Fondazione Prada, Cinema terrace, wild area. Ph Matteo Carassale

Fondazione Prada’s landscape project fluctuates between planned and spontaneous greenery, between conservation and innovation, in an exercise in constant cross-referencing between the area’s industrial history and a profound process of urban reconversion that is still underway.

The project was born in 2014 out of Miuccia Prada’s reflections on urban greenery and the relationship the Fondazione should have with the city and its context. The observation of the contemporary landscape and the constantly changing fabric of Milan and its suburbs have given rise to a reflection on the places of urban memory and the possibility of preserving them, but with a new approach. In the early 20th-century distillery, converted first into a warehouse and subsequently into an exhibition space, references to the past can be found not only in the surviving industrial architecture, but also in its relationship with the surrounding environment and its agricultural past.
Today, Fondazione Prada’s green landscape, realized in collaboration with the landscape architect Maria Teresa D’Agostino, is made up of plants typical of 20th-century industrial settlements and wild flora. It is an attempt to return architecture to nature—whether spontaneous or agricultural—in an unconventional way. It is a landscape born of a double vision, in which past and present, cultivated and uncultivated, natural and artificial coexist within the spaces of Fondazione Prada.


The documentary directed by Jacopo Farina illustrates the research behind the landscape design developed in Fondazione Prada Milan venues and in its immediate vicinity, consisting of two aspects in dialogue with each other. On the one hand, the flora historically present in industrial archaeology, on the other the wild species that grow in the abandoned urban areas of the city.
Historical research has made it possible to identify the plant species that characterized the industrial areas between the late 19th and first half of the 20th centuries. Knowing the trees, their uses, and their typical arrangement was essential for choosing the plants and finding the right location for them on the Fondazione’s grounds: eight mulberry trees (Morus alba) aligned in rows, two fig trees (Ficus carica) grouped together and one lone lime tree (Tilia cordata). Over the years, the landscape of many metropolitan cities like Milan has seen the abandonment of industrial areas and the inevitable return of wilderness in their disused spaces: the wastelands and railway yards that were once close to factories. The second part of Fondazione Prada’s landscape project focuses on this phenomenon. The vagabond species reclaim their space on the roof of the Cinema and in the car park. The flora reappropriates the architecture, just as it does in abandoned industrial areas, invaded by lush, impervious weeds. The intention is to create a structure of plants that penetrates the urban fabric, creating a new concept of metropolitan greenery. Endemic species that follow their own life cycles without being forced, supporting the return to wild nature.


Fondazione Prada’s landscape project is complemented by the publication “#35 Urban Wild Rural,” part of the Quaderni series. It is a set of three books dedicated to the phases of the project’s making.
The Research Quaderno analyzes the presence of greenery on industrial sites and in the Milanese countryside through an anthological selection and detailed photographic documentation.
The Project ones describes the conceptual premises and development of the landscape design of the Milan headquarters of Fondazione Prada and illustrates through a series of photographs the seasonal changes of plants.
The Herbarium documents the botanical species found in the Fondazione Prada venues through botanical fact sheets and detailed images.