PRICELESS MILANO is a temporary installation located on top of Palazzo Beltrami in Piazza della Scala, Milan. This living unit designed entirely by Park Associati can be moved around and placed on top of existing buildings in striking locations. It is also designed to be a sort of travelling gastronomic theatre, a ‘Carro di Tespi’ (travelling theatrical company ), where leading chefs from all over the world are invited to show off their skills on a rotational basis at special cooking shows. The pavilion features a number of integrated features of varying degrees of complexity forming a sophisticated building programme that brings together architecture and interior design carefully created right down to the most minute detail. The aim was to create a distinctive but not over-imposing form that confronts rather than collides with miscellaneous urban surroundings. So PRICELESS MILANO is a temporary structure serving as a restaurant fitted out with an extremely flexible space that carefully adapts to the locations in which it is installed. The pavilion is open to the general public for bookings and can accommodate up to 24 seated guests around one single table (plus the restaurant staff) or, alternatively, 66 people standing for special events.
Flexible interiors The restaurant is divided into two areas: a kitchen area and dining area. The kitchen is geared to the demands of professional catering. The dining area is set around one single table and boarded around the outside by all-glass facades. Window-doors have also been placed around the sides of the dining area that lead through to two outside terraces. Guest chefs cook for the diners, entertaining and guiding them on this special culinary journey. Every single moment inside the pavilion is a unique experience; if need be, sliding walls can separate the kitchen from the dining area, and the table can be lifted up to the ceiling to completely free up the space.
Modularity The object in question is a small piece of architecture constructed in a workshop (150 m²) with the distinctive feature of being easy to move around and assemble in a very short space of time (two days). The building is made out of a modular structure consisting of eight blocks assembled on site that are fully furnished and equipped with all the latest electrical appliances. The individual pieces are ≤ 3-30 high, 2.30 m wide and between 4.60-5.90 m in length. This means they can be transported by road and then installed (up on the roofs) by crane using tie-rods. The individual units are assembled by placing them alongside each other.
Windows The glass box is composed of a facade with fixed and sliding units made of glass. Double-glazing with 1.0 W/m2K transmittance will have the following ratings: 70/40 selective coating, 8mm tempering, 15 mm argon 90, 6+6+pvb acoustic layering, The frames of both the fixed and moving glass windows are heat-insulated and watertight.
Outside cladding The pavilion is covered with a perforated, press-formed, anodised aluminium skin in bronze/gold shades. The aluminium skin that rests on top of the restaurant units like a wing is held in position in the middle by 8 “invisible” supports. This “sail” is designed to protect the structure against solar radiation, also ensuring conditions on the terrace below are comfortable: its broken-wing shape creates an overall sense of lightness and suspension.
Assembly The restaurant is assembled in 2 stages. The first stage involves preparing the area and installing the metal-framed substructure on which the pavilion units rest. All 8 units are carefully assembled during the second phase and the metal roof is also set in place. To speed up assembly and dismantling operations, all the units are constructed and tested out in a workshop, so that they are easy to move and fast to assemble, as well as being sealed together at the chosen location. This is why extremely simple, lightweight manual transportation systems have been envisaged and provided.
INTERIOR FINISHING Restaurant The restaurant space is furnished with just one big 8 metre long table with a honeycomb-shaped aluminium structure and moulded, vitrified aluminium surface to create a sort of custom-designed technological napkin. 24 Mollina chairs (Driade) complete the furnishing of the space that is entirely lit by Flos lamps. Guests are greeted by the spectacular sight of a fully-laid table descending from the ceiling into the empty space ready to accommodate the diners. The space has tiled floors both inside and outside, whose woody look adds a sense of warmth and welcoming. Great attention has been paid to the premises’ acoustics: the ceiling is completely micro-perforated and the vertical parts of the lateral stanchions are lined with sound-absorbing fabric panels. Kitchen The kitchen is composed of two separate areas: the food preparation space and cooking facility. The former, out of view from the diners, is made of suitable materials for handling food; the linoleum floor is fitted with coves in the corners. The walls are lacquered, opaque and washable and the false ceiling is made of opaque lacquered laminated panels. The cooking area is in full view and features a central island with a Corian steel surface. The tiled floors in the cooking and dining areas create a sense of continuity and the same applies to the false ceiling. The rear wall in this area is covered with a sheet of press-formed, anodised aluminium in bronze/gold shades. This washable surface forms an ideal backdrop for the chefs working in the kitchen.