Franco Albini & Franca Helg
Albini’s work had always dealt with history and tradition but here he used varied historical references in concert to produce something contemporary. Perhaps taking the meaning of ‘La Rinascente’ - ‘the rebirth’ - too literally, his design maintains the basic massing of the 1887 Rinascente building on Via Del Corso and transmutes the geometry of its cornice profiles into steel. The expressed steel frame structure is complemented by red masonry infill panels whose material mirrors the immediate context. However, these are not simply flat infill panels; they are folded, and the subtle geometry suggests engaged columns: a Renaissance façade redone with contemporary technology.