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Autogrill Villoresi Ovest

In November 2020, after undergoing restoration work, an icon of Italian design, the autogrill Villoresi Ovest re-opened its doors. 
A little bit of history: after the first service station opened in 1947 on the Turin-Milan motorway, next to the Novara toll booth - built by Mario Pavesi with the idea of creating a «refreshment point of the Pavesi biscuit factory» - 11 years later, in 1958, in full economic boom, the second and most talked about ever Autogrill opened: the Villoresi at Lainate on the Milan-Lakes motorway. 

A futuristic project and the brainchild of the architect Angelo Bianchetti's brilliance, that many would say looked more like a rocket launch pad rather than a service station. The circular shape closed in by glass walls and overlooked by three arches that raised the Pavesi brand to a height of 51 metres instantly captured the collective imagination, so much so, that it appeared in Life magazine in September 1960 and was hailed as a symbolic work of economic rebirth in Europe.

Andrea Langhi Design’s restoration work on it managed to stay loyal to the classic design without overturning the original iconic arched tripod while still revamping the premises using contemporary material and technologies and preserving the sign of the times in the restaurant's name: Ristorante 1958.

Sustainability took centre stage in the project. LED lighting luminaires reduce the energy impact and guarantee uniform lighting. Internally, Laser Blade and Front Light blend into the new spaces. The Laser Blades are used in a lot of the common areas and blend in so well as to almost disappear into the architecture. The Front Light spotlights are installed on curved tracks, produced specifically for the project and arranged around large Baroque-inspired chandeliers created using scraps of Murano glass. They are installed on track circles with different diameters that adapt to the original shape of the construction. IN30 linear luminaires are radial arranged to illuminate both the area behind the bar and the customers' area. The Laser recess lights provide an integration, located to the rear of the bar, above the area where equipment like coffee machines are kept. The Laser recess lights are also widely used in the bathroom area, both to light the way and inside the toilets.

Externally, in order to highlight and further emphasis the shape of the tripod, the decision was taken to use Trick 360° RGB luminaires customised to integrate into the structure: the coloured light flow is set into small metal visors running the whole length of the arches and a DMX control system is used to change colour. Different scenarios have been created that are then activated at different times of the year: it varies from a solid colour, so the tripod is all red, white or blue up to the formation of the Italian flag.

Other solutions were also adopted as part of the renovation work to reduce the energy impact such as the installation of a photovoltaic system and double-glazing with filter films against UV rays that are high performing in terms of heat insulation; high-level energy efficient heat pumps and air treatment units provide natural air conditioning; all regulated by a remote-control system (BMS-Building Management System). 

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  • Year
  • Client
    Autogrill Italia SpA
  • Architectural project:
    Angelo Bianchetti (1958)
    Andrea Langhi Design
  • Photographer
    Paolo Carlini