A sixteenth-century church in downtown Milan is the unlikely new HQ of CLS Architetti, the international architecture and design studio whose other offices are on Broadway.
It’s the deconsecrated Baroque church of Saint Paul Converted (San Paolo Converso) in Piazza Sant’Eufemia, boasting an impressive façade by Giovan Battista Crespi and frescoes by Cremonese masters (and brothers) Giulio, Antonio and Vincenzo Campi. Singularly, the building was divided in two lengthwise and the rear church once reserved for the nuns of an adjacent convent.
The redevelopment has the front church open to the public, with the reception area at the entrance, a library at the altar and a meeting room. The firm’s offices and planning spaces are contained within a four-floor iron-and-glass structure in the rear part but independent of the original construction. Its fourth floor protrudes through the lunette above the altar into the front church, affording a magnificent panorama of the restored frescoes. The atypical setting demanded exceptional lighting and soundproofing solutions.
CLS partners Giovanna Cornelio, Massimiliano Locatelli, Annamaria Scevola and Davide Agrati chose to dedicate the front church to creative disciplines in general, a space for exhibitions, installations and performances.
Images © François Halard.