Keywords Change this

Forgotten Masterpieces

Project timeline

1955 – 1957


Hotel & Restaurant

Location Change this


Architect Change this

Pirelli Workers' Canteen Change this

Milan, Italy
by Giulio Minoletti Change this
1 of 4

Description Change this

In the early 1900s, Bicocca, a suburb of Milan, develops around the Pirelli factories. In 1955, this industrialization has grown to a massive scale, and the tyre manufacturing company appoints architect Giulio Minoletti to design a canteen for its 1600 employees. Following a study tour in the United States organized by the client to study similar buildings in North America, the project is tackled with two priorites: distribution and use. The diners are subdivided into two separate shifts of 800 each for expediency; the self-service system is adopted for the first time in Italy. Food preparation, cooking, distribution and consumption are organized along four parallel lines; the routes of kitchen staff and diners are carefully considered to avoid any possible interference. To abandon the factory environment during the meal, Minoletti designs the remaining area as a perspectival setting. Through the use of earthworks, he molds a grassy slope and places a shallow water basin at its foot. It is this picturesque landscape that the dining room overlooks through a large curtain wall, one that in the summertime is operable, to stretch the interplay between interior and exterior. The public and critics alike warmly welcome the Pirelli canteen. Yet sadly, both the relocation of the company and the urban transformation of the area brought about the demolition of the building in the late '90s.


  • Alessio Rosati


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