The Max Mara project was won by JMP in competition in 1995 and is another of the international jobs that have underpinned the practice's success in the 1990s. The client is typically Italian, both in its dynamism on the international fashion scene, and in its attachment to its roots in the Po Valley. There was a clear desire to create a memorable development, which had a clear relationship to the context of flat fields, long poplar avenues and big skies, and was at home in an agrarian landscape. Working closely with the client and landscape architect Peter Walker, McAslan developed a strategy for integrating buildings and landscape, with regular tree-planting defining the site and forming a setting for buildings that are, in their undemonstrative dignity, in tune with the traditional architecture of the region. As at the Yapi Kredi operations centre in Turkey, completed by the practice last year, the plan is molecular, Kahnian, made for flexibility and growth and for good working conditions, although at Max Mara, the linking 'streets' are external rather than covered as at Yapi Kredi. The plan reflects the interlinked operations of Max Mara's constituent companies and provides for a mix of offices, showrooms and warehousing on a site close to the autostrada. The exceptionally clear diagram of this architecture/landscape scheme commands respect even in a country where modern ideals of planning were first developed. Like Palladio's villa complexes, this is really a city in miniature.
Client: Max Mara Fashion Group
Architect: John McAslan & Partners: Umberto Emoli, Andrew Hapgood, Martin Harris, Jean-Paul Jaccaud, Martin Markcrow, John McAslan, Roger Wu
Multi-disciplinary engineer: Intertecno spa, Milan
Executive architect: Arcdesign, Milan
Concept engineer: Ove Arup & Partners
Landscape designer: Peter Walker and Partners, San Francisco