Kid's Factory

Kid’s Factory - an international competition for ideas for the former Laveno Mombello ceramic manufacturing facility

Milan, September 24, 2018 PRESS RELEASE

One of the historic facilities of the glorious industrial ceramics of Laveno Mombello is the focus of the new international competition of YAC - Young Architects Competitions promoted by Urban Up | Unipol Projects Cities.

Young architects from every corner of the world will compete with the design of an immense and futuristic campus for children at one of the most majestic industrial sites in Europe.

An avant-garde adventure began in the spring of 1856 with a technical and artistic development that saw a former Laveno glasswork facility transform into one of the ceramic factories that would mark the course of both the history of design and the industry itself. It is a history that would influence area development, changing the design of roads, infrastructures and railways, and impact the socio-cultural structure. Taking on the Laveno manufacturing facility will therefore mean handling the remains of a history whose roots are deep in the memory and identity of an area.

The former Laveno Mombello ceramics factory is a mastodon sleeping on the shores of Lake Maggiore, a 27,000 square meter titan that the Unipol Group, the owner of this majestic architectural complex with buildings designed by architect Piero Portaluppi, intends to open up to children by means of the KID’S FACTORY contest.

Childhood represents a fascinating challenge for designers: adults experience architecture according to a functional logic - each space has a use, and each element a destination. For children, space is instead exploration, continuous and inexhaustible opportunities - every environment can be different, every place elsewhere. This is what happens when a place can no longer be redesigned as functional for adults, but it remains within the reach of children.

Redeveloped as such, Laveno Mombello industries will become a model of architecture for educational purposes, in creating a true atlas of design for children through its impressive dimensions with poly-semantic and poly-functional spaces. A school, library, camping area, sports and recreational facilities, workers, and pet center will not only have to set the stage for a real city for children, but also an ideal setting for adults, in establishing a service center useful for tourist purposes as well as for the area.


  • Stefano Boeri
  • Mario Cucinella
  • Arne Emerson (Morphosis)
  • Giuseppe Lobalsamo (Gruppo Unipol)
  • Emmanuelle Moureaux
  • Keiichiro Sako (Sako Architects)
  • Ben Van Berkel (UNstudio)
  • Luca Varesi (Wip srl)
  • Peter Wilson (Bolles+Wilson)


  • 1st PRIZE € 10,000
  • 2nd PRIZE € 4,000
  • 3Rd PRIZE € 2,000
  • 4 GOLD HONORABLE MENTIONS € 1,000 each

Urban Up | Unipol Projects Cities
Dedicated to the real estate redevelopment of buildings owned by the Unipol Group and aimed at enhancing some of the most significant buildings in the Italian architectural park, the Urban Up project started in the city of Milan with the redevelopment of a few buildings that symbolize the Lombard capital for its history and location. Urban Up is a project that combines innovation and tradition with the aim of enhancing the beauty and importance of true icons across the Italian urban landscape. Through modernization and renovation works, skyscrapers, facilities, and historic buildings will once again take on a prominent role in the urban fabric.

YAC - Young Competitions Architects
YAC is a promoter of ideas and architecture competitions aimed at young designers. The aim of YAC is to promote the culture of research in the architectural field, and enhance the talent of young professionals through the competition of ideas as a tool. Over its years of operation, thousands of architects from more than 120 different nations have taken part in YAC competitions, with some of the most influential designers on the international scene serving as jurors: the Pritzker Nouvel, Souto De Moura, Foster and Hadid award studies, along with designers like Fabio Novembre, artists like Edoardo Tresoldi, and many more. Among the best known competitions are the most recent collaborations with the State Property Office for the re-functionalization of the Italian lighthouse network, with Unindustria for the redevelopment of the former Burgo paper mills, and with Lamborghini Automobiles for the construction of two road landmarks at the facilities of the famous car manufacturer. Since 2015, YAC has been a member of the holding circuit of knight Alberto Masotti, the historical patron of the La Perla fashion group, which has identified the possibility of promoting a culture of beauty and enhancement of the national heritage of architecture.