In a former aircraft factory, Gucci’s new creative hub takes flight

Exterior view of new Gucci stores with large mirrored glass walls
The Piuarch-designed Gucci Hub in Milan houses the brand’s collected offices, showrooms and studios into one 35,000 sq m complex
(Image credit: Photography: Andrea Martiradonna)

The Caproni aeronautical factory complex has been restored, renovated and refreshed by Piuarch to create the Gucci Hub, a new Milanese home for the brand. Combining contemporary architecture with the original factory buildings – which date back to 1915, just six years prior to the founding of Gucci in 1921 – the modern renovation of the Caproni site is a celebration of Gucci and its culture, as currently driven by creative director Alessandro Michele (who designed the Hub's interiors).

Rolling out over 35,000 sq m, the complex encompasses offices, showrooms, a venue for shows, and photography and graphic studios, offering a space distinct from the Gucci HQ in Florence and the design office in Rome. The architects struck a balance between preserving the original structures, built for aircraft manufacturing, and designing a contemporary space for a modern workforce. A line of sheds, full of natural light and with exposed brick facades, were repurposed and the vast 3,850 sq m hangar was renovated to host shows.

Rooftop view of Gucci hubs in courtyard

With renewable energy sourced from a photovoltaic solar system, the buildings are smart and sustainable

(Image credit: Photography: Andrea Martiradonna)

Piuarch’s ‘industrial archaeology’ involved demolishing building additions from the 1960s and 70s, which made way for lime-tree-lined patios connecting the site to the public promenade, and a central plaza with vertical gardens enhancing the working environment for the 250 Gucci employees based at the hub. A new six-storey office block is at the heart of the design, its glass facade and dark metal brise-soleil harmonising with the original metal structural parts and crowning, cast in the same material across the red brick walls.

Interior of one Gucci room with red interior walls and flooring

The interiors reflect Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele’s eclectic aesthetic

(Image credit: Photography: Andrea Martiradonna)

It’s impossible not to compare the project to the nearby Fondazione Prada – located in a former gin distillery 15 minutes drive away, established in 1910 and renovated by OMA in 2015. While the two locations have broad conceptual similarities (they're both renovations of old industrial buildings), the Gucci Hub preserves the industrial spirit of its past through the uniform simplicity of the structures and the strong continuous zigzag of the shed roofs.

Through its collaborations with other fashion houses (such as Dolce & Gabanna, and Givenchy), Piuarch has demonstrated its deft ability to communicate a brand identity through a building. With no small success, the firm has conceived a contemporary vision within an historic setting for the Gucci Hub.

Exterior view of bricked offices with large glass windows at front

After Gucci acquired the site at 79 Via Mecenate in 2013, Piuarch led a meticulous restoration of the original Caproni factory buildings

(Image credit: Photography: Andrea Martiradonna)

Interior of one store selling sun glasses

The designers sought to create a defined personality for each space

(Image credit: Photography: Andrea Martiradonna)

Indoor seating area with wall length posters of Gucci models

The Gucci Hub is well equipped for press and visitors

(Image credit: Photography: Andrea Martiradonna)

Rooftop view of the old Caproni factory

The Caproni factory was an aircraft production centre until 1950

(Image credit: Photography: Andrea Martiradonna)


For more information, visit the Piuarch website and the Gucci website

Harriet Thorpe is a writer, journalist and editor covering architecture, design and culture, with particular interest in sustainability, 20th-century architecture and community. After studying History of Art at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and Journalism at City University in London, she developed her interest in architecture working at Wallpaper* magazine and today contributes to Wallpaper*, The World of Interiors and Icon magazine, amongst other titles. She is author of The Sustainable City (2022, Hoxton Mini Press), a book about sustainable architecture in London, and the Modern Cambridge Map (2023, Blue Crow Media), a map of 20th-century architecture in Cambridge, the city where she grew up.