Cells Milan Design Week 2018 News, Furniture Fair Installation by architect Filippo Taidelli

Cells Milan Design Week 2018, Italy

Contemporary Architectural Installation at Fairgrounds, Rho, Milano, Italy

16 Apr 2018

Cells Milan Design Week 2018 News

Hospital of the Future at Milan Design Week

“Cells”: the healthcare of the future at the Milan Design Week 2018

A site-specific installation, designed by the architect Filippo Taidelli, investigates the relationship between architecture, technology and healthcare, where once Milan’s most ancient hospital stood.

Cells Milan Design Week 2018 installation

Photos : Andrea Martiradonna

University of Milan | Ca’ Granda (former General Hospital) – Inside the ancient Cortile dei Bagni courtyard, architect Filippo Taidelli of FTA studio stages a vision of the future in the relationship between man, architecture, technology and nature in the hospital of tomorrow.

Cells will be on display at the University of Milan (Università degli Studi di Milano) from 16 to 28 April during the INTERNI FUORISALONE 2018 event for the INTERNI HOUSE IN MOTION 2018 – 20 YEARS exhibition.

Cells Milan Design Week 2018 installation


The work aims to metaphorically synthesize the effects of the evolution of the world of healthcare and make them perceptible through an installation that immerses the visitor in a sensory experience.

Cells Milan Design Week 2018 installation Cells Milan Design Week 2018 installation

Cells was born out of the experience that architect Taidelli has developed in the field of the design of social and healthcare facilities, including the Humanitas Medical School and Campus (completed 2017) and the Humanitas San Pio X Clinic in Milan (in progress), is also owed to the research the architect has developed together with Humanitas University’s Professor of Internal Medicine Raffaello Furlan, and Dr. Michele Gatti of IBM Italy, Research & Business.

Cells Milan Design Week 2018 installation

The installation is set in one of the most spectacular and most visited locations of Milan Design Week. That Università Statale which in 1456 was the General Hospital founded by Francesco Sforza, the Duke of Milan, and designed by the Florentine Renaissance architect, Filarete. A fine thread thus connects the past to the present, Renaissance architecture to the installation that shows the prototype of future healthcare.

The structure designed by Filippo Taidelli is located in the Cortile dei Bagni courtyard, one of the most evocative places of the ancient hospital, with a double order of porticoes and all the rigorous symmetry of Renaissance design principles.

Behind the crossing, once crowded with patients in the ward and now teeming with students, the entrance to this inner courtyard projects the visitor into a harmonious space and monastic silence.


The etymology of the term “Cells” is two-fold: in biology the cell is the morphological and functional unit of all living organisms, while in an architectural context the Latin term cella means a small room.

Cells Milan Design Week 2018 installation

The installation consists of two glass structures or “cells” of equal size but with antithetical formal characteristics, which establish a visual dialogue by placing themselves at opposite corners of the courtyard. They represent the two complementary and apparently antithetical spirits of the healthcare of the future: on the one hand, the focus of interior design on transforming the hospital into a domestic space, on the other hand, the advent of the “virtual healthcare”, the redefinition of the man-machine interface and consequent “dehospitalization”.

The common denominator of each cell is the visitor’s barycentric position with respect to space: as if to underline how, in the healthcare of the future, the need to keep man at the centre is fundamental, despite the introduction of artificial intelligence systems, which will always be supports and not replacements.

The first cell, transparent and extroverted, is designed to expand the relationship with the environment as a therapeutic element; the second, introverted and reflective, projects the visitor into the “virtual” world, an atmosphere of science fiction evoked by an artificial window that can reproduce the effect of sunlight even at night. Inside the cells are placed two monolithic “shards” of stone-effect grès, which like the wings of a theatre stage offer points of view for contemplating in one case the context and in the other the artificially created natural light.

Cells Milan Design Week 2018 installation

In the transparent cell, the fragments assume the material, warm texture of monolithic travertine to evoke a domestic environment, in the virtual one the milk white floor and walls merge into a single alienating science fiction volume, cut only by the overhead light. During the evening hours, the formal antithesis between the skin of the two cells (transparent/matt) weakens to leave room for a delicate visual dialogue between the wings that are illuminated inside, bringing harmony back between the two spirits and the courtyard.

The visual experience is amplified by a sound and olfactory installation. In the virtual cell, a sound dialogue between an avatar and a human and a scent of incense evoke a place of futuristic meditation. In the other, the pungent smell of the Mediterranean maquis and the sound of domestic environments recall the outdoor life, the countryside and the land.

Cells Milan Design Week 2018 installation


Population growth, an ageing population, greater attention to our bodies… all the indicators tell us that the demand for health will grow in the coming years. Technological innovation and the relationship with man will play a key role in this change. And change will also involve the health space in which we operate and the way we design it.

Optimization of treatment processes, the increase in day hospitals, the transformation into multifunctional “malls” (with services, gyms, restaurants), the redefinition of hospital rooms and of the flows to speed up patient movements, aggregating functional areas by intensity, typology and duration of care to facilitate the exchange of knowledge between doctors and provide a better quality of life for the patient. New functional needs that require a new contemporary architectural look oriented to maximum hospitality, efficiency and flexibility.

Technological innovation enables the speeding up of processes and diagnostic precision as well as the relocation of many functions. In the not too distant future, machines with cognitive capabilities and increasingly “human” features will support the staff and train the doctors of the future. A cloud will manage all communications remotely, between different specialists and between doctor and patient, reaching into the remotest areas of the planet, not served by healthcare.

