Places in Prato:
Renewed spaces

Chamber of Commerce

Former textile factory which maintains a strong connection with the memory and identity of the city

Following a 2004 competition, the new Chamber of Commerce of Prato has found a new seat in this former textile factory, which has been totally restored with enhanced functions and a contemporary image that retains at the same time strong ties to the city's memory and identity. The renovation of this imposing mid-nineteenth century urban block was undertaken with precise objectives: sensitive conversion of existing constructions, creation of new public spaces, use of energy-saving technology (it is now a class A+ building) and employment of technology and reused materials according to the principles of circular economy and architecture. The city’s 20th-century industrial history is projected into our own days through an innovative image that evokes and reinterprets the very soul of the Prato textile district: the building is enveloped by metal mesh (brise-soleil) cladding that brings to mind the idea of fabric.

Despite its new contemporary style, the industrial building has been kept virtually intact in its original architectural and structural features: the only real exception, in addition to the new entrances, is the vast opening over Via Baldanzi, with the Boardroom now overlooking the city. In this perspective, the project by the MDU Architetti studio, developed with the Favero and Milan Ingegneria Srl and Seti Ingegneria Srl companies, symbolically opens up the building to the city, emphasizing the public role of the Chamber of Commerce: the current internal courtyard, a garden-square which is accessible during office opening hours, has become a new urban centre related to its surroundings and provided with a new, important connection with Via Valentini, a long-time reference route of the city.