Domus Urban Stories @ Salone Milan 2017

Domus Urban Stories @ Salone Milan 2017

During the Salone Milan 2017, Domus Magazine was based in the new Spazio Copernico in the heart of the Tortona district where – as media partner of the entire area – it presented the installation “Milano Next” entirely dedicated to contemporary Milan – together with a supporting city guide ” Urban Stories – The Unconventional Guide to Milan”



Domus Urban Stories Exhibition – Milan Next

At the Spazio Copernico venue located at Via Tortona 33, Domus magazine hosted an exhibition entitled ” Milano Next” – an original immersive installation dedicated to Contemporary Milan and its future.

A picture of Milan as it is today, how it is lived and how it is perceived, translated into three-dimensions in an immersive installation, curated by Dontstop Architecture.

It was designed to represent the conceptual extension of “Domus Urban Stories – The Unconventional Guide to Milan

The set-up was scenographic, with emotional and informative backgrounds of the most significant transformations of contemporary Milan.

The set up was conceived by Michele Brunello, Marco Brega and Andrea Angeli and constructed by ABS group.

Domus Next Milan Sponsor Hyudai IONIQ : the first car in the world to be proposed in three power supplies – hybrid, 100% electric, and hybrid plug-in.


Domus painted a picture of the city as it is today, the way it is experienced and perceived.

The exhibition was divided into thematic sections in which the city is alternately analysed, described and imagined.

The Domus lens was trained on the macro scale as well as the micro scale through analytical indicators and data that was materialised in immersive 3D surroundings

The display was a conceptual extension of the special publication “Domus Urban Stories Milan“, now available at bookstores  – an unconventional guide to today’s “post-Expo” city, a compilation of 15 exceptional forays into the Milanese worlds of culture, architecture and design.

The scope of the project is broad, yet at the same time specifically local.

The event, specially conceived for the Design Week, aims to stimulate analysis and long-term international debate.

Analytic indicators and macro-data appear on various supports including film, glass, and fabric.

Through graphics, diagrams, images, and text, they trace the lines of the present and future city.

More than 100 printed fabrics of different colours and sizes powerfully animate the ground floor space.

Overlapping, they generate a feeling of lightness and translucency, although they also become structural elements and – like huge index cards – the bearers of the macro-data of the city of Milan.

The installation was simultaneously informative and moving.

It drew visitors into an itinerary through various places in the city, the transformations they have undergone, and the reflections and suggestions of the 15 special contributors that Domus  brought together for the occasion




Domus Urban Stories – The Unconventional Guide to Milan

A few days before the opening of Design Week 2017, Domus launched “Domus Urban Stories – The Unconventional Guide to Milan”, an international guide ( produced in English )  that describes the city through a work of choral harmony that brings together the voices of 15 representatives of the world of culture, fashion, art, design and architecture who have chosen Milan as their adoptive city, where their practices are based or where they make regular visits to for professional reasons.

This is the Milan of the non-Milanese, a vivid portrait painted by 15 x personal accounts, composing a new guide to the city made of stories, memories and details that the Milanese might hardly notice


A unconventional pocket guide to Milan, ( in English) discovering the city through the personal perspectives of 15 of the best architects, designers and artists selected by Domus:  Ronan Bouroullec, Maurizio Cattelan, David Chipperfield, Marco De Vincenzo, Naoto Fukasawa, Massimiliano Gioni, Jacques Herzog, Mimmo Jodice, Ross Lovegrove, Jasper Morrison, Bijoy Jain, Alice Rawsthorn, Lia Rumma, Studio Swine, Benedetta Tagliabue.




Domus Talks –  Milano Next

What is Milan today?

What does it have and what does it lack?

If it is true that in the period following the Expo it has undergone considerable transformations, which of these have left the strongest and most positive mark on the city?

And thinking to tomorrow, what does it deserve to become?

