The Davines Group, which specializes in professional products for hair and skin care with the Davines and Comfort Zone brands, just inaugurated its new headquarters just outside Parma.
The architectural project, designed by Matteo Thun’s and Luca Colombo’s Studio MTLC, represents the most tangible realization of the values of beauty, sustainability and wellbeing that drive the company led by Davide Bollati.
Built on a surface of 77,000 square metres, the complex covers about 11,000 square metres (20% of the total area) and includes spaces dedicated to offices, training, Research and Development laboratory, production plant, warehouse, and a large central greenhouse used as restaurant and co-working area. The interiors have been taken care of by the interior designer Monica Signani, who has designed in every detail furnishings and accessories brought to life by her personal designs with particular care in the selection and choice of materials and the definition of finishes. The academy and the testspace areas are curated by the interior designer Charlotte Biltgen for Ame.
The remaining spaces (80% of the total area) have been allocated to green areas of different types, designed by the renowned landscape architecture studio Del Buono Gazerwitz. They include different gardens, a scientific vegetable garden in which are cultivated some of the plant species used in their cosmetic formulations, and Green Kilometre, a strip of vegetation whose function is to protect the area from the emissions coming from the nearby motorway.
In line with the spirit that guides every activity of the Group, Davines Village has been designed to communicate a message of deep care for people and the environment. Transparency, lightness, nature, sustainability, community and wellbeing are the key words that characterize the project and find expression through the overall plan, the choice of materials such as glass and wood, and sustainable technical and building choices.
The structure of Davines Village, developed from the concept of “home”, reinterprets in a contemporary key the archetypes of traditional dwellings typical of Italian rural areas. The buildings that house the offices, the areas dedicated to training, and the laboratories recall the shape of many 2-story houses arranged around two central courtyards, in order to emphasize the company’s family roots and convey a sensation of welcome, intimacy and community. Made of titanium zinc, wood and glass and with a minimum amount of masonry elements, they are designed to achieve maximum transparency and provide every working station with a view of the green areas.
The collaborators’ life rotates around the central, large glass greenhouse, a modern and light building that is the pulsating heart of the complex. It will house the company restaurant, for which Davines has chosen to enter into a partnership with Vicook, a catering company connected with the three-starred Da Vittorio restaurant. In addition to the restaurant, the greenhouse will have a bar and will become a co-working space available to all collaborators.
Preference was given to natural materials such as wood combined with a particular type of glass that, in addition to protection, guarantees a view of external spaces with no colour distortions. In addition, TX cement was used, a patented quality that, through a process similar to photosynthesis, retains fine particles and then decomposes them, blocking their negative impact.
The green areas
Luxuriant, abundant vegetation, in constant dialogue with the architecture, is the common denominator of the whole project. The green areas develop harmoniously through the internal courtyards, the Scientific Vegetable Garden, the large garden surrounding the buildings, and the Green Kilometre, each with its own specific function.
The south courtyard, which is reached after going through reception, is a lush garden that embrace a large water feature in the middle. Here the vegetation is luxuriant, with a disciplined yet not harnessed appearance, and displays a skilful combination of shrubs and herbaceous plants together with more sculptured plants and tall trees. White is the predominant colour of the flowers, evoking a sensation of freshness and purity. The central pool with aquatic plants reflects the geometry of the greenhouse and houses, creating a striking visual effect.
The north courtyard, behind the central greenhouse, is designed to be a relax area for the collaborators. Naturally shaded thanks to the presence of overhanging trees, and with ornamental flower beds around the perimeter, this is a more structured and functional green area.
The Scientific Vegetable Garden, encircled by a laurel hedge and espalier plane trees, represents a sort of “open air laboratory.” It includes medicinal and aromatic plants, fruit trees and vegetables grown for experimentation, information, and food. This way, the Research and Development Laboratory can sample and test natural ingredients for its own formulations, while the edible species are also used in the Davines Village restaurant. The 3000 square metres of Scientific Vegetable Gardens also serve an educational function, making it possible for visitors to understand where the natural ingredients in Davines and [ comfort zone ] products come from. Tropical plants, which could not grow at our latitude, are housed in an English-style greenhouse.
Finally, the large garden encircling the complex of buildings evokes the typical landscape of the surroundings and features a meadow mowed at different heights. Its function is to create continuity between the Scientific Vegetable Garden and the strip of green that borders the north end of the garden and will be part of the Green Kilometre, an initiative conceived by David Bollati to combat the pollution caused by the nearby motorway. Based on the studies by Professor Stefano Mancuso, Director of Linv (International Laboratory of Plant Neurobiology), University of Florence, the Green Kilometre is a project that will involve all the Parma companies overlooking the A1 motorway and will consist in planting trees that naturally counter the harmful emissions of cars. The first experimental 300 metres are being installed by Davines Villages, which is thus showing the way for other local companies: the objective is to replicate this green belt along the 11 km of motorway that cross the Parma area.
Sustainability in the Davines Village
The general approach of the new complex is focused on sustainable energy, waste reduction, optimization of natural resources, and saving of non-renewable ones. The company’s responsible energy policy is expressed through a number of choices, first of all the integration of interconnected communication and control systems with a Building and Energy Management System (BEMS) that can have an impact on all the main sustainability protocols. The energy needs of the Davines Villages are completely met by 100% certified renewable sources, such as photovoltaic panels, a solar thermal system, an air duct system, and a geothermal system that can work all year round by exploiting an underground aquifer, whose water is then returned to the ground, maintaining a constant level. The energy requirements have thus been reduced through direct compensation with energy from renewable sources and almost totally self-consumed and specific actions have been adopted to reduce the need for artificial light, energy from solar irradiation and electricity consumption.
The use of special filters guarantees a very high quality of almost sterile air in the production plant, whose requirements are very close to those demanded by the pharmaceutical industry. Micro bacteriological contamination is also kept at bay in the water used during the production process, as the osmosis system makes it possible to reach levels close to zero.
In addition, the complex has 10 charging stations for electrical vehicles and a dehydration system for organic waste to be used in the garden. Further initiatives in this direction are the use of only reusable cups, glasses and cutlery, the elimination of pods for coffee or other drinks, and the elimination of drinks in plastic bottles.