Before undertaking this massive project, Lonsdale dived into Ferrero’s history and savoir-faire by visiting the company’s birthplace, Alba, in Italy’s Piedmont region. The region’s scenery fed the project and inspired a design based on vegetation, bronze, gold-colored metal, cobblestones, natural oak and warm-colored renders.
From its 11-meter-wide golden tone see-through main entrance, light streams into the building throughout the day. The entryway is surrounded by a galaxy of golden stars that become the signature of the facade.
Once through the Golden Gate, visitors are met with a giant balcony that gives a stunning view of the atrium and the Piazza Ferrero below. This is the part of La Casa that sees the most traffic. On the same level as the employee entrance, it is a place for people to meet in an indoor/outdoor community space. Paths to the restaurants, concierge service, auditorium, elevators and stairs all lead through Piazza Ferrero.
The wall coverings range from terracotta to Naples yellow, and the floors are made of small sandstone tiles in a variety of natural colors that reflect the oblique and straight lines of walkways. A vast wooden patio stretches alongside the restaurant and café on the south side. Large bronze-colored awnings reach out from the walls to protect it. On the north side, a row of Scotch mines guides visitors toward the first set of stairs. A few wall lights provide a warm glow, soft enough to make the night stars visible through the sky. The entire space encapsulates everything the Lonsdale designers experiences in Alba.
The walkways and stairways are spaced out from east to west, covering a third of the floor area of the atrium, with each walkway offering a different vantage point. The stairways help give the space its dynamic feel. Special attention was paid to the design of the stairways to encourage employees to walk rather than ride the elevator.
The auditorium is accessible through a narrow hallway with low steps alongside it. Though located below ground level, the hallway is bathed in daylight from above, achieved by placing a 17-meter-long light well in the ground floor courtyard area. The well fits with the dynamic pattern of the floor tiles. It is covered with a thick sheet of glass, offering some interesting perspectives when people walk over it.
The work spaces are height-adjusted, and the materials used in the floors, walls, ceilings and furniture favor acoustic comfort. Informal meeting areas are found throughout the building, with high benches so employees can talk without disturbing coworkers. Coffee Corners bring employees together and help set the tempo of their days. The boardroom can seat up to 28 people; its table was designed to allow each board member to work for several hours under optimal conditions in terms of visibility, acoustics and comfort.
Four restaurants and a café occupy a total of 1,200 square meters and enable an everyday change of scenery and comfort for employees. Their design conveys quality, healthy eating, variety and taste – an overall feeling of wellbeing.