The Giulia Maramotti nursery was created from a collaboration between the Municipality of Reggio Emilia and the Giulia Maramotti Foundation. In fact, the agreement between these two major partners dates back to 2004. Their common goal was to expand the network of nurseries in the city, forming a collaboration that could also help employees of the Max Mara group to find the best balance between their professional life and looking after their young children.
In 2004, the Giulia Maramotti Foundation, in collaboration with Reggio Children and under the patronage of the Chamber of Architects of Reggio Emilia, launched a contest to implement this project, calling for ideas from young architects and engineers under the age of 35 from the province of Reggio Emilia to design and create a new nursery inspired by high-quality pedagogical and architectural criteria and values. The winner was the project by the two architects, Francesca Fava and Carlo Margini, both for its structural functionality and its architectural quality, holding strong concepts in terms of Children, space and meta-project relationships for childhood environments, including the idea of mobility, transparency and transformation. In 2007, once construction had been completed, the Foundation gave the nursery to the Municipality of Reggio Emilia which launched a tender process and entrusted the day-to-day running of the nursery to the Panta Rei Social Cooperative from 7 January 2008.
The Giulia Maramotti nursery has therefore been designed as a set of different spaces, where the volume density, the colour combinations against the white background, the relationship between solids and voids and between interior and exterior, the transparency, the double volumes, the furnishings and the materials have all found that balance and harmony in their interconnection which makes it a place of research full of possibilities. The space itself has become a developing research project that involves the adults and children who live and will live there every day. It is a living environment that is continuously changed by exploration and marked by the traces left there every day. By reviewing these traces and the various documentation gathered, certain concepts have been identified which strongly emerge as intrinsic qualities of the space: transparency, mobility, thresholds, luminosity, three-dimensionality, volumes and resonance have become research fields for the children and adults to investigate, either when experiencing the nursery and its architecture or its connections with the outside world.
The thoughts of the staff on the value of living in a space, a place, an architecture are enriched over time and expanded from inside towards the outside world. By living in a new surrounding, intentionally without any structured games, it has allowed reflection on the endless possibilities created by encountering natural biodiversity and observing over time which research and interests manage to grasp the children’s attention in different classes and for different age groups. Furthermore, thanks to these multiple listening activities, it has been possible to bestow an identity on the mobile workshops in the park, serving as the ideal continuation for each class, and to the winter gardens at the front which connect the inside and outside: colour, sound, nature, light and transparency have become the focus points that characterise these spaces decorated with flowers, seeds, bulbs and plants, or with materials of various shapes, textures and consistencies that can create games of colourful projections, or games of light, shadow and sounds.
The nursery has 78 children from 3 to 36 months, while 30 of the available spaces are for employees of the Max Mara group; the school has 4 sections, including a baby section for children between 3 and 10 months, an infant section for children between 11 and 18 months, a toddlers section for children between 19 and 24 months and a big kids section for children between 25 and 32 months. The school is open from 1st September until 30th June from Monday to Friday between 7:30 am and 4:00 pm, with an after-school service available from 4:00 to 6:30 pm for families who request it. A summer school is also organised during July depending on the criteria and decisions made by the Institution for Schools and Nurseries of the Municipality of Reggio Emilia.