Archive for the ‘Milan for a floral culture’ Category


What’s your alleyway?

June 25, 2010

Milan is not really famous for its ancient buildings or picturesque ruins, but there is an area which has some distinctive traits that make it very, very fascinating. This is Brera, a suggestive quarter where artists live with famous fashion designers and small craftsman who still crowd its streets. If only you wandered around a maze of tight streets, you would be caught in a sophisticated atmosphere, and you would find a wide variety of  flowers or, better, of ways of “using flowers”.

From the classical shop (1)…



…to the specialization on just one kind of  blossom, rose, maybe the flower par excellence (2)…



…to the attention to their incredible scent! (3)



But what is more curious about the relation between flowers and Brera? In the first half of XVIII century streets didn’t have a name, neither the buildings a number. Milanese people should orient themselves referring to the entrances of the cities, rich palaces, columns and churches. Was the Austrian Joseph II who established that the streets should have a name. And nowadays, they are entitled to famous people, jobs, curiosities…

Two opposite crossbeams of via Brera are  via Fiori Chiari and via Fiori Oscuri.




The first one is related to an old building for virtuous girls, while the second one to a whorehouse. It makes sense, because girls are all compared to flowers, but some are clear as their souls, others obscure as their jobs. Others think that the name are related to some cultivations of the past and organized separating the lighter flowers from the darker ones, but this thought is less taken in consideration.

Last, but not the least, is another tiny alleyway…



(1)  The shop I’m referring to is “Lami”, in piazza San Marco, where I went to ask some information about the differences between stallholders and shopkeepers I dealt with in past posts.



(2)  I’ve never seen so many kinds of roses as I did at “Au nom de la rose”! From soap, to perfumes, to candles, sweets, honey, oils… A small shop with 1000-1500 blooms from everywhere: France, Holland, Kenya, Ecuador. A corner of France where touch, sense of smell, eyesight and taste are stimulated.



(3)  Have you have heard about a “Bar à parfums”? Well, in Brera there is just the so called olfattorio, “Penhaligon’s”. They wanted to create  authentic perfumes, wrapping and delicate, using floral essences for most of them, such as Bergamot, Musk and Freesia, Iris, Rose, Jasmin de muet.


Light, shape, mirror, silver: De Vecchi Silverware, precious vessels for flowers

June 5, 2010

The Naviglio on the right, a warm sun just in front of us, some chatting guys, a couple in love. A little further, noisy sounds, people stuck in a traffic jam and the frantic life of Milan. A warm sunny day of Spring (finally arrived!), in an outlying part of the city.

That’s where I was last week with my special class of design, in order to discover an hidden, small, still full of interesting aspects and surprising world of De Vecchi Silverware. The owner who welcomed us, Giacomo, so proud and satisfied by his job, has a lot of things to say, too. You could see, through his eyes, how much passion he has for what he does, day by day.



But, maybe, it is a “matter of family”: he represents the third generation of a family company, founded in 1935 by his grandfather Piero, who made pieces for the Futuristic Movement. Hence, a traditional craftsman or an avant-garde artist? Both. For sure, he did something completely new, never done before. In a first moment, he was particularly allured by the interactivity of objects, how they could appear always changing still remaining the same, thanks to the kinetic energy. Through Mr. Giacomo’s father, Gabriele, this fascinating idea developed, considering the mirror effect as well, which reflects shapes and colors, and then applying this to silver, seeing how forms do react through it. Silver has no color, but you can easily play using it as a changeable surface, and creating a relationship between the real and the fake, the material and the immaterial elements.

Among the hundreds of objects they have done, from Mr. Piero untill now, something caught my attention that day: some really beautiful vases.

Mr. Giacomo explained that what was interesting was seeing how different lines can create different lights, in different points of the surface. In these vases, “Phoemina” and “Diana”, for instance, they worked on two profiles:

For this one, called “Invaso”, a virtual vase is inscribed in the factual one, and it is created by inverting background and shapes.

This limited edition vase (only 70 copies), “Crac”, is broken as it would be “two in one”: various and multiplied forms reflect images and lights.

