Carlo Ratti Associati’s Vibram R&D lab recreates the Alps in the heart of Milan

The eponymous design and innovation studio of Italian architect and engineer Carlo Ratti has shared its plans for a footwear testing and research facility in Milan that, per the firm, “explores new way to blend natural and artificial, mountain and city through design.” The project comes in advance of the 2026 Winter Olympics, which will be co-hosted by Milan and the storied ski resort of Cortina d’Ampezzo in the Italian Alps. (Cortina d’ Ampezzo previously hosted the winter games in 1956.)

Located within a former industrial building in Milan’s Tortona Design District, the roughly 4,500-square-foot footwear lab is being developed by Vibram. Best known

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