The campus of Humanitas University is surrounded by parkland. It lies slightly outside Milan, in the municipality of Rozzano. This private university covers an area of something more than 20,000 m², which includes not only lecture theaters, but also the laboratories and a simulation center, plus dorms and sports zones. On top of this, the university complex is affiliated to Istituto Clinico Humanitas, the renowned Humanitas Research Hospital. The campus was designed by architect Filippo Taidelli of Studio FTA; its distinct cubes and light façade cladding made up of stoneware tiles blends in unobtrusively with its environment. The transitions between the different buildings, which are arranged into a triangle, are smooth, as with the campus, the insides of which offer plenty of scope for encounters between students, academics and teaching staff. Generous expanses of glass allow plenty of daylight into both the rooms and the spacious courtyard, underscoring the pleasant quality of the learning atmosphere inside the building.
For the interior of the common areas Studio FTA opted for furniture by Arper, such as its “Catifa46” chairs, “Loop” sofas, “Pix” poufs and “Duna 02” armchairs. “They define the space, without dominating it,” explains Taidelli. The chair “Catifa46” by Lievore Altherr Molina has an elegant look and is pared down to bare essentials, with its trestle swivel base and chromed steel finish. Another brainchild of this trio is “Loop”, a modular sofa system that can be combined into compact units or fluid compositions. With this in mind, the system boasts not only short and long elements but also concave and convex corners. For the design of “Duna 02” Alberto Lievore, Jeannette Altherr and Manel Molina took their inspiration from the calyx of a flower, its gentle curves, holding the promise of something very comfortable. Moreover, the polypropylene seat shell now also comes in a more environmentally-friendly version which is made of 80 percent industrial waste. The "Pix" poufs by Ichiro Iwasaki for Arper form informal islands around the university and, with their different finishes and heights, resemble a collection of pebbles, tempting potential users to sit down for a short break or even a meeting.
“The Arper products we have chosen have certain affinities with the concept of the space in which they are inserted, facilitating its function. In waiting rooms and communal areas, the furnishings encourage dialogue and sharing, thanks to their informal, convivial style. In our experience with projects, we have learned that moments of informal interchange are the most productive and the most educational situations. In those moments ideas are free to flow, tensions of rank are dispelled, relationships become more flexible, to cross paths. For the Humanitas project, humanity and empathy are fundamental skills to be developed in the phase of professional training. For these spaces, then, we have selected furnishings that foster interpersonal dynamics, stimulating natural gestures and removing barriers, while at the same time enhancing the elegance and essential order of the architectural design", says Taidelli. In view of the above, Arper’s flexible furniture plays an extremely important role in on-campus social interchange and communication and, with their extensive range of different finishes, offers many different possibilities for striking a particular note in terms of both color and material. (am)