The Davines Group, specialized in professional products for hair and skin with Davines and Comfort Zone brands, unveils its new headquarters just outside Parma.
The architectural design –by Matteo Thun & Partners studio + technical director Luca Colombo and whose interiors are the work of Molteni&C|Dada Contract Division to a design by Monica Signani– represents the most tangible realization of the values of beauty, sustainability and well-being that drive the company led by Davide Bollati.
“The soul of Davines expresses itself through its deep values. The Davines Village is their symbol: a company headquarter that exemplifies the concept of Sustainable Beauty that we pursue with ever stronger commitment and passion. The virtuous architectural design has turned into a reality that puts the well-being of the people who work here at its centre and represents a place where ethics and aesthetics coexist in harmonious balance,” says Davide Bollati, Davines President.
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 and training, the Research and Development laboratory, the production plant, the warehouse, and a large central greenhouse that works both for a restaurant and a co-working area.
The remaining spaces (80% of the total area), designed by the renowned Del Buono Gazerwitz Landscape Architecture studio, have been allocated to green areas of different type, including a scientific botanical garden in which some of the plant species used in the cosmetic formulations are grown.
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 environment. Transparency, lightness, nature, sustainability, community and well-being are the key words that characterize the project and find expression through the overall plan, : virtuous and sustainable technical & building solutions, and wood and glass as the predominant materials.
“The starting point –the employees’ well-being– was the key factor that inspired our work in designing offices, production department and warehouse. We wanted to create a functional village with harmonious aesthetics that could combine traditional rural architecture with innovative values, expressed around the greenhouse and the vast green spaces,” says Matteo Thun, Architect and Founder of Matteo Thun & Partners studio.
Developed from the concept of “home”, the structure of Davines Village reinterprets in a contemporary way the archetypes of typical dwellings of Italian rural areas. 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.
The distinguishing feature of the Davines Village is the large glass building located at the centre of the complex: a luminous “greenhouse” characterized by a modern and light architectural style. A co-working area that is the pulsating heart of the life within the company. It houses the bar and the company restaurant, the latter in partnership with Vicook, a catering company connected with the three-starred Da Vittorio restaurant.
The complex, made with a minimum amount of masonry elements, is designed to achieve maximum architectural transparency and provide every working station with a view of the green areas. Preference has been given to natural materials: for example, wood was combined with a particular type of glass that ensures a view of external spaces with no colour distortions. In addition, the goal of enhancing the architectural sustainability of the Davines Village determined the choice of a particular kind of cement: enriched with TX active –an active photocatalytic principle that captures polluting substances–, it retains fine particles and then decomposes them, blocking their negative impact and improving air quality.
The green areas
In constant and harmonious dialogue with the architecture, the green areas reveal themselves in all their beauty and include two internal courtyards, the scientific botanical garden, and a large garden surrounding the buildings and the Green Kilometre.
The southern courtyard, next to reception, is an attractive garden with a large pool feature in the middle. Shrubs and herbaceous plants mix with species with more sculptured forms 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 surrounding buildings, creating a striking visual effect.
Located beyond the central greenhouse, the northern courtyard was designed as an area dedicated to relax for employees. Pleasantly shaded by overhanging trees, and adorned with ornamental flower beds, this is a more structured and functional green area.
The scientific vegetable botanical garden, bounded by a laurel hedge and espalier plane trees, will become a veritable “open air laboratory.” It will include medicinal and aromatic plants, fruit trees and vegetables grown for experimentation, demonstration, and culinary purposes. The scientific botanical garden will be first of all an instrument at disposal of the Research and Development Laboratory, which will use it to sample and test natural ingredients. In addition, the edible species will serve also to prepare the dishes served in the company restaurant. The 3,000 square metres of scientific vegetable garden will also have an educational function, making it possible for visitors to see first-hand the natural ingredients used in Davines and Comfort Zone formulations. Finally, an English-style greenhouse will host tropical plants that could not grow at our latitude.
The green area surrounding the buildings features a meadow mowed at different heights, to evoke the typical local rural landscape.
At the north end, the complex is bounded by a strip of trees that will become an integral part of the Green Kilometre, an initiative developed from an idea by Davide Bollati to fight the pollution caused by the nearby highway. The project is based on the studies by Professor Stefano Mancuso, Director of the International Laboratory of Plant Neurobiology (LINV), University of Florence. Trees that naturally counter the harmful emissions of cars will be planted along the 11 kilometres of motorway that border the Parma area. Within the new company headquarters, Davines will plant the first 300 metres of the green belt, which will be completed by adjacent companies.
The inspiration that guided the stylistic definition of the interiors comes from the desire of combining the values of participation and sharing with the aesthetic enhancement of the work environment. The welcoming and personalized spaces, a far cry from the traditional “corporate” image, evoke living places in which formal and aesthetic choices harmonize with functional needs. White, with some bronze hints, is the dominant colour of these simple and linear environments.
The concept of the interiors was entrusted to interior designer Monica Signani, who also designed the custom-made furniture –by Molteni&C|Dada Contract Division– with particular attention to materials and finishes. In the shared work areas –meeting rooms and co-working spaces–custom-made furniture features materials and finishes with an artisanal character: galvanic bronze for the bases, linoleum tops, in homage to old ′1950s desks, etched brass edges, natural oil finished woods and back-painted glass tops.
The lighting fixtures, of clear vintage inspiration, were also custom-made, such as some hanging lamps and appliques, a re-edition of projects by the French designer Serge Mouille.
Among the more inspirational items of furniture are two iconic pieces designed by Gio Ponti and re-issued by Molteni&C: the D.655.1 sideboard and the D.357.1 bookcase. In the reception area the simplicity of the architectural volume combines with the counter covered in white Sivec marble –featuring asymmetrical vertical grooves and enriched by etched brass edges– which appears as suspended over the resin flooring.
The greenhouse is the heart of the entire Davines Village complex. Dedicated to the corporate restaurant, it also includes a bar with a retro flavour, whose counter, inspired by those found in old bistros, has been reinterpreted through the use of new materials. It was designed seeking particular colour and material combinations, thus obtaining a gris du marais with a grey-blue tone for the sandblasted marble of all the panelling and a craquelé effect on the lava stone countertops, creating a harmonious, delicate and timeless tone-on-tone effect. The wooden tables, of different types and sizes, were designed to convey, together with the corresponding chairs, the sense of a fresh and informal, but at the same time elegant, greenhouse space.
The values in which Davines strongly believes –sustainability, promotion of beauty and care for people– are highlighted by the attention given to every detail and by the quest for harmony.
Sustainability in the Davines Village
The new Davines headquarters integrate 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 interconnection of communication and control systems to a Building and Energy Management System (BEMS) –capable of having an impact on all the main sustainability protocol– in order to minimize energy consumption and the use of artificial lighting. In addition, energy needs of the Davines Villages are completely met by 100% certified renewable sources, such as photovoltaic panels, a solar thermal system, and a geothermal system.
In the production department the sanitizing system for mixers employs steam instead of chemicals, thanks to the use of new, highly innovative systems that allow more efficient and less environmentally impactful processes. The use of special filters provides a very high quality of almost sterile air in the production plant, whose requirements are very close to those set by the pharmaceutical industry.
Environmental sustainability is also sought through the company’s everyday choices. Organic waste from the restaurant is used in the garden, but in a more efficient way than through traditional composting: thanks to a dehydration system, all organic waste is reused to fertilize the green areas. In addition, no single-use materials are adopted for catering and the parking area includes 10 charging stations for electrical vehicles.