Places in Prato:
Renewed spaces

The Pecci Centre

A new contemporary icon at the entrance of the city

In 1988 was born in Prato the first centre in Italy dedicated to contemporary art. Wanted by the entrepreneur Enrico Pecci and donated to the city in memory of his son Luigi, the Centre was established with the support of several founding members, including the City of Prato, the Industrial Union, the Cassa di Risparmio di Prato and a large number of private citizens, rare Italian example of cooperation between public institutions and private patrons. Its mission was to promote awareness of the emerging art - national and international – through temporary exhibitions, educational activities, documentation and information, performances and multimedia events. The Pecci Centre has a unique collection in Italy of more than 1,000 works by leading international artists: from Anish Kapoor to Jan Fabre, from Jannis Kounellis to Sol LeWitt, as well as the great Italians of the last century, such as Mario Merz and Michelangelo Pistoletto.

To ensure the correct enhancement of this heritage, at the beginning of the twenty-first century the Pecci Centre has decided to double the exhibition space and, at the same time, to restore the original building by Gamberini, that had some critical and obsolete aspects. The enlargement, supported by the Municipality of Prato and Tuscany Region through European Funds, began in 2006 and was focused on building a new annex with a strong architectural impact, linked to the original structure, whose functions and services have meanwhile been requalified. The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Italy has supported the construction of the new building.
The complex, at the end of the works, covers an area of about 10,000 square meters.

In addition to the exhibition space it houses an archive and a specialized library, which has assets of more than 50,000 volumes, an open air theatre with 1,000 seats, a cinema/auditorium with 140 seats, a performance space with 400 seats, a bookshop, a pub/bistro and a restaurant, as well as work and meeting rooms.
The enlargement is by Maurice Nio – the Dutch architect founder of the NIO architecten studio in Rotterdam one of the most original interpreters of the architectural culture of our time. Commissioned by the Pecci family in 2006, the project is inspired by the desire to own the new cultural program of the museum.
Aim of the Nio project is to promote the cohesion between the Centre and its territory. The existing building is completely preserved and left intact in all its aspects. It is approached by a new ring shape building which, taking the design of the original surrounding parkland, is oriented towards the public realm.