AR Awards for Emerging Architecture

Honourable mention


Headquarters and showroom

Milan, Italy

December 2006
'Dolce & Gabbana is the Dream: a luxury brand that owes its incomparable appeal to superior sartorial content and stylistic originality. Dolce & Gabbana evolves but never changes radically. An unmistakable timeless style, standing for an unconventional luxury which combines innovation with the strong Mediterranean flavour of its origins. A brand whose essence lies in its contrasting yet complementary features. The Dolce & Gabbana man and woman are individualists who know how to get the most out of life, and see clothes as an expression of their lifestyle.' According to this marketing excerpt, the D&G headquarters building in Milan is bang on brand.
With contrasting yet complementary features and a timeless elegant style, the D&G HQ occupies two buildings, one from the 1920s the other from the '20s. Linked by a new lift, stair and ramp core, the buildings present strikingly different manners, with a bold new facade articulated by vertically modulated glass panels. With offices set within the Italianate palazzo, new showrooms occupy the glazed volume. With a tripartite composition, the building is cut back at street level, and has an inset attic storey that contains a restaurant that benefits from intimate external terraces.
With apparently effortless finesse and elegance, the architects have achieved an architectural synthesis that reflects D&G's sophisticated and distinctive attitude to style, encapsulating its sensation, tradition, culture and Mediterranean nature. White Namibian stone, glass and sheet steel combine in an eclectic yet refined mix. There is no need for any pretentious architectural strutting here. R. G.

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