The concept stems from the desire to bring the Bally story to life while preserving the history within the walls of this Milanese landmark, which in 1908 stood as the Kursaal theatre before it was transformed into a cinema from 1925 until it’s closure in 1989. The emphasis was placed on retaining key elements from the past linking them to contemporary and modern attitudes of Bally’s intervention.
The building offers 2,400 square metres of showroom and office space over four levels, housing Bally’s design, merchandising, visual merchandising and communications teams. The showroom occupies 836 square metres. The original 9 metre ceiling height was kept.
The project originated with the magnificent entrance and immense proportion of the space, which until now wasn’t visible from outside. The original blacked out windows were replaced with extra clear transparent glass frameless windows that let natural light in. Tall glass doors welcomingly open the building to the street. Walls: white washed and raw, retaining the character and frames of the building’s original structure. The original imprint of a stamp remains visible in concrete on the back wall of the entrance from when the structure was built. Floor: handmade brass ‘bolts’ inserted into the grey resin floor mirror the octagon shaped structure of the dome roof, evoking the idea of craftsmanship and detail.
There are three key elements in this white space connected to a neat dome roof:
• The reception desk: a full block of Bally red marble topped with brass
• The Bally crown: a suspended round chandelier made of neon light letters visible day and night
• Three passages made of red marble and brass highlight the entrance to the showroom. These gates have revolving doors that hide or open to the showroom, and are reminiscent of vault doors.
The entrance was designed as a gallery space with a rotating display of new works – connecting with the community and providing a window into Bally. This is the foyer of our theatre.
Designed as an open space amphitheater, the showroom is made of moving parts. The space was built in two sections – the first being lower and the second higher, reaching 9 metres. The sections are clearly divided by a strong line of brass that covers the floor and walls. The higher space is dominated by 6 wide arch windows which allow a cascade of natural light.
Walls: in the first section they are made of cast concrete - an ode to Swiss architecture, which
perfects the use of this material.
Floor: Grey resin
Ceiling: black plasterboard
Heritage materials such as Bally red marble and brass
Viroc sculptured staircase structures, created with fibre concrete panels and brass, are both aesthetically useful and technically resistant. Built on wheels, they can be moved to create different scenes or spaces and are used to display product, based on evolving needs.
Accessories are displayed on walls, either in modular dark Okumè wooden shelf systems, simply attached to shallow and thin brass linear shelves, or in modular brass shelving. These structures can change and lend themselves to many forms, enabling flexibility. Blocks of sculpture like furniture come in brass or covered in fabric.
They have drawers that slide all the way out - the brass detail doubles as sleek handles and lends itself to a working showroom flowing with the natural movement of the room. Mirrors enable a flowing room with no blocks allowing clients to move around freely. There are no natural corners or end. Custom designed tables with a black and brass structure and grey marble top are paired with custom chairs in a black tubular structure with grey leather. Original Jean Prouvé chairs, linking to Bally’s modernist legacy.