The creation of the new technological pole was the result of a study, commissioned by Arneg Spa to the Milan Polytechnic, aimed at optimizing the research and development process of new products.
1 – How do spaces affect work arrangements?
Every human activity performs in spaces, whose organization, image, material and luminous quality have the ability to affect the way to use the spaces themselves and the well-being of those who live there.
We spend a lot/most of our time in workspaces, and, in relation to the variety of relationships that the work activity establishes with the external environment, the influence of the characteristics of this environment on the activities themselves is inevitable.
Offices are places where people do their activities continuously and where they spend most of their active time (in some cases, by far, the preponderant part of their time); these are spaces not only intended for work but also for coexistence and interpersonal relationships.
For this reason, the study of the workspaces, the research of optimized solutions both in terms of functional organization [spaces for staying – static – workplaces | spaces of movement – displacements – access | meeting spaces – meetings – training – relaxation], as regards chromatic, material, sound and light quality, are decisive for promoting conditions of comfort and, consequently, guaranteeing the adequate requisites for coexistence and collaboration between people.
Materials, colours, lights and shadows affect not only physical or intellectual productivity, but also the pleasure of being and remaining in – and getting involved in – the production process of things or ideas. This relationship is inevitable and essential. How it affects the constant unfolding of work gestures and the personal interactions that this implies will depend on the size of the space and the perfect balance between the volume of individual relationships. Furthermore, it will depend on the number of individuals who find themselves weaving these relationships on a daily basis, on the characterization and material and formal articulation – from hot to cold, smooth and rough, bright and shaded, natural and artificial, etc. of the surfaces -, from the identity that the space receives from a well-orchestrated design and that will be able to be recognized by the people who work in it.
At Arneg, organization and distribution strategies based on continuity and spatial transparency have been implemented, through the construction of open environments, in which the workstations and more reserved meeting rooms were not intended as delimited, closed and confined cells, but become part of a spatial continuum aimed at transmitting and reinforcing the sense of belonging to the working community, without denying the recognition and appropriation of space or location. A balance was sought between the collective perception of the common areas and the individual perception of each person’s workplace.
2 – How did the idea of including the water element in the new technological hub come about?
The wide water surface of the Technological Pole was born as a suspension element, necessary to give breath and “create the distance to the perception” of a building, which, for its own use, requires very performing and technical environmental conditions.
It was created to guarantee optimal lighting conditions of the internal space, thanks to the depth of the area made inaccessible by the liquid surface free of obstacles and shadows, and thanks to the width of the glass facing it.
Finally, it arises from a reflection on the history of the Veneto region, whose many waterways and lagoons have played a fundamental role in defining the structure of the territory itself, in the culture of its inhabitants and in the economy of the region.
3 – What was the process that led to the conception and design of a large reflecting fountain?
The idea of placing the fountain on the front of the building and thus creating a double reflection, the fluid and the glazed, the horizontal and the vertical, the natural and the artificial, led almost spontaneously to its design and realization, proving to be a necessary event, not replaceable by other systems of distancing, suspension or “separation”.
In fact, it is able to guarantee the correct measure of the relationship between the new technological pole and the other areas of production within the sector.
Even the choice of material, the surface finishes, the colours, the continuity with the paving system of the paths and the compositional balance achieved by juxtaposing elements (the room-entrance portal with its seat for “stopping, watching and listening ”, the well, the sequence of buildings of different nature and size connected to each other, the garden, etc.), underlines the state of necessity of the water basin, which is not a “fact in itself”, but a significant part of a set of “integrated and intimately connected facts”.
4 – Are there correlations between the presence of water and the improvement of performance in the workplace?
Of course! It is our duty as designers to choose and build the spaces for the life of man who, in a general sense, lives and acts in the world. Working activity is a complex and prolonged action, sometimes extended even beyond eight hours a day, in relation to emergencies or needs. It deserves special attention, a special project, which not only defines areas equipped necessary for its execution, but also (I would say above all) volumes of atmospheres more or less dense with internal forces, with connections (multiple interactions between people, in the forms of one-one, one-group, group-group, with all the dimensional range that may occur), of dynamisms (perceptive, visual, tactile, physical) and of beauty (of the internal and external environment).
In this latter aspect, water, together with natural light and vegetation, plays a strategic, fundamental role: the reflection of light and colours, projecting itself, mirroring itself, rippling, and flowing are minimal actions on which the eye rests and from which it receives well-being. All of the above leads back to beauty, of which water transports and transforms every detail.