Italy’s sports infrastructure market has been boosted by Populous opening a new office in Milan dedicated to projects in the country.

The sport and entertainment architecture and design practice said the opening of the office strengthens its commitment to growth in Italy, where it has been operational for 15 years. It will bring Populous’ full scope of services to the Italian market, including architecture, masterplanning, interior design, event planning, brand activation, and design-led business planning.

Populous will mastermind its major projects in Italy from the new base, including its proposed scheme for a new 60,000-seat stadium for AC Milan and Inter Milan.

Declan Sharkey, a senior principal at Populous, has been appointed general manager of Populous Italia and he will be joined by principal Silvia Prandelli, who will lead the practice in Italy.

Sharkey said: “The opening of our Milan office comes at an extremely exciting time for Italian sport as both public and private bodies seek to boost the industry through considerable investment in infrastructure.

“We are excited to bring an increased presence to this incredibly exciting market, allowing us to better serve our clients in Italy.”

Speaking about the opening if the Milan office, Christopher Lee, managing director of Populous (EMEA), said: “We are excited to be announcing the opening of our studio in Milan and to bring the full scope of our global knowledge and expertise to the Italian market. Building on our longstanding history within the Italian sports and entertainment sectors, this will enable us to better serve our clients in Italy, working hand-in-hand with them to both design and deliver the world’s best sports and entertainment projects.

“Bringing Silvia on board will allow Populous to develop further opportunities on the ground in Italy where our design experience and expertise has much to offer.”

Populous and Manica/Sportium were shortlisted to design a new 60,000-seat stadium in Milan for the city’s two Serie A teams in 2019.

The concepts designed by both firms provide for the retention of a part of the current San Siro within a new retail and sports district that could be used all year. A wider district would include about 106,000 square metres of green space and feature retail, sports, cultural and leisure activities, including a running track, cycle path, outdoor gym, skateboard park, five-a-side football pitch and sports museum.

Earlier this year, Milan’s Mayor, Giuseppe Sala, said the new stadium project is at a “standstill” due to uncertainty over Inter’s ownership situation. The club rejected this claim at the time.

Images: Populous