Francesca Perani designs functional beauty in an industrial space

There are environments where we don’t expect to find good interior design – and production plants certainly fall into this category. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, such as the intervention carried out by the Italian architect Francesca Perani. The “Small break” project, whose name clearly refers to both its size and its function, covers an area of ​​only 19 square meters on the ground floor of a mezzanine under an industrial structure composed of rigid steel frames, all located in a plastics processing plant with a total area of ​​800 square meters.
The client’s idea was to transform the small space, once used only to store industrial materials, into a flexible and multifunctional space, where employees can rest during the busy working day and also serves as a dedicated showroom for product display. As architect Francesca Perani explains of her approach to the design challenge: “I was interested in opening a dialogue between the language of the factory’s rigid structure and the needs of an adaptable room where the warmth of the playful wooden interiors intertwined with clear methacrylate contrasts and connects with the raw environment. outside”.
On the one hand, it was a question of disconnecting the users from the intense noise of the machines and the cold technical lighting of the factory and of stimulating them to reconnect with themselves through a warmer and more welcoming environment. On the other hand, the objective was to emphasize the durable qualities of plastic, its transparency, its aesthetic quality, its functionality and its recyclability.
A dual functionality that Francesca Perani brings to life with a few decisive and effective gestures of design. The metal structure of the mezzanine was painted in the bright yellow color required in industrial safety. A transparent covering of dividing panels in extra-clear methacrylate ensures a visual dialogue with the outside and reflects the natural light that enters from the company’s hangars. Custom low-cost pine plywood furniture transforms the old warehouse into a relaxing space, combining soft textures and shapes with the rigid skeleton of the existing factory. In addition, the new diagonal table in the center of the room plays a special role, becoming the center of conviviality during breaks, as well as for formal or informal meetings.
The woodwork in the small room is also interesting, perfectly matching the resin finish of the floor, the same as in the rest of the factory. It hides the cupboards and the ventilation system, while all the conveniences of the small kitchen have been concealed inside custom-built storage units in the area under the mezzanine staircase. An integrated backlit linear LED system transforms the entire shelf into a showcase area for customers and retailers, where they can view samples of company-made plastic products.
Mini Break by Francesca Perani, the transformation of a dark and residual space into a new onecenter and showroomwell-lit and silent, shows us how much a little creativity and precise design gestures can do to achieve great results even in small spaces, benefiting the well-being of workers and visitors alike.

Christiane Burklein

Project: Francesca Perani
Location: Albano S. Alessandro, Italy
Year: 2021
Images: Francesca Perani