Casaforte Self-Storage, an industry leader in Italy and Switzerland, has become known for highly specialized services and distinctive architectural design. Established in 2001, the company is managed according to the same standards adopted by major U.S. and European operators, though it maintains an unmistakably Italian style. Part of its unique identity springs from its buildings: abandoned historical structures reborn through conversion.
Casaforte Self-Storage centers are marketed as “hotels for things,” a concept reflective of Italian philosophy. Objects people need or love—but cannot keep at home—find lodging in restored buildings deeply rooted in the economical, historical and social fabric of the community.
A mix of strategic and practical circumstances fuels Casaforte’s preference for conversions vs. new facilities. Building a structure from scratch has become increasingly difficult in Italy. The country is small with a severe lack of available land, especially in the outskirts of big cities. Moreover, its urban planning is ruled by bureaucratic and administrative requirements, which drive up costs and create scheduling nightmares.
Fortunately, Italy is well-stocked with buildings prime for refurbishment. Businesses that close or relocate often leave their premises in ideal condition for an efficient, affordable and timely transformation to self-storage. As another plus, converting old factories into fresh new businesses revitalizes urban areas and helps save natural resources.
Like an Old Friend
It’s difficult to deny the popularity of buildings people have become accustomed to seeing on a daily basis. For many long-time residents, historical buildings are closely interwoven with their lives and memories. When locals see old factories turned into self-storage, their curiosity is immediately piqued about the changes and incoming business. When the facility opens, it already has a familiar and friendly look to those who worked in the old factory, as well as their relatives and friends. These people view the commitment to preserve the local architecture and cultural heritage as evidence of Casaforte’s credibility.
Prior to its conversion in 2001, the company’s Milan facility was the Italian headquarters of Pelikan, a well-known brand of luxury ballpoint and fountain pens. The factory, built in 1957, is an excellent example of the period’s architectural trends. The structure’s solid and functional appearance has been preserved, and Casaforte’s brand colors underscore its sleek, monumental size. The outer walls are painted black, and doors and windows are a vibrant yellow, creating a distinctive look and feel.
The Corsico facility (close to Milan) has a similar story. The factory was built during the ’60s, hosting a metal-sheets manufacturer. In converting the factory, Casaforte preserved the peculiar façade with porthole-like windows, but made the unique design more visible by applying the company’s signature colors.
The Rome facility, constructed in the ’50s, used to be a Beretta production factory. After conversion, it retains the wide, quiet and sheltered courtyard, now a loading area. Customers enjoy the pleasant atmosphere, enhanced by centuries-old maritime pines that provide shade and fragrance.
These are only a few examples of how Casaforte places and develops its facilities. Regardless of locale, the company’s self-storage strategy remains consistent: to become part of the urban fabric of a community, ensuring a place close to the heart of its residents.
Sabrina Tordo is the marketing and communication manager for Casaforte Self Storage S.p.A. For more information, visit www.selfstorage.it.