Rebuilt the historic Villoresi Ovest truck stop, Angelo Bianchetti's masterpiece. This is what it looks like

Work on the reconstruction of the Villoresi Ovest truck stop, a 1958 building and masterpiece by Angelo Bianchetti, ends.

The historic Villoresi Ovest service station, the 1958 futuristically shaped building on the A8 Milan-Varese highway, a masterpiece of architect Angelo Bianchetti (Milan, 1911 - 1994), which had been demolished in early July, leaving standing only the iconic structure composed of three self-supporting arches, has been rebuilt. The original building was rebuilt with a “slight aesthetic revamp” (so reads Autogrill’s note) and with more modern materials.

Autogrill’s goal, the note goes on to say, was “to make Villoresi Ovest a contemporary icon, to powerfully communicate the Group’s bond with tradition while showcasing the best of capabilities in terms of service, innovation and sustainability.” The project was designed by architecture firm Andrea Langhi Design: the original proportions and dimensions were followed, and on the outside the huge original arched tripod, a historical icon of the building and designed to be visible from afar, was retained. However, LED lights have been installed in the tripod to increase its visibility at night and will be able to vary in color depending on the occasion. The truncated cone-shaped central building at the base of the tripod was reconstructed with modern, energy-efficient materials, such as double-chamber glazing with UV-filtering films. The central heating plant was relocated externally to improve the aesthetics and functionality of the building.

The materials used for the interior are those in the Italian design tradition, such as walnut wood, marble, and brass. The original and imposing Baroque-inspired teardrop chandelier in the center of the convivial area, as well as one of Bianchetti’s symbols of the building, was restored and fitted with LED bulbs to lessen its energy impact and to have more uniform lighting, as well as to facilitate maintenance.

The project then availed itself of the collaboration of Cometa, a reality committed to the reception, education and training of children and young people in difficult situations. Cometa, with its “Contrada degli Artigiani” made, for example, the large table made of barrique wood, positioned in the center of the restaurant, under the historic chandelier. The project, created for Autogrill, proposes unusual combinations of valuable, antique or salvaged materials such as wood from wine barrels and scraps from Murano glass processing. Attention is also paid to sustainability: the building is equipped with glass with high performance in terms of thermal insulation, the air conditioning system consists of energy-efficient heat pumps for the recovery of condensation heat, and hot water is supplied to the washing facilities to cut the use of electric heating elements by 50 percent. There is a well to draw rainwater to be dedicated to flushing customer and employee toilets, significantly reducing industrial water consumption. Air handling units take advantage of natural cooling to ventilate rooms when optimal outdoor conditions occur, effectively excluding the contribution of the air conditioning system. The presence of heat exchangers also allows heat to be recovered in winter and cool in summer for air exchange. A 20kW photovoltaic system was also built to self-produce part of the energy needed for the services provided in the building.

Active Ceramic tiles with certified bactericide/anti-virus properties that are active even in the hours of darkness and capable of abating pollutants were used for flooring and wall tiles. Materials resulting from processing waste were also used for the furnishings: for example, “Wascoffee,” a material developed and patented by Autogrill obtained from coffee waste. The central island and wood paneling are made from this material, and for the first time “Wasorange,” a material derived from the waste of juicing oranges, also appears, used for the sugar sachet containers in the restaurant as unique design elements.

The company believes that the Villoresi West station is strategic, and for that reason it also planned to make the building one of the spearheads of its restaurant business. In short, not only Camogli and Rustichella, but, Autogrill points out, “a snack bar with croissants selected and stuffed on site and a reinterpretation of sandwiches with the great classics in a premium version; first courses with recipes signed by great chefs, such as Andrea Ribaldone; a steak house corner entirely dedicated to the grill; an assortment of pizza resulting from the collaboration with Renato Bosco; and a showcase dedicated to Sal De Riso’s desserts, to relive the Amalfi Coast tradition.”

“Villoresi Ovest,” says Gianmario Tondato Da Ruos, CEO of Autogrill Group, “has always been a symbol of rebirth, back in 1961 LIFE magazine had it on its cover to demonstrate the modernity of our country. Today, too, we want the renovated venue to represent a symbolic bridge between the past and the future, a tangible sign of Italy’s (and all of us’) desire to restart at this complex time.”

“Despite the fact that the Covid-19 pandemic,” says Andrea Cipolloni, CEO Europe of Autogrill Group, “has been and still is an unprecedented crisis, Autogrill continues to invest in Italy and looks to the future also thanks to the effort of its employees, who even in this extremely complicated situation, have continued to work with professionalism and attention to the customer. The new Villoresi Ovest is intended to offer the best of the catering experience we have developed in these years of relaunch, and best expresses our vision and determination to achieve increasingly important results.”

Rebuilt the historic Villoresi Ovest truck stop, Angelo Bianchetti's masterpiece. This is what it looks like
Rebuilt the historic Villoresi Ovest truck stop, Angelo Bianchetti's masterpiece. This is what it looks like

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