and to the industrial complex it belongs to.” All four sides of the building are covered in aluminium panels. Fixed onto these is a series of extruded aluminium profiles that generate a visual pattern formed by a combination of vertical and oblique lines, like gigantic blades of grass, giving rhythm, scale, and measure to the blind, unarticulated façades, especially the large surface on the south side.
The interplay of the length, direction, and intensity of the ‘blades’ and their shadows over the course of the day, combines with the mix of colours and the diversity of viewing angles. “The dull and uniform volume of the new ware- house is thus transformed into a visual phenomenon rich in variation, a kind of natural amplifier of the time of day and the season. At certain moments the building dissolves into the misty sky, reflecting its grey-blue tones, and at other times it becomes imbued with the bright green of the agricultural fields in Spring.”