Architect Daniela Carta tells the story of Palazzo Isola Nova

Table of Contents

We invite you to discover Palazzo Isola Nova, the new Stella Business Village in Venice: joining us will be Daniela Carta, the architect who curated the project.

The new entry in Laguna

We talked about our business ecosystem logic   and we have also talked about the increasingly contemporary need to create an office for the future,  that is more customizable, adaptable, and above all, that puts the study of the needs of those who work first: Palazzo Isola Nova (PIN) is all this and much more. It’s a club house, it offers areas dedicated to co-working, private serviced offices and lounge areas, meeting rooms and learning center: within it are all the services necessary for work and more, because PIN has recently begun its career as an event hub,, with its Open Day  on 23rd November, organized in partnership withUniversità Ca’ Foscari.

Inside PIN with achitect Daniela Carta

We believe that the area of the Lagoon was ready for a structure like Palazzo Isola Nova and, indeed, the latter has the potential to play a bridging role both geographically and conceptually between different areas of the Venetian region. That’s why we have invested a lot in its realization and in the study of the “best practice” in the sector.. And, also for this reason, we have decided to intervie the architect responsible for the project of   Palazzo Isola Nova, Daniela Carta, CEO of Metroquadro Architetti, and to discuss with her the role of architectural and design choices within the process. According to her: “the main goal of the PIN project is to create a welcoming and comfortable place for all.”. The meeting between the concept of the proposed service model and architecture is based on the principle that “The unity goes with the whole“, “both from an architectural standpoint and from a perspective of ideas.”

Following is the interview with Daniela Carta by Stella.

Stella: What were the goals regarding architecture and design that you set for yourselves in the Palazzo Isola Nova project?

Daniela Carta: Successful projects stem from a precise definition of needs. Stella’s input was to have a space that had to be used for social and business activities with various functions — co-working, club house, offices, meeting rooms, phone booths,food area,conference spaceandlearning centerwith some rooms for courses andtraining.. So the first challenge was — and always is — to understand the characteristics of the existing space and find a way to harmonize them with the client’s requirements. Indeed, it wasn’t just one space but multiple units spread across three floors, designed as open space environments, very bright and spacious thanks to the large windows overlooking both the canal and the courtyard. Starting from an open form to create environments with specific functions could limit the overall vision of the space.

To avoid this, we studied the lines of sight from different points in the space, distributing enclosed environments along perspective lines with inclined walls that prioritize overall views. The space unfolds around a central hub where the most social part takes place, with areas exposed on two sides that respond to the request to combine enclosed spaces with areas permeable to the outside. In this way, the layout is clear as soon as you enter each area, because the space should always communicate with the user, guiding them in the usage process, even before signage or written instructions.

S.: How did the architectural needs and conceptual ones interact during the project?

D.C.: The aesthetic concept is that of a multifunctional, elegant, and refined space, with an image that can adapt to various users and functions. For this reason, natural and neutral colors such as beige and cream were chosen, to be combined with earthy tones, to create a space characterized by “the elegance of discretion.” The functional concept, on the other hand, involves designing spaces for the different moments of the user’s work activity, from informal group work to individual productivity, to formal one-to-one meetings and leisure moments. Adjacent spaces with different functions are systematized into a sort of storytelling of activities throughout the day, where each environment is an episode within a single narrative.

S.: What's the best practice in the sector?

D.C.: The best practice, in my opinion, is to understand the client’s needs and how to translate them into a physical space, also understanding the language of the location, from physical characteristics such as shape, light, and views, to technical aspects like systems, fire regulations, and so on. The process of translating desires into physical spaces is refined in the initial stage through images, research, and freehand sketches to increasingly define the outlines of the project. Once the path has been outlined, the true best practice is integrated design, which is the ability to systematize all the “variables” of the building for a unified response, not just in terms of style and aesthetics. The architect is therefore a kind of orchestra conductor and has the task of bringing together desires, creativity, image, and technical-installation requirements.

S.: From an architectural and spatial perspective, how did you manage the need to provide explicitly designated areas for productivity and individual work?

