DESIGNING IN TEHRAN
with Anna Giusto, Malte Kosensky, Jean-Benoit Vetillard


Tehran is a metropolis of diesel fumes and sheet metal, a sprawling city
at the foot of the Alborz mountain range innervated by a pervasive network of highways and of interchanges, ramps and loops, unparalleled in western Asia. Any movement has to take into consideration private car or the surrogate of public transportation, taxis.
Many social relationships, approaches and discussions are forcedly confined to this pulviscular multitude of moving interieurs.
The perception of the city is strongly influenced by this lifestyle, and any institution or building that aspires to gain the status of a recognizable icon and landmark has to deal with these peculiar conditions.


Tehran is a frenetic city of billboards, beauty and flesh. It’s packed of ancestral zoroastran gyms and modern fitness centers, hosting spiritual retreats and wild parties. It’s one of the world capitals of cosmetic surgery, with more plastic surgeons than in Los Angeles.
Tehran is the capital city of a country inhabited by 70 million people, where more than 2/3 are under 30 years. This massive population explosion reflects in its cosmopolitan air, in nearly 50 major colleges and universities, housing diverse ethnic and linguistic groups from all over the country. It’s a metropolis of deep cultural and population exchange, due to the fact that more 60 percent of Tehranis were born outside Tehran. 

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Vali Asr street is the city's backbone, the sensitive thermometer of its radical overthrows. The mutation of its name reflected in the XX century the shift from royal to secular to religious power. Vali Asr is a universe in itself, being the longer street in the Middleast, running for 20 km from south to north. It dramatically connects the flat desert and the steep mountains, the old grand bazaar, the poor and conservative communities of the south to the new shopping malls and secularized rich population of the north side of the metropolis.
The competition plot is located in north central Tehran, along Vali Asr, in the heart of an affluent neighborhood with high-rise commercial buildings, a golf course, chic cafés and malls.


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The project takes in consideration the massive flux that arrives and departs from Vanak Square in the north, packed with people, taxis, buses and cars, and the proximity of a highway in the southern side, establishing with it a strong visual relationship


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The building literally discloses its multifaceted and unconventional nature, alluding to the exuberant character of the Benetton brand. As a vibrant precious stone, it catches the glimpses of the inattentive pedestrians and the stressed Tehranis drivers. It’s a seismograph of the youthful unmentionable desires. While visually recalling the astonishing richness of Persian interiors, the Benetton building subtly alludes to the powerful yet still ambiguous energy which is currently shaking Iranian society.

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The potential office layout is intended as a linear and relatively neutral space. The sight lines and the degree of privacy can sensibly variate through the disposition of furniture (especially low bookshelves) and light screens, made by translucent materials such as Barrisol.
The dramatic "canyons" offer to every office a view towards Vali Asr street and a consistent amount of daylight.