HomeArchitectureLe Village in Milan, DEGW redesigns the workplace in an ancient cloister

Le Village in Milan, DEGW redesigns the workplace in an ancient cloister


Le Village is the international project launched by Crèdit Agricole in 2014 to support innovative start-ups and companies with great potential for growth: recently the first Italian headquarters have been inaugurated in Milan in the heart of Porta Romana district and are located in the renovated cloister of a 14th century convent.

The intervention has been signed by DEGW (Lombardini22 Group brand), whose architects have proposed a new concept of workplace on 2700 sqm of space, with 200 workstations for accommodating approximately 50 start-ups.

Starting from the idea of ecosystem, the architects have combined the respect for architectural history with that touch of freshness required by the new identity, focusing on transparency and casual furnishing.

The project is set over three floors: convivial spaces for sharing combined with work areas, such as enclosed rooms and open-space areas, set around the spacious landscaped central cloister furnished with sofas for relaxing and interacting.

The ground floor, covering almost 1000 square metres not counting the glazed partitions designed so that the cloister’s harmonious design can be enjoyed on the inside too, has arcades furnished with tables, chairs, armchairs and patches of greenery for hosting informal meetings; in addition, a range of different meeting rooms and spaces for hosting miscellaneous activities are set around the ground floor.

Then, there are three special rooms in particular: La Place is the heart of the village, the most distinctive and largest space, open to all guests and reconfigurable for hosting events and conferences; Living Lab, a space for holding events and communal activities; the VIP room for specially arranged meetings.

Up on the first floor, which is smaller because of the double-height of the ground-floor rooms, a loggia opening onto the courtyard furnished with coffee tables and informal areas embraces smaller rooms for start-ups (6-8 people), meeting rooms, utilities like lockers and photocopy machines, as well as two break areas – a coffee kiosk and food kiosk with landscaping incorporated.

The interior layout changes on the second and top floor, which is as spacious as the ground floor: this area contains large rooms where workstations can be rented out, small rooms for start-ups, and corridors for informal meetings.

The connection and transition spaces, landings, porticos and loggias on all the floors spontaneously turn in to premises for hosting formal meetings and discussions thanks to the overall design layout, while access to the various premises and reserving work desks in the meeting areas is managed through a special app, smart locks incorporated in the fixtures and a QR code for each individual work station.

Regarding the interior design, the premises have been kept simple, with accents of colour in various shades of green (which is Crédit Agricole corporate colour) and the brick floors evoke the site’s old identity, as do the high wooden ceilings.

Careful attention has been focused on improving the spaces’ acoustics, particularly the vaulted rooms on the ground floor, where decorative as well as functional use has been made of sound-absorbing features through creative suspended compositions; sound-absorbing panels are also used to divide up the spaces and help create visually striking colour patterns on the walls.

A new concept of workplace where innovation and history come together.

Photography is by Laura Fantacuzzi.