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Mineral water manufacturer Sanpellegrino redesigned its S.Pellegrino flagship factory in the San Pellegrino Terme in Bergamo, Italy. Sanpellegrino launched an international competition to invite proposals for the new factory design in July 2016.

Bjarke Ingels Group’s (BIG) design was chosen in February 2017 from four proposals submitted. The three other architectural firms that participated in the competition were MVRDV, Snøhetta, and Architetto Michele De Lucchi.

The new 17,500m² facility is aimed at highlighting the heritage of the site, while promoting efficiency and sustainability. It will also benefit the San Pellegrino Terme and Zogno areas by promoting the tourism industry of the Brembana Valley.

The factory will require a €90m ($95.4m) investment to build. The ground-breaking ceremony is scheduled to take place in 2018, with construction expected to last for four years.

Design details of S.Pellegrino’s flagship factory

The flagship factory’s design is inspired by the landscape of the Brembo River and the Alpine mountains. The design uses the architectural elements of the existing factory and enhances them.

The modern elements of the factory have been combined with the repetitive architectural elements of Italian rationalist and classical architecture. The design features a number of repeating archways in varying sizes, which expand and contract throughout the factory.

The archways will serve as a gateway to the factory and the San Pellegrino Terme village. They begin from the southern end of the factory as simple columns continuing through the western loading docks and ending at the northern end.

The design creates a variety of divided and closed spaces such as vaults, covered tunnels, arcades and green passageways. The spaces are interspersed with glass, walls, roofs, trees and foliage that define boundaries between the inside and outside, while controlling the daylight coming through the walls. The archways also provide stunning views of the surrounding mountains and natural landscapes.

The design renders a light, open and transparent appearance to the factory, similar to the purity and clarity of the mineral water produced.

Facilities of the new factory

The project will add a new Experience Lab shaped in the form of a droplet at the northern end as an extension of the factory. Visitors will be able to experience the 30-year journey of the natural water from precipitation accumulation passing through rocks and arrival at its source.

The space between the experience lab and the factory will feature a new public plaza elevated by a grand stair. The plaza will feature a unique element, a giant geological core sample – an artistic interpretation of the 30-year journey of the natural water. The sample features different strata of rock representing the natural process during which the water acquires minerals and achieves the pure flavour.

The project will also add a new south bridge to the site, which will provide a direct link for trucks to the logistics centre of the factory and pedestrian access across the Brembana River.

Sanpellegrino’s flagship factory construction

BIG will develop the executive design for the project during the year and commence construction of the planned south bridge in 2018, which will provide a connection for heavy vehicles. The construction will focus on the offices, northern wing and Experience Lab from 2019 onwards.


The S.Pellegrino is already nestled in a natural environment along the Brembo River. The new factory will add further natural elements by adding a continuous line of trees along the river. The trees will provide a closer view of nature from within the building, as well as shield the factory from one end.

Contractors involved

Italian architect Studio Verticale will work with BIG for the project.

BIG developed the design for the factory by collaborating with a number of companies, including Atelier Verticale, West8, Schlaich Bergermann Partner, Front, Arup, Squint/Opera, MIC, BIG Ideas, and Studio Piero Castiglioni.