There are some environments where we don’t expect to find good interior design – and production plants certainly fall into this category. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, such as the intervention carried out by Italian architect Francesca Perani. The “Mini Break” project, whose name is a clear reference to both its size and function, covers an area of just 19 square meters on the ground floor of a mezzanine under an industrial structure made of rigid steel frames, all located in a plastic processing plant with a total area of 800 square meters.
The client’s idea was to turn the small space, which was once only used to store industrial materials, into a flexible and multifunctional area, where employees can rest during the busy working day and which also serves as a wide showroom to display products. As architect Francesca Perani explains regarding her approach to the design challenge: “I was interested in opening a dialogue between the rigid structural language of the factory and the needs of an adaptable room where the warmth of playful wooden interiors interwoven with clear methacrylate both contrasts and connects with the raw environment outside.”.
On the one hand, it was therefore a matter of disconnecting users from the intense noise of machinery and the cold technical lighting of the factory and stimulating them to reconnect with themselves through a warmer, more welcoming environment. On the other hand, the aim was to emphasize the durable qualities of plastic, its transparency, aesthetic quality, functionality and recyclability.
A dual functionality bringing Francesca Perani to life with some decisive and effective design gestures. The metal structure of the mezzanine is painted in the yellow glossy color which is mandatory in industrial safety. A transparent cladding of extra-clear methacrylate partition panels ensures a visual dialogue with the exterior and reflects the natural light coming in from the company’s sheds. Custom furniture made from low-cost pine plywood transforms the former warehouse into a relaxing space, combining soft textures and shapes with the sturdy skeleton of the existing factory. In addition, the new diagonal table in the middle of the room plays a special role, becoming the focus of socializing during breaks, as well as being used for formal or informal gatherings.
The wooden paneling of the small room is also interesting, perfectly matching the resin finish of the floor, the same as in the rest of the factory. It hides cupboards and the ventilation system, while all the conveniences of the small kitchen are hidden within custom storage elements built into the area under the mezzanine stairs. A built-in backlight linear LED system transforms the entire shelving unit into a showcase for customers and retailers, where they can see examples of plastic products manufactured by the company.
Mini Break by Francesca Perani, the transformation of a dark and residual space into a new onepivot point and showroomwell-lit and quiet, showing us how a little creativity and a precise design gesture can go a long way to achieving good results, even in small spaces, for the benefit of the well-being of workers and visitors alike.
Project: Francesca Perani
Location: Albano S.Alessandro, Italy
Images: Francesca Perani