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Welcome to the future: Milan’s milestone office development

Our latest WORKTECH Wednesday Briefing looks at the ground-breaking for a new European office project that strikes all the right notes in terms of light, air, community, nature, timber – and zero carbon

As the global workplace industry debates the emerging characteristics of the post-pandemic office development, some key phrases keep recurring in the conversation – mixed use, biophilic design, employee health, smart technology, integration with local environment and low carbon emissions among them.

It should be no great surprise, then, that an ambitious new development project that has just broken ground in Milan’s Rizzoli district should have so many eyes of it. The development, which is called ‘Welcome, feeling at work’, is sited in a previously abandoned industrial area and is due for completion in 2024.

The work of Japanese architects Kengo Kuma and Associates, this landmark Italian project  anchors offices, auditoria, coworking lounges, shops and restaurants around a newly created public piazza which is covered in vegetation and surrounded by soft rolling hills. More than 50,000 square metres of space is structured in six sites that are interwoven with each other and layer down towards an open park.

‘It aims to integrate with its surroundings and also catalyse local regeneration…’

A series of terraces host kitchen gardens, flower gardens and sheltered walkways, and ‘greenhouses’ provide special workspaces for fun and entertainment, as part of a strategy in which ‘work and nature interact in harmony’, according to the design team.

Commissioned by Europa Risorse, an independent Italian asset management platform, the concrete, steel and wood construction not only aims to integrate with its surroundings and catalyse local regeneration, but also achieve high sustainability goals; Platinum Well certification is a target. A host of smart, people-centric technologies will also be deployed on the project.

Kengo Kuma’s Welcome project looks set to become a ‘poster child’ for Europe’s economic fightback after the coronavirus crisis, which has hit northern Italy especially hard. It also contains many of the ingredients that will create the office development of the future worldwide. Watch a video on the scheme below.

Workplace Innovation goes to APAC

WORKTECH Events is bringing its Workplace Innovation virtual event to the APAC region on Thursday 25 March 2021. At a time where innovative thinking is the critical ingredient for workplace competitiveness, this conference calls upon experts such as Gillian Tett, Editor-at-Large of the Financial Times and Brian David Johnson, best-selling author and futurologist in residence at Arizona State University, to explore new organisational thinking.

The event will bring a mix of live and on-demand content addressing the unique challenges and opportunities for workplace innovation in the APAC region and on a global scale. There will be intervals in which attendees can network on a one-to-one and group scale and exhibition spaces where attendees can learn more about the innovations showcased throughout the day.

The WORKTECH Guide to Workplace Innovation will be launched alongside the event. This guide surveys the key players in workplace technology and presents a ‘Who’s Who’ of the sector to inform organisations looking to start their digital transformation. The event will also share new global case studies and research, and offer insight into the latest thinking around cutting-edge technologies such as robotics, AR and VR, data analytics and AI. Find out more and register for the event here.

The future of the Legal Workplace

For some industry sectors, such as technology, Covid-19 was merely an accelerator of trends that were already occurring in their organisation. But what about the more traditional workplace sectors such as law and finance? Large investment banks such as Goldman Sachs and Barclays have already placed their stake in the ground, rejecting remote working as a viable and sustainable mode of working for their workforce in the future. Does the legal sector have a similar trajectory?

Encouragingly not, according to an upcoming global report on the future of the legal workplace by Australian architects BVN, in partnership with WORKTECH Academy and Cushman & Wakefield. The report, due to be published at the end of March 2021, takes a global perspective on how international law firms are planning to move forward after the pandemic has passed.

It considers trends occurring in the legal workplace across three key regions: Australia, EMEA and North America. While there are some definitive differences between the regions, there is a commitment across the majority of firms to maintain flexible working after the pandemic. In this context, the report aims to explore the new purpose of the legal office and present different spatial design scenarios based on new ways of working in the sector. Stay tuned for the launch of the report on the WORKTECH Academy website on 24 March.

In our WORKTECH Wednesday Briefings, we reach out to our 10,000-plus Academy members, WORKTECH attendees, speakers, partners and sponsors while WORKTECH’s professional conference series continues through our virtual platforms. This edition is posted 10 March 2021.
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