Domus hosted a series of talks covering diverging issues of Milan past, present, future


discussing graphene

Carlo Ratti discussing le Corbusier and innovation with Oliviero Toscani





Interviews presented at the Exhibition only

Domus asked Ronan Bouroullec, Maurizio Cattelan, David Chipperfield, Marco De Vincenzo, Naoto Fukasawa, Massimiliano Gioni, Jacques Herzog, Mimmo Jodice, Ross Lovegrove, Jasper Morrison, Bijoy Jain, Alice Rawsthorn, Lia Rumma, Studio Swine and Benedetta Tagliabue, for their opinions, that sometimes turn into confidences, sometimes advice and finally into a wish, all around the same common thread, the Lombardy capital.

The publication also had a digital extension, that brought together four additional interviews with Ramak Fazel, Jaime Hayon, Ila Beka and Emiliano Ponzi and an interactive map to move between the locations in Milan cited by the authors.



Emiliano Ponzi

What are the origins of your relationship with Milan?

I moved to Milan in 1997, and since then it’s always been my base even when I’ve spent periods abroad. I’ve moved house three times, but I’ve always lived between the Green Line metro stops of Sant’Agostino and Porta Genova.

Nowadays, I live in a very quiet street behind Piazza XXIV Maggio.

Just around the corner there’s the new Darsena canal dockyard area, which was completely redeveloped for Expo 2015.

What is your favourite historical building in the city?

One building I find charming is Palazzo Litti along Corso Magenta, with its splendid baroque facade designed by Bartolomeo Bolli.

On sunny days, the windows illuminating the building’s grand staircase create a surreal atmosphere in the interiors.

The gilding in the central Hall of Mirrors is also wonderful. Its ceiling was painted by Giovanni AntonioCucchi, who visually extended the walls upwards with the use of an illusionistic technique.

What do you normally do when you are in Milan?

My studio is in the Navigli district, down near the canals, and it’s just seven minutes from my house.

The route I take early in the morning and late in the evening cuts through the market on the Darsena dockyard. When I pass by in the mornings, the shops and stalls are just opening.

From there I walk past the house of Arnaldo Pomodoro, the maestro sculptor, and then turn onto Via Vigevano passing by the famous occupied house covered in graffiti, and I continue along the road to Via Alessandria near the Fashion Library, or Biblioteca della Moda.

Is there a shop in Milan where you buy special items?

There’s an unusual shop near the polytechnic called Blitz Bovisa.

It’s a massive multi-floor space selling the widest range of design objects, from Olivetti Lettera 22 typewriters to the Pax lamp by Fontana Arte, or from old seats and armchairs to the latest chaises longues.

What is your favourite cafe, bar or restaurant in Milan?

There are so many.

Bar Basso is an absolute must due to its history and status as Milan’s last bastion during the nights of Design Week.

A great restaurant is Al Cortile, located in the wonderful setting of an internal courtyard on Viale Col di Lana.

Verso, meanwhile, is the bookstore-bar that was missing from the Ticinese area, and it’s a fixed appointment for a glass of something and a good read. You always bump into someone there with an interesting story to tell.

Which new buildings have transformed the city?

Piazza Gae Aulenti is an excellent pinnacle of observation for the most modern part of Milan: the Vertical Forest, the UniCredit Tower and the Palazzo Lombardia skyscraper.

These have joined other less recent structures that have nonetheless become part of the city’s skyline, such as the Pirelli Tower.

What would you transfer to Milan from another place?

I’ve watched and lived in Milan for the last 20 years, and I don’t think it’s missing anything in particular.

On the contrary, there’s always something happening here. It’s a place that’s growing dynamically, from events to festivals and cultural encounters.

One of the many virtuous examples is BookCity and the increase in appointments it has had in just a few years.

The inauguration of the Mudec Museum of Cultures is another fine case, along with the growth of the Design and Fashion weeks, the Piano City concerts, events at the Triennale and the increasing importance of Hangar Bicocca.

