Architect: Louis Troiani
Firm: Studio Progetti, Inc., 328 E. Padre St.TK [1819 Laguna St.]
Specialties: Village-style outdoor shopping centers; LED displays for commercial, educational, and sport facilities.
Notable Projects: Outlets at San Clemente, California; Franciacorta Outlet Village, Brescia, Italy; USC’s Galen Center and Uytengsu Aquatics Center
For more than 21 years, Louis Troiani’s Studio Progetti has specialized in large-scale retail shopping centers that combine ease of shopping with familiar architectural environments. But each project has specific requirements and is always designed from scratch. “It’s not a repeat of what we have done somewhere else,” said Troiani. “It has character that is unique to each location.”
He approaches projects from a holistic point of view. “We literally start with the basic site plans and then move it to each phase of the development,” said Troiani. “We do all the components that make the whole project, and we work with a lot of people to get there, but I’m involved on the design level for every single aspect.”
Troiani spent a grueling 18 years working on a 50-acre retail “village” in San Clemente, the Orange County city founded by Ole Hanson, who was a fan of Santa Barbara’s Spanish Colonial Revival style. So the outdoor mall is very much Santa Barbara in style, with red-tiled roofs and whitewashed walls.
He’s also worked on five developments in Italy, including Brescia’s Franciacorta Outlet Village. “The quality of construction is amazing over there,” said Troiani, who admits that it took time to adjust to designing in the metric system and was surprised that the Italian architectural teams relied exclusively on computers. “There was not a pencil, not a pencil sharpener, not a piece of paper anywhere in the office,” he said. “They were staring at us like we were creatures from some other place because we were drawing on paper and sketching out and developing the entire concept of this place by hand.” Troiani was pleased to find that on subsequent visits he began to see more paper and sketching happening among his Italian counterparts.
What’s Next: A 2,500-square-foot sign for a university in the Midwest, much like his work for USC’s Galen Center and Uytengsu Aquatics Center in Los Angeles. “This is not typical for most architects or even most sign designers,” says Troiani, whose first LED screen project came from a client who had a property with no signage exposure, which required developing a creative way to tell a story of what was behind the wall. “It’s a specialty that we’ve sort of started and kept up with,” he said.
Santa Barbara Dream Project: “The waterfront in Santa Barbara along Cabrillo is extremely uninspired,” said Troiani. “That’s the front door to our city, and it really should be something much more engaged. I am sure the Entrada project is the first step in that direction, but there are many more opportunities there.”