Mixed use, Food
Grandi Stazioni Retail
Torino Porta Nuova train station,
Corso Vittorio Emanuele II,
and design of the spaces
1500 sqm (9 units plus 4 kiosks)
PL+RD with ERCO Italia
Interior Design concept
When we began to design the Porta Nuova station, in the usual search for a meaning of our work, the text “Turin is my home” by Giuseppe Culicchia read a few years earlier came to our aid, in which Turin, like every house, was described as “spacious, to be shared with everyone, starting with the entrance, Porta Nuova, with a kitchen, the Porta Palazzo market, a living room, Piazza San Carlo and so on”.
It is nice to be able to confirm at the opening of the renovated spaces that that text and the emotion of dealing with a Common Good of such importance has accompanied us on our journey in every decision, even in detail.
The building can be defined as the main gateway to the city, a place that allows you to find yourself in the city center in a few steps. The embryo of the current structure was in fact built where one of the gates of the new southern districts of Turin had risen, at a time of great expansion of the new city and the station was built along the scenic axis of Via Roma up to Piazza San Carlo and Piazza Castello.
The central nave
From the first inspections, we had understood the importance of the central nave, with the roof first in iron and glass, now in glass and concrete, typical of nineteenth-century stations, of which over time we had lost the reading of the general layout.
What seemed remarkable to us mainly concerned the unique and majestic spatiality that this intention could give back to the building, the charm emanating from the most significant monumental stations in the world, the famous Grand Central Terminal in New York above all.
The urban role
The recovery of this urban identity, the danger of its transformation into a non-place, was from those moments our main concern.
Scrolling through the images of the Grandi Stazioni Archive, that intuition allowed us to interpret in this sense the renovation of the mezzanine floor, which we began to call “the Terrace”, once again using the metaphor of the house as a city, imagining the pleasure of contemplation of the volume of the entire central nave of the building.
The cultural asset
Of those images, we were intrigued by the testimony of the transformations and evolutions of architecture, starting from the solutions of moving the tracks from the central nave into the larger Galleria di Testa in the 1950s and from the connections of the side doors of the building towards two well distinct areas of the city that will later regenerate in different times and ways, along via Sacchi and along via Nizza.
We were then admired by the Sala Gonin and Sala degli Stemmi, very notable artistic spaces, which will be usable again in the continuation of the requalification operations planned in the near future.
Places of transit and sustainable mobility
We had not forgotten, however, that a Station is an architectural typology, and it is, regardless of its cultural values, above all the theater animated by the motivations and emotions of traveling in a society destined to perennial mutation: once the point of arrival and departure of migrations of entire generations and today a hub of sustainable mobility, a mission led by Grandi Stazioni Retail, made even more relevant by the recent pandemic events.
Flows and customer journeys
It is something that concerns the quality of urban relations, the element that constituted a second further investigation phase that is very important for the development of the project: a careful qualitative and quantitative study of the flows had, in fact, highlighted areas of the Station that were empty or underused which in the long run had generated its decline and a certain cultural and commercial trivialization.
This phase could therefore be summarized in an infinite series of schemes, diagrams, sketches aimed at identifying the true goal of the project: the improvement of the so-called Customer Journeys of the various types of users, whether they were Tourists, Business travelers, Commuters, Occasional travelers or simple Citizens: a great deal of attention paid to the flow of ordinary customers and how they organize their journey as passengers.
The Terrazzo Food Lounge is dedicated to these people with the sincere desire to instill concepts of hospitality and experience in a comfortable and pleasant way, in a historic and contemporary architecture at the same time.
Lights, materials, shapes, spaces: lighting and wayfinding
The choices of a very accurate and sophisticated lighting design project and Wayfinding strategies aimed not so much at having the signals, but at offering the right orientation, between information and navigation, to allow users to select their route mode.
Over the years we have learned that the key to good Wayfinding lies in a clear infrastructure. Easy routes, recognizable entrances and an understandable organization of spaces can provide a “natural” Wayfinding, more important than any signage, however beautiful it may be.
Basically a project based on the commitment to work hard to ensure that lights, materials, shapes, spaces speak for themselves in architecture.
A project that pursues, even in the choices of accessibility and vertical communication between spaces, standards aimed at the best possible quality of clarity and coherence in making the contents of a space evident and attractive despite the complexity of its transit and commercial routes.
The commercial scene in harmony with the space
A further note concerns the choices of the windows and signs of the Tenants in the commercial spaces: a long work of harmonious integration with the architectural elements of the monumental space, drawing on and reinterpreting decorative elements of Turin’s urban landscapes and its arcades.
The numerous so-called “flag signs” refer to these, for an immediate reading of the spaces by travelers in transit, and the reduction of the profiles of the window frames for an enhancement of commercial proposals.
Even the internal and external common spaces are influenced by the quality of the architecture and the selection of the seating and furniture elements pursue the intention of creating a stylistic harmony capable of enhancing the entire context and making transit and stay comfortable for the traveler.
An urban fact
The enhancement project is only in its first, albeit main, significant phase, but like any urban event, the Station claims the need for continuous sustainable adaptation actions to suit the needs of an evolving society.
The wonderful teamwork that Grandi Stazioni Retail has inspired and led up to here was an opportunity to reconfirm that perhaps yes, Giuseppe Culicchia was right: the city in its best expressions is a home, we have the task of recognizing it and making it a project accessible to all.