D.C.: We planned environments dedicated to the various work needs of the user: from phone booths for individual calls to lounge areas, and even spaces dedicated to informal meetings, located in both reserved environments and common areas. Indeed, we have placed large tables in the open areas — dedicated to informal meetings or co-working — as well as the area in front of the food zone that is entirely reconfigurable and flexible to adapt to diverse needs for heterogeneous users. The business center of PIN becomes a dynamic and flexible representation space, technologically advanced for every company that will have its headquarters in the complex. This frees individual companies from the need to create representation and aggregation spaces within their own premises — places that usually do not have continuous use — with an evident saving in surfaces and costs.

S.: Speaking of lounge and food areas: several studies suggest that offering well-curated amenities and leisure areas is crucial for the well-being of employees. Did you create them following this line of thought?

D.C.: In my experience in designing office buildings, investing in this kind of areas has positive outcomes for the business. My clients often find that interacting with their clients in meticulously designed lounge, break, or food areas helps establish a professionally effective relationship with them, often much more than in a formal meeting room (laughs). Exactly, because the atmosphere perceived in a physical space influences the mood in relationships: a space that evokes hospitality and care can predispose to a positive attitude of listening and collaboration. The perception of space is determined by multiple factors such as light, shape, and colors. Moreover, in my opinion, the human eye categorizes as more pleasant anything that follows a rule but then often presents a variation, even minimal. For this reason, for example, we decided to introduce variations in heights, lights, and materials in the ceilings, but always coordinated with each other because diversity and variation must always be calibrated within the overall project. In projects, it’s always about integrating the unit with the whole, which, among other things, is also Stella’s working philosophy.

S.: What sets Palazzo Isola Nova apart from other facilities of its kind and makes it cutting-edge?

D.C.: In my opinion, it’s precisely the initial idea, namely the service model offered by the project and the scale of intervention. It is cutting-edge, in fact, that spaces centered around the concept of agile work and “social” spaces go beyond the perimeter of individual companies. In PIN, the “social” areas are opened up and made available to everyone, no longer reserved solely for those working in companies large enough to afford such services internally. In more general terms, another cutting-edge element in these business center structures is that they make the creation of connessions possible: thus, besides working better,, using personalized and flexible spaces, you can also increase your business, creating relationships and collaborations with people working in different sectors, which is unheard of in a traditional office setting.. And, above all, these encounters are also opportunities for thought growth and cross-pollination that can generate what I like to call “hybrid thinking”: starting from a practice, invention, or material created for a specific field and applying it in another field. That’s why the flow of know-how among people working in different fields can often be a moment of growth and evolution. Moreover, it’s worth noting that the interactions that take place in closely designed spaces intended to foster relationships are not comparable to those that arise purely from “geographical” proximity. I have clients who ask me to remove small break areas on individual floors of their companies because otherwise employees only get to know and interact with those who work on the same floor, despite working in the same company!

S.: In your experience, even beyond this specific project, how are architectural and design projects for buildings destined for work changing?

D.C.:Nowadays, this change — the transformation of office spaces for the smart working — is almost fully accepted: greater awareness that space helps to promote collaboration among people that wotk there abd therefore help make the individual and the group stand out. Even in the upper echelons of the most traditional companies, there is an understanding that a “closed” space does not encourage interactions and growth. In companies, there is an increasingly acquired perception that space contributes to the work model. I always say that you can’t change a space and expect all personnel management, goal-oriented work, engagement, and communication issues to be automatically resolved; but at the same time, you can’t assume that you can change these without considering spatial innovation: both goals must be pursued together. Understanding the company’s objectives, one can then proceed to ensure that the space translates them and actively contributes to achieving them.

Stella33 Medelhan

A new beginning

The words of architect Carta confirm how Palazzo Isola Nova and the underlying project philosophy can be an important occasion of bringing novelty onto the bussiness community in the Venice area: Stella’s philosophy follows an ecosystem logic, and the PIN project, even from an architectural perspective, reflects this idea and embodies the relevance given to the network effect, to the flow of know-how and to the making of new relationships and connections..

On November 23rd, Palazzo Isola Nova became the stage for the first of these meetings: in collaboration with Ca’ Foscari, discussions were held on November 23rd at Palazzo Isola Nova regarding strategies that can be applied to the business world to pursue these objectives. This time, the physical doors of Palazzo Isola Nova were opened to welcome participants, thus introducing a new beginning for Stella and the Venice business world..

Discover Palazzo Isola Nova

Welcome to the Office of the Future