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B///Ella Canteen Offices Brunella



Architectural designer:

Arch. Marco Zanini


Acoustic Consultancy:
Concrete Acoustics



Matteo (Association coordinator), Antonello (volunteer), Marco Zanini, various helpers, volunteers and migrants

Client: S.Antonio Bread Association




Despite being a modest interior intervention, the design strives to establish a dialogue with the monumental work of the Brunella church, designed by architect Muzio.

The offices of the Pane di S.Antonio association, which manage the Hub of services for migrants, the canteen, and the emporium, were initially disorganized and chaotic. This made it difficult to work and maintain privacy, with migrants, volunteers, and association workers all together in a large and confusing open space used both as an office and as an occasional meeting and storage room.

The request was to reorganize the space with very limited resources. We therefore decided to self-build to reduce costs and use only natural materials that are easy to assemble. The goal was to ensure privacy in the various work areas and increase acoustic comfort, without compromising the passage in the area and emergency exits, as the project can be configured as a setup.

We chose wood, hemp, and jute to build the partitions with our hands. Occasionally, some migrants with manual skills superior to ours lent us a hand. Antonello, a former craftsman and builder, as well as my uncle, gave us crucial help. The cost was very low, which means more meals offered to migrants, without neglecting the quality of the space for the users of this space, on the margins of society but not marginal for this association that plays such an important role in the city of Varese.

Some partitions were made with a wooden structure and OSB cladding, painted white on the outside to give a sense of order in such a multifunctional space with a large flow of people. A door, the only one and recovered, represents the clear signal for those who enter a safe place where they can tell their existential misadventures to the association’s volunteers. Inside, the warmth of the OSB panel texture provides a welcoming atmosphere. On the opposite side, the white-painted cladding contrasts with the untreated fir wood structure, almost seeking a dialogue with the geometries of Muzio’s dome structure, visible from the office skylight. The walls between functional boxes filled with hemp panels and the panels hung on the walls with hemp filling and jute covering help to increase the acoustic comfort of the space.

An intervention with scarce resources but that attempts dialogue with the pre-existence and improvement of space and acoustic comfort.

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