Ila Beka

What are the origins of your relationship with Milan?

I got to know Milan as a teenager. As a music fan, I’d set off from Friuli to come and see concerts at the legendary Rolling Stone nightclub.

I remember some amazing concerts there by Mano Negra, Urban Dance Squad, Primus and Lou Reed. But sometimes I’d even come to Milan just to search for some hard-to-find record. There and back in a day, over nine hours in the train!

Then, during my university years in Venice, I had a friend who was studying at Milan Polytechnic, so I often came to see him.

He lived in the Barona district, which is probably why it’s the area of Milan I’m most familiar with.

Lastly, three years ago, when Louise and I did the Spiriti project for Fondazione Prada, we lived for a while in the surrounding area, which is undergoing considerable transformation.

Nowadays I come to Milan frequently and it’s always a great pleasure.

What is your favourite historical building in the city?

Even though I don’t actually like it that much, I’ve always had a soft spot for the Monument to Sandro Pertini by Aldo Rossi.

Maybe it’s partly because the work has managed to stay there despite all the criticism it’s had to endure over the years. I’m certainly not attracted by its monumentality, but by the project’s optimistic hope to constitute an expression of collective will.

What interests me about architecture is the human dimension, and for me this shines through in the simple words used by Aldo Rossi, who was my professor in Venice, to describe the monument’s context: “A peaceful square in Lombardy, a place where people can meet, eat a sandwich or take a group photo.”

Another Milanese building that stands out in my mind is the Casa al Villaggio dei Giornalisti (or “House in the Journalists’ Village”) by Figini, not so much as a model of rationalist architecture, but on account of its extroverted, slender quality that opens up to the wind and sun.

I’ve always found the Torre Velasca and Ca’ Brutta to be fun buildings, too.

Coming out from Milano Centrale and seeing Gio Ponti’s Pirelli Tower is always a reassuring sight. It has a perfect nickname: the “Pirellone”, literally meaning “Big Pirelli”.

And lastly, there’s the Church of Santa Maria presso San Satiro by Bramante, and Milan’s absolute masterpiece, the Duomo, which always leaves me spellbound.

What do you normally do when you are in Milan?

In Milan I tread very traditional paths, but sometimes it’s fun to get a bit lost among the streets in the centre or in the Isola district.

A place I definitely like to visit is the Studio Museo Castiglioni, the extraordinary container of an entire life made of thoughts, fantasies, games and inventions.

I always pass by the Triennale, too. I’m very attached to it, since we’ve projected many of our films there.

The Pinacoteca di Brera art gallery is another great place.

But when I can, I also enjoy just getting on a random tram and seeing where it takes me.

Is there a shop in Milan where you buy special items?

I don’t generally get much pleasure from accumulating things, but I remember two shops that I’m still fond of.

One is hidden among the side streets of Corso Buenos Aires and it sells used books. I’ve often found great volumes there and met very nice people.

The other store, right in the centre, is specialised in classical and contemporary music. There you really can find the un-findable!

Perhaps I feel a bit of nostalgia for the record and book shops that are disappearing.

What is your favourite cafe, bar or restaurant in Milan?

Every evening, after a day’s filming at Fondazione Prada, we’d go with the crew to find somewhere where we could let our hair down.

I have pleasant memories of finding this sincere and timeless dimension in the Ortica and Sala Venezia dance-halls, between a dance and a toss of a bowling ball.

Then there’s the Arci Bellezza club, with its courtyard, its regulars and its film history.

And I never forget Shiro’s chirashi!

Which new buildings have transformed the face of the city?

For Milan, I think Fondazione Prada has been a very important cultural and architectural project.

There’s a great dialogue between the diverse types of spaces, but also with the works on display.

I find the Vertical Forest by Stefano Boeri fascinating. I’d like to see a macro film about all the little animals that inhabit it – snails and slugs, ants and birds