In July 2017, Chef Express completed the renovation of a genuine icon of motorway catering, the first ever restaurant service area in Italy, established by the confectionery entrepreneur Mario Pavesi in 1947. The refurbishment project, designed by architect Massimo Iosa Ghini, resulted in a complete restyling from an aesthetic point of view, but also in terms of logistics and of the range of catering and services offered.
Particular attention was given to catering – as such, a series of differentiated areas were created to give specific focus to the assortment of fresh products available for immediate or takeaway consumption. In order to create a higher level of integration with the local area, a special focus was placed on regional produce bearing the “Firmato Dagli Agricoltori Italiani” (Made by Italian Farmers) trademark, based on an agreement between Chef Express and Filiera Agricola Italiana spa, promoted by Coldiretti. The sales concept was also revolutionised. The new 'Chef Store' is a stop-over space where you can have a break, not the kind of forced exit track typical to most motorway service stations. The new shopping area has its own functional identity as it features a multi-track layout: “fast” if you want to buy something to take away, “slow” for typical regional produce and “tech” for phones and electronic goods. This system allows the customer to decide where they want to go and how long they want to take. The design created Iosa Ghini Associati is also firmly based on sustainability. The building has been completely refurbished and insulated with over 1000 m2 of external lamellar fir wood cladding, which has enabled reducing the use of air conditioning systems to a minimum. Energy savings have been further increased through the use of control systems that optimize electrical energy management thanks to a photovoltaic plant, the LED luminaires and the high efficiency heating and air conditioning systems. This has achieved savings of over 500,000 kWh, equal to a yearly reduction in CO2 emissions of about 210 tonnes. All the electrical energy used is also certified to be 100% sourced from renewable sources.
The lighting system is entirely LED, combining Front Light projectors with recessed Laser Blades to create a wide range of optics, dimensions and performance. Track-mounted Front Light luminaires are used mainly in the market area, as they guarantee perfect vertical shelf illumination and can be moved easily to suit the layout of the goods on display.
The main lighting design feature is the use of Tunable White technology in the large open-plan areas, like the areas reserved for catering, which are illuminated using Laser Blade Tunable White with a combination of 30° and 48° optics. This choice was made to improve the quality of the customer experience in this area, particularly as it provides free Wi-Fi access and charging points for various devices.
The same technology was also used in the transit areas on the ground floor on both the Milan and Turin sides to create a clear distiction between indoors and outdoors.
The lighting variation cycle is controlled by a Master Pro KNX management system that creates constant cycles that only allow for the starting point (which coincides with dawn) to change. This start time is triggered by the seasons and geographical coordinates of a particular location, using an astronomical clock which is connected to the control system. The start time is then adapted to suit the season in progress at a given time. At the beginning of the cycle the temperature is 2700 K, cooling to 3400 K during the first half hour to then stay constant until 10.30 am (set time). During this time slot the cold component and intensity of the light flux increase while the warm temperature percentage remains fixed. Between 10.30 a.m. and 2.00 p.m. the colour temperature reaches 4200 K and after 2.00 pm, it drops again to 3400 K, remaining constant until 30 minutes before sunset, also defined by the astronomical clock. Afterwards, it drops again to a temperature of 2700 K, remaining constant for the whole night. The Novara service station was the first to use this system and the trial was so successful that is has since been introduced at Fabro with the aim of improving the quality of travellers’ stay.
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