As a real estate developer for close to 20 years, Alessandro Cajrati Crivelli has been responsible for creating Zona Tortona in Milan, one of the largest fashion districts in the world. He recently launched the workspace membership club Spring Place, which first opened in Tribeca in New York and will soon see sites in cities around the world. Whitewall caught up with the founder and managing partner of EST4TE FOUR to learn how he approaches creating spaces for connections between creative industries, and his latest project in Red Hook, Brooklyn.
WHITEWALLER: By recognizing the connec- tions between industries like fashion, art, and design, and the change in the way that we work within those industries, what cities are you drawn to for future locations of the club?
ALESSANDRO CAJRATI CRIVELLI: We will do one in Los Angeles and one in Red Hook, Brooklyn. We know where we want to go, but it depends on the building and neighborhood. It’s really driven by the city. In Milan, with Zona Tortona, the initial drive was design, and then came fashion. In the fashion industry, I’ve met some of the most brilliant minds in terms of creativity and business sense.
Other cities, like New York, host a variety of players. Fashion will always be our anchor, because it’s sophisticated, it’s glamorous, it’s dynamic, it’s an international language. But New York is the best city to do the club because you have the art, you have the media, the music, you have entertainment.
WW: The Red Hook project in Brooklyn you mentioned is named Innovation Studios, so, with that, will you see more of an engagement with the tech industry?
ACC: Because I was privileged enough to be part of the creation of a district in Milan, to be part of or responsible for the creation of a district in New York City from the real estate point of view is one of the most exciting opportunities. We want to use the idea of working with some of the most sophisticated minds to create an ideal village where a lot of creative players and companies can mingle, work, and have fun together. In this specific place, it is called Innovation Studios because there is no doubt that the high-tech industry is the new player in every sector. It is probably the most exciting industry right now. And, for example, there is this interconnection between tech and the fashion industry with new designs incorporating high-tech fabrics, or accessories like the Apple Watch, for example. I’m looking more for these integrations between the real innovation and application that is a bit more glamorous and fun than pure technology.
The fashion and art worlds are very much interconnected. Some of the biggest collectors in the art world are people who were originally in the fashion world: Bernard Arnault, Miuccia Prada, François Pinault.
WW: The plan for Red Hook is over 13 acres and one million square feet. That’s a big undertaking!
ACC: It’s big, but not that big. I hope to grow further than the initial plan. Listen, every project needs to be successful, but when you have the opportunity to develop a project like this one, I think there’s a responsibility to go well beyond the management, doing something beautiful, that contributes locally and beyond. Red Hook is a magic place where we can really make an amazing, wonderful district that would be unique not only in New York, but in the U.S.