CityLife Shopping District – Podium Zaha Hadid

Bamboo, you simply cannot ignore it in the largest shopping center in Italy. The CityLife Shopping District, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, shows the versatility of the natural material. With its distinctive curves and smooth forms, the architect brings an unprecedented dynamic into the shopping mall. The warmth of bamboo emphasizes the welcoming effect.

Project details

Ceramiche Frattini srl, Tempini 1921 srl, Ferlegno srl (Gruppo COIVER), ARTE + PARTNER Turnkey Solutions – gruppo Braga spa
AndreVisual (excl #1: HuftonCrow)
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CityLife sets a new standard for living and working

CityLife is a completely renewed neighbourhood in Milan with museums, apartments, offices and recreational area. This has been built in the old market district of Milan, close to the historic city centre. Tre Torri, three prominent residential and office towers, designed by Zaha Hadid, Arata Isozaki and Daniel Libeskind, form an architectural highlight in the neighbourhood. The CityLife Shopping District is built under and between the towers, incorporating the largest shopping mall in Italy: more than 80 shops, 20 restaurants, bars and a cinema. The three towers and the shopping area are located within more than 170,000 m² of public parks.

Bamboo wood applications in CityLife Shopping District

Bamboo floors and ceilings form the basis of the interior with white, smoothly finished walls. The contrast of white with the natural bamboo wood enhances the dynamic feeling generated by the architecture. Large rounded bamboo pillars form the eye-catchers: here the bamboo wood flows from the floor to the ceiling. With great sense of detail, the bamboo panels have been processed into columns that almost seamlessly flow into the ceiling beams. Thanks to the curves in the ceiling, an impression of motion is created. In the central area, the counters of the information centre and a bar are also made with MOSO bamboo wood. Various restaurants and shops also opted for bamboo floors and furniture. Bamboo wood is visible everywhere in CityLife Shopping district.

“Bamboo flooring, ceiling and columns welcome visitors to the shopping district’s interior. Selected for its warmth and tactility, engineered bamboo is extremely durable and can be procured in a large quantity from sustainable sources.”

Zaha Hadid Architects
Zaha Hadid Architects website

MOSO® Bamboo Solid Beams, Panels and Veneer in CityLife Shopping District

Over 2 500 m² of bamboo panels, 70 000 meters of bamboo beams and 1 000 m² of bamboo veneer have been used in the interior of the CityLife Shopping District mall. The architects selected MOSO High Density® bamboo in the warm colour Caramel. This material is far harder than most types of wood, because it is made from compressed bamboo strips. The high density and hardness not only ensure a very high durability, but also meet strict fire safety requirements. For CityLife Shopping District, a careful colour selection has been executed, to ensure that the ceilings, floors and counters fit together well.

More about Bamboo Panels

MOSO® High Density® bamboo wood meets strict fire safety requirements

The ceiling and the pillars are made with bamboo beams and panels. The material, with a minimum thickness of 18 mm, achieves the strict European fire class B-s1-d0. The fire safety has been demonstrated with the tests and certification already available from MOSO®, and with additional tests for the complete ceiling system. With the positive result, the ceiling system is suitable for all public areas. Because the material meets the strict fire safety requirements, impregnation or finishing of the bamboo wood with lacquer was not necessary. In this way, the desired result was achieved: a natural appearance of the bamboo wood.

More about fire safety

Sustainable bamboo floor suitable for intensive use in shopping centre

Bamboo Industriale Density Caramel was selected for the floor: an industrial flooring that is very well suited for intensively used public spaces. The floor, consisting of compressed bamboo strips, is glued and finished on site. In order to match the appearance of floors, ceilings and pillars completely, a very natural matt gloss lacquer with fire-resistant properties has been applied. With this lacquer, the Bamboo Industriale flooring preserves its natural appearance and meets the stringent durability and fire safety requirements.

More about Bamboo Industriale

The colour matching of MOSO® bamboo wood

For the architect and contractor, the homogeneous appearance of the bamboo wood was of the utmost importance. MOSO®, as a world leading bamboo specialist, is able to supply a variety of products in the same colour grade. MOSO® Density® bamboo is made by compressing crushed bamboo strips into beams and panels. By steaming the bamboo strips, the light natural colour tint of bamboo is changed to a warm caramel tint. The final appearance depends on the temperature and duration of this process. For the CityLife Shopping District deliveries, extensive colour selections were carried out, with the MOSO® team in China playing a crucial role.

The advantages of MOSO® bamboo wood

Visitors to CityLife Shopping District see a beautiful wood-like interior, without direct connection with the fastest growing plant in the world. Bamboo has many technical and ecological advantages:

  • Bamboo has hardwood properties like high hardness, durability and stability;
  • Bamboo absorbs more CO2 during growth than it is emitted during production and transport: Almost all solid MOSO® Bamboo Products are CO2 neutral during the product lifespan (according to ISO 14040/44);
  • Bamboo is an ‘endless’ resource, a fastgrowing raw material with a harvest age of approx. 5 years;
  • Bamboo is available in a wide variety of products and can be used for a large number of applications.


Get in touch with the MOSO® Bamboo expert who was involved in this project.

Marco Pirotta
Director of MOSO Italia S.R.L, Italy

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Marco Pirotta MOSO Bamboo expert

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