Designed with dramatic restraint by Italian product and interior designer Gio Tirotto, the luminous FENIX Scenario in Milan’s Brera district is more than a showcase for the matte-laminate material developed by Arpa Industriale it’s named for—it is also a hub for parent company Broadview Holding’s other brands, which include Formica and Trespa. According to Tirotto, the client wanted a flexible venue that could shift from commercial showroom to meeting center to exhibition gallery.
The lighting of a company’s design hub in Milan includes skylight-mimicking luminaires in the basement to create a pleasing space for its occupants (above and top). Photo © Federico Villa, click to enlarge.
The project occupies the two lower floors of a corner building built in the 19th century. While a generously glazed ground-floor space, containing displays and a materials library, is filled with daylight—so much so that Tirotto (using Fenix as a primary surface) created a loft, niches, and tall pivot doors that can mitigate it—the offices in the windowless basement are devoid of sun. To provide a comfortable, congenial environment there, the designer painted the existing vaulted brick ceiling in the main work area white and suspended a pair of linear bidirectional LED fixtures along its length for ambient and task light. Then he inserted, into custom monitor-like housing (with discreet side doors for access), four luminaires that mimic the aura of daylight. These are installed along the room’s outer wall above planters—their wires snaking behind a plasterboard wall, to the electrical supply beneath the raised porcelain-tile floor.
Tirotto maintains this effect in an adjacent “brainstorming” room, where he tucked a modular array of similar luminaires into a dropped ceiling that conceals HVAC. Framed to appear like a row of skylights, this linear arrangement casts angled rays of light onto a nearby wall as if through an actual roof window. (A parallel recessed-track system provides functional illumination.)
Fixed at 4,000 Kelvin, the multifaceted network of lamps can be dimmed and controlled to provide the appropriate atmosphere for any activity, says Tirotto. “The effect is perfect,” he adds. “When entering, everyone believes that these are real skylights.”
Gio Tirotto Design Studio — Gio Tirotto, principal; Laura Pavesi, architect; Giovanna De Vita, design assistant
C-SPIN Engineering Studio
3,800 square feet
Fenix; Arpa; Homapal; Formica; Getacore; Trespa; Getalit
Lapalma; UniFor; FBS Profilati