But it is not finished yet: hundreds of shapes, curves, squares, triangles… in order to design thousands of bright and sparkling games!


Fuori Orticola

June 2, 2010

Orticola is not just a fair-market: it is also a chance to exhibit some works of art, related to flowers… of course! For this occasion, 11 of Luigi Scrosati’s paintings are now shown in the Museum Bagatti Valsecchi.




He was a painter of flowers, in Milan of 18th century, andthese works come from private collections, so they are impossible to be seen in other occasions. Hence, a little exhibition in a precious place, we could say.



A short focus on the Museum House.

 In 1883 with the restoration of the building, the brothers Fausto and Giuseppe Bagatti Valsecchi crowned their dream of a house inspired by the noble houses of 16th century Lombardy. Personal involved in the interior design and decoration, they added their collection of 15-16th century paintings and artefacts. The museum, then, opened in 1994.

Interesting news for the one mad about design: a surprising chronological crossover  among pieces of design and period furnishing and artworks. Bagatti Valsecchi museum, Boschi Di Stefano Museum House, Poldi Pezzoli Museum and Villa Necchi Campiglio had hosted the exhibition “Unexpected Guests. Yesterday Homes, Today’s Design”, where design objects  from the last decade interacted with locations of the past. Contributed to this incredible and fascinating project and to create cross-referencing, differences and contrasts really big names of the design world, such as Maarten Baas, Marc Sadler and Ettore Sottsass (the grandfather of Italian design).



Exhibitions @ Milan

May 20, 2010

Flowers are a subject widely exploited by lots of famous artists. Only in the latest years, many of them, from the Renaissance to the contemporary art, have been hosted in Milan, which provides so many chances to exhibit them thanks to a large number of museums.

We could just think to…
















Orti Antichi

May 20, 2010

In addition to its value for the private use, the Orti Antichi project creates value for the public by restoring a residential structure for the neighborhood that for so many years was used for offices, returning it to its original use.

The building improvement scheme involves the whole neighborhoods in the centre of Milan and represents an unique intervention within the city, because some buildings built in the 60’s were demolished and substituted by others , aesthetically related to the palaces of the end of the nineteenth century. Moreover, two garages for each apartment and an inside garden were created as well. Each apartment has high-quality interior finished and sophisticated, independent air-conditioners. All the housing complex has a security system, a centralized satellite reception and an automatic switching on system for the lights of the garages.

Some numbers:

  • Land area: about 10,000 sqm
  •  Total area: 32,115 sqm
  •  Apartments: 105
  •  Office units: 3
  •  Amount:  2,706,000.00 € for the electrical system – 5,037,000.00 € for the mechanical system
  •  Period: from December 2004 to 2006 (design)
  •  Design Team: Studio Beretta, Ariatta, Redesco




































The South-East of Milan: still a green area, or just a residential one?

May 20, 2010

For two years , I’ve been living in one of the oldest part of Milan, an important area for Milanese agricultural economy of the past and  for the “green” sites of the city, and I didn’t know. Till now, when I discovered that it embraced the Southern part of Milan, (places like Porta Romana,Navigli, Corso Italia, Corso di Porta Ticinese…), that was plenty of green areas, generally private, considered as fundamental subsistence sources for people of that time. They were cultivated, indeed, for food and medicinal. Moreover, an intense trade of flowers and plants, that involved the biggest merchants of that time, was particularly developed.

Nowadays, such area has become mainly important for an historical revolution  of some buildings: it has been undertaken by Doughty Hanson & Co Real Estate and Europa Risorse, which wanted to reach an high-quality residential development, recovering the original nature of the buildings, rewrite them in their classic and traditional contest, still integrating them with contemporary technological elements. This neighborhoods is called “Orti Antichi”, and provides both opportunities for culture (Bocconi University, Biblioteca Sormani, Giardini della Guastalla…) and for active social life: restaurants, pubs, theaters, assure an offer able to satisfy every kind of tastes, but it remains, at the same time, a quiet and reserved place where it is a pleasure to live in.