Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has won the commission to design a bottling plant in Bergamo, northern Italy. Sound innocuous? Don’t be ridiculous, this is Bjarke Ingels after all. The Danish Designer saw off competition from Dutch firm MVRDV with a proposal that takes cues from Italian Classicism and Rationalism.
The $95 million plant will span 4.3 acres and become the flagship factory for Italian beverage company San Pellegrino. The company, known for its mineral water, has been based in San Pellegrino Terme, Bergamo since 1899. Touching on the company’s history in the area, BIG’s scheme takes on the classical element of the archway, allowing this to dominate certain aspects of the design. Rationalist inflections can also be found as repeating elements, including the archway, comprise other areas of the plant. Subsequently, certain spaces are encapsulated by wide, sweeping curves from above, while on a smaller scale, archways guide both footsteps and the eye, curating corridors of circulation and framing views onto the mountainside.
Running through the site is the Brembo river, which separates the factory from the San Pellegrino village. A new bridge will cross the water, offering pedestrian and vehicular access to the plant. Trees will then line the water’s edge on one side, shielding the infrastructure, while also offering scenic views for those looking out from the factory.
On the other side of the factory, along highway 470 will be “La Pergola”—a series of concrete arches, trees, and foliage that intend to bridge a connection between the factory and the adjacent village. A public plaza, meanwhile, will act as a more explicit gateway between the public and industrial realms of the site, acting as a space for visitors. In the center of the plaza will be a rock obelisk-like pillar. The core sample will comprise claystone, dolostone, chalk, and sandstone and is meant to reflect the journey San Pellegrino’s water.
“Rather than imposing a new identity on the existing complex, we propose to grow it out of the complex. Like the mineral water itself—the new S.Pellegrino Factory and Experience Lab will seem to spring from its natural source,” said Bjarke Ingels in a press release. “We propose to wash away the traditional segregation between front and back of house, and to create a seamless continuity between the environment of production and consumption, and preparation and enjoyment.”
Local architects Studio Verticale will work on the project with BIG over the next four years. Groundbreaking is slated to take place next year.