Founded in 1996 by Francesco Fresa, Germán Fuenmayor, Gino Garbellini and Monica Tricario, Piuarch mean openness: the ability to incorporate different viewpoints and approaches in one single project, creating a network further enhanced by technical cultural contributions from professionals and consultants from different fields. The firm – located in a very distinctive looking courtyard in the Brera neighbourhood that used to be a printing works – is made up of about 40 architects and engineers from all over the world. A collective that focuses on architecture, covering everything from retail for the fashion industry and the design of office buildings to the drawing up of urban plans and projects to redevelop spaces for culture.
Ever since its very first project to design Council housing for the Sesto San Giovanni district of Milan in 2000, Piuarch has created a “design workshop” epitomising a new brand of “Italian professionalism” in creating quality architecture. Shying away from the spotlight and constantly working with greater consistency both in Italy and abroad, Piuarch has tackled a wide range of different design themes on different scales: showing a very special awareness of the interaction between architecture and context, relationship with art and attention to detail, the use of natural materials and a focus on energysaving.
For example, Piuarch has designed over 40 shops around the world for Dolce&Gabbana, including its headquarters in Milan, showrooms and production plants, modernising the old Metropol cinema to create an emblematic space for hosting events and fashion shows. The firm has always looked to the international scene, particularly focusing on Russia, where it has designed numerous projects over the years. Piuarch has won first prize in numerous competitions down the years: the construction of new social facilities in Rio Rione Cavalleggeri in Naples (1999); Ansaldo City of Cultures (2000) in partnership with David Chipperfield; the New Riva del Garda Conference Centre (2007); the Onda Bianca building in Porta Nuova, Milan (2006); the extension to Collegio di Milano (2007); the office block in Champigny-sur-Marne, France (2013) and the redevelopment of the former Unicredit complex (2016).
Some of the most recently completed projects include: the two pavilions for ENEL and Caritas at EXPO 2015, Milan; the Givenchy flagship store in Seoul; the Gazprom Headquarters building in St. Petersburg; shops for the Les Hommes brand in Antwerp and Amber&Art brand in St. Petersburg; redevelopment of Centro*Arezzo Coop.Fi and the old Caproni factories in Milan to convert it into the new Gucci Hub. Over the years Piuarch has won numerous accolades, most notably the 2013 Architetto Italiano Prize awarded by the National Council of Architects paying testimony to how well the firm has worked down the years.