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BIG; San Pellegrino flagship factory; Bergamo

Nicely curved: BIG wins competition for San Pellegrino flagship factory

The design submitted by BIG in the international competition for the design of the new San Pellegrino flagship factory has emerged triumphant in a field that also included architectural offices such as MVRDV and Snohetta. The project concerns an extension to facilities that have been located in San Pellegrino Terme since 1899. The new, 17,000-square-metre facility will be replacing the brand's existing bottling plant and offices and is expected to cost about $90 million.

The new building is ensconced in a river valley and surrounded by mountains in an Alpine setting.  An archetypal architectural element – the arch – serves as the design's backbone, as seen in the series of concrete arches that define sculptural spaces for production, exhibitions and events. The idea is to make the architecture seem familiar and yet highly original. At the same time there is to be no visible segregation between the various functional areas. As Bjarke Ingels of BIG puts it, the intention is "to create a seamless continuity from production to consumption and enjoyment".

The construction work is likely to begin in 2018, when a bridge to link the bottling plant with the commune of Zogno is to be erected in the first construction phase. This will be followed by the building of the offices and the "Experience Lab", where visitors (hopefully many of them) will be able to watch the bottling of mineral water in process.

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