Cover photo credits ©  Wikimedia/ Carlo Dell'Orto
Cover photo credits ©  Wikimedia/ Carlo Dell'Orto

"Mondadori headquarters" in Milan by Oscar Niemeyer

2 minutes to read

Oscar Niemeyer was a Brazilian architect.  He was (and still is) one of the key figures in the development of modern architecture. The straight line was not attractive to him, and this is clear in his work, becoming his visual signature. His curved designs were a “huge headache” for civil engineers. His designs examine the potentials of reinforced concrete, and this is one of his most important contributions to architecture.  His private life was fascinating, as well. He died just before celebrating his 105 birthday.  During his long life, he spent a period living in Paris because of political exile from Brazil. He remarried at 99 (!), and his architecture is even more exciting than his life! Promising, right?  His most iconic buildings are in Brasilia and New York, but he also honored the European land to have some of his masterpieces. One of these buildings is the Mondadori headquarters near Milan

Between 1950 and 1965, one of Europe’s top publishing companies (back then and now) increased the number of their employees for almost ten times. That was the main reason for a new building. Three years before Giorgio Mondadori hired Oscar for the design of the building, he visited the object of Foreign Ministry in Brasilia (Oscar's design). After Giorgio witnessed this design, nothing could change his mind. He wanted the building to look like the Itamaraty Palace (also known as Palace of the Arches) in Brasilia. Niemeyer agreed and used this reference, creating a design that he will later refer to as his best piece in Europe.

For me beauty is valued more than anything - the beauty that is manifest in a curved line or in an act of creativity. 

What was the initial idea about this object?

Niemeyer was always up for innovative design- not only for the shape and material usage but also the functionality. His idea was to create an open space for free communication and a harmonical work environment. 

My work is not about 'form follows function,' but 'form follows beauty' or, even better, 'form follows feminine.' 
© Wikimedia/ Carlo Dell'Orto
© Wikimedia/ Carlo Dell'Orto

The headquarters are in Segrate, just outside of Milan. The five-floor glass "paralleled" pipe is accommodating offices and newsrooms. A construction of distinctive arcades surrounds the glass object. Oscar's design completes with two low, curved structures. The park surrounding the building carries the signature of the landscape artist Pietro Porcinai with an artificial lake that is over 20000 sqm big.

©Wikimedia/ Carlo Dell'Orto
©Wikimedia/ Carlo Dell'Orto

If you feel like visiting iconic architectural objects, you can visit Segrate by the suburban lines S5 and S6 from Milan, with four trains each hour. They also connect Segrate to the city by bus 924. 


The author

Zlata Golaboska

Zlata Golaboska

I am Zlata and I am an architect living in the Balkans. I am passionate about cities, how people influence architecture and vice versa, and how places change our lives.

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