Piero Lissoni is an Italian designer and architect renowned for his contemporary furniture design. He founded the interdisciplinary studio called Lissoni Associati, located in Milan. He and his studio partner Nicoletta Canesi focus on architecture, interior, and product design. A few years back, he founded two more studios – Lissoni Architettura, which takes charge of the many architectural projects; and Lissoni Inc, located in New York, where the interior projects are developed for the US, Canada, and South American clients. He is a multi-disciplinary architect whose projects range from architecture and design to interior, product/light design, art direction, graphics, and corporate projects. Here are 15 of his projects.
1. Aquarium – New York
Located on the East River, the Aquarium occupies an area of 40,000 sqm. The design concept involves a large water basin with the aquarium and a marine centre on a submerged island. A boardwalk goes around the water basin resembling a floating ring. This creates a link and connects the city and a new public park to the aquarium. The aquarium has a retractable roof that opens during the day to function as an aquarium and closes at night to double as a planetarium.
2. LibrAir – New York
There’s a piece of land called Sheep Meadow in New York, which was used for sheep grazing in the early times, and then for concerts, protests, and similar public activities. Lissoni proposed for this area to be a space of reading and sharing. Hence the project is conceptualized into an open library. Individual bookcases are placed around the space to help people find the books they want, through their mobile phones. The design resembles an open book, which is arranged radially, leaving an open breathable space in the center.
3. Private villa – Tel Aviv
Located in the Middle East, this project is a collaboration with Tehila Shelf Architects. It resembles a floating pavilion. The design is inspired by modern architecture and features walls with openings to the outside and windows facing the garden. A unique feature in this residence is the wooden window screens that move in response to the sunlight. The pavilion is of two floors, including a double-height space, which features a staircase designed by Lissoni. It is made in black steel and connects the ground floor to the lower floor.
4. Language Symphony – London
This is a proposal designed by Lissoni for an iconic museum space in London. The primary function is to celebrate, curate, and share the languages of the world. It is the center of a global community where the origins and deconstruction of a language can be learned and shared. Using innovation and technology, this museum is designed to be very interactive with the users.
5. Underground Bath House – Korea
Inspired by the Korean term Sanlimyok –meaning forest bathing, which involves visiting a forest for recreation and relaxation – this project exists above and underground. The design enables the users to experience the different ways of the relaxing bathing process, such as a swim in the lake and a walk in the forest. The bathhouse structure and the bathing spaces are vaulted brick structures, which resemble the shape of a water drop.
6. Boardwalk Residential – Ajman
This is a real estate, a residential project developed in collaboration with Solidere International. The typology is luxurious serviced apartments that have sea views and amenities such as panoramic swimming pools and gyms. The façade consists of long continuous balconies that enhance the shape of the building. The Boardwalk area features lively restaurants, a beach club, and different shops. The design is inspired by modern architecture and the signature Italian style of the studio.
7. Glas Italia Headquarters – Macherio
This 10,000 sqm building features a glass façade making it an iconic building. The façade has narrow black steel window frame insets. The horizontal lamellas provide additional light and ventilation inside the building. Upon entering the building, employees and visitors are welcomed by an open-air atrium and a garden with a pond. The architect has designed a black steel staircase, which can be seen in this project as well.
8. Private villa – Tuscany
This project is a very simple and minimal structure located in a protected nature reserve. It is constructed from thin cement sheets and walls made from gypsum board. The primary function of the structure is a retreat for contemplation. Another signature black metallic staircase can be seen in this project.
9. Galleria Ferrari Tower Square – Maranello
This project is located in a small town in Italy and aims to create architecture defined by geometry. The design has managed to be a qualitative urban design without clashing with the existing architecture of the Galleria Ferrari. The materials used are contemporary and innovative such as polycarbonate. Cladding panels of different sizes make up the translucent skin of the structure. The windows open towards the views of the surrounding countryside. At night, the backlighting turns the building into a luminescent body. The backlighting is also used to highlight different symbolic colors such as red for Ferrari events.
10. Benetton Concept store – Istanbul
The store is located in an earthquake zone; hence the design underwent many restrictions. It was also subject to strict urban planning regulations. Due to the elasticity and load-bearing capacity, concrete and steel were used. The façade cladding is of steel plates, which are light-weight and thin, and therefore reduce the overall building weight. The design concept and the completed structure resembles a chest of unevenly opened drawers.
11. The Middle house hotel – Shanghai
This project involved designing the façade and interior design of two existing towers: a hotel with 111 rooms, called the Middle House Hotel, and the Middle House Residences consisting of 102 serviced apartments. The façade consists of a series of rounded aluminum louvers, which ensure privacy and shade to the guestrooms. The interior design is very stylized and grand. It includes many contemporary styles and locally inspired forms.
12. High Lines – New York
This design for a walkway in New York aims to reinvent the idea of a typical walkway. The city has a huge contrast of scale between the buildings and the sidewalks, and hence the design is inspired by a living organism that constantly adapts and changes shape according to the heights of the surroundings. It is conceptualized to be suspended from the surrounding structures.
13. Roomers Hotel – Baden- Baden
This is an urban project designed in collaboration with the German architecture firm – KHP Architekten. The hotel, featuring 130 suites and rooms, a restaurant, bar, outdoor pool, and spa is located close to the main city. It is also adjacent to the City Concert Hall and a park. The characteristic feature is the ample open space, which is surrounded by a full-height glass façade. Natural materials such as wood and stone are used with light colors to make it a welcome and comfortable space.
14. Monte Carlo residence – Monaco
The main aim of the design was to create a mixed-use project. The form is a series of cantilevered terraces and double-height spaces. The residence offers beautiful views of the ocean and the public gardens. A thin and pristine white spiral staircase connects the levels in the double-height spaces. The interior is very simple and minimal and wooden tones and materials are used.
15. Living Divani Headquarters – Anzano del Parco
Located in the industrial zone of a town in Italy, this design involves the expansion of the company’s headquarters. The characteristic feature of the design is the choice of plates of U-glass mounted on the galvanized steel structure of the building. This type of glass is a U-shaped channel glass used in most façades, due to its interlocking ability. The plates span horizontally along the front façade and are placed at irregular intervals. During the day, the interior spaces get maximum sunlight.
Architects like Piero Lissoni prove that the field of architecture is vast and one can learn and practice combining allied fields such as interior design, art, technology, and product design. The buildings that he designs have one characteristic and signature feature that enhances the design and makes the building an iconic one.