This is accompanied by the growing need to make patients feel protected, cared for and listened to, creating structures with a more domestic than hospital atmosphere, which promote psycho-physical comfort and relations between patients and staff. This means making hospitals warmer and more intimate, introducing vegetation and light as therapeutic tools and environmental awareness, but also creating enclosures (temperature, humidity, brightness) that can be adapted to the specific needs of the user.

With telemedicine the borderline between home and hospital will be increasingly intangible: we will have the opportunity to be treated from our home with remote care and to stay in hospital while feeling at home. This will be accompanied by a migration of health activities to the places we visit every day, stations, shopping centres, home, which will drastically reduce how far we have to travel to access treatment.

It is design’s delicate task to give form to this change: humanising the man-machine interface to contain alienation from the natural world and redesigning healthcare space by applying technologies, to make it more friendly, safe and efficient in close contact with the natural environment around it. As the Cells installation anticipates, to design future healthcare spaces a completely new approach will be necessary, which will allow rapid adaptation to constant technological metamorphosis, without ever losing sight of the centrality of human beings.

Cells Milan Design Week 2018 installation


In order to blend as harmoniously and smoothly as possible into the Renaissance courtyard, the cells are set on existing granite paths, suspended with respect to the interior lawn and their width and height are derived from the structure of the surrounding Renaissance portico.

The cells are made of monolithic glass – without uprights – to ensure continuity of the enclosure, 200 x 500 x 300 cm. The skin of the cells also plays a role in accentuating the relationship with the architectural context: in the transparent cell it creates a glass bell that ennobles the surrounding landscape, in the reflective one it multiplies and distorts it according to the points of view.

Cells is the result of the work of an interdisciplinary team of designers, scientific partners and companies, all united by advanced research in the healthcare sector.

The glass “cells” are the work of Universal Selecta, a leading company in the production of mobile and self-supporting interior partitions, which guarantee acoustic comfort conditions ideal for hospital environments. The two ‘cells’ contain vertical stone-effect grès elements which, like the flooring, are produced by Casalgrande Padana: the treatment based on bios Antibacterial HYDROTECT® noble metals, gives the ceramic surfaces high antibacterial properties, making it possible to use them in operating theatres and hospital environments.

Entering one of the two cells you will be greeted by the artificial skylight by Coelux ®. Used in hospital radiosurgery environments, it reproduces the effect of natural light, sun and sky, helping to reduce the anxiety that inevitably arises in an enclosed or underground space. The synchronous lighting effects are guaranteed by a latest generation RGB+W LED lighting system from Platek. The lighting installation is designed by Rossi Bianchi lighting design, the sound installation by sound designer Nicola Ratti.

Cells Milan Design Week 2018 installation

Filippo Taidelli Architects

Established in 2005 by Filippo Taidelli, FTA is a multidisciplinary architectural and design firm based in Milan.

Operating both in Italy and abroad, FTA develops integrated design projects in collaboration with a team of carefully selected network of specialists. FTA has realized renovation and ground-up projects of various scale, spanning residential and commercial to office, service and mixed use spaces, exhibition and industrial design. FTA’s activity is focused on research and innovative intervention in the Urban retrofit field for existing buildings energy-requalification as well as in the Healthcare area.

FTA’s philosophy is characterized by energetically efficient consciousness and sensibility toward context and topology. The firm aims to implement a delicate balance between innovative technologies and the use of traditional materials – rendering the complexity of integrated design into its most essential creative expression.

Cells Milan Design Week 2018 installation

This unique approach has been internationally recognized through a host of awards and prizes. FTA is also actively engaged in research and education directed toward sustainable and interior design.
In the last years, Filippo Taidelli has taught in several universities: he led the Master in Sustainable Architecture at IED (Istituto Europeo di Design) in Turin from 2011 to 2013, as well as he has been teaching from 2007 to 2011 as professor at the Faculty of Interior

Design at Milan’s Politecnico. Since 2005, Filippo Taidelli continues to collaborate with the Politecnico as Visiting Professor at Scuola Politecnica di Design – Master of Interior and Office Design.

Among the most significant projects it is worth mentioning the Humanitas University Campus; the Techint Engineering and Construction Headquarter in Mexico City; the Tenova Headquarters in Castellanza (Varese), the Internazionale F.C. Training Facility, in Appiano Gentile (CO) – awarded Next Energy Award 2008; Zenale Building – awarded Bio Architecture Award 2012.

FTA is currently involved in the construction of the new Humanitas University Student House in Pieve Emanuele, the renovation of San Pio X Humanitas Clinic in Milan, a residential retrofit project on rural buildings in the agricoltural area Parco Agricolo Sud, Milan, and the Humanitas Hospital Complex Centro del Mediterraneo in Catania.


Cells Milan Design Week 2018

CELLS | Milan Design Week 2018 curated by INTERNI
project by Filippo Taidelli
with Universal Selecta, Casalgrande Padana, Coelux, Platek, Rossi Bianchi lighting design, sound designer Nicola Ratti
special thanks to Humanitas University

University of Milan | Università degli Studi di Milano
Via Festa del Perdono 7
April 16 – 28, 2018
Opening April 16, from 2.30 p.m.
April 17 – 22, from 10 a.m. to 00.00 a.m.
April 23 – 27, from 10.00 a.m. to 10 p.m.
April 28, from 10 a.m. to 6p.m.

Location: Via Festa del Perdono 7, Milan, Lombardy, northern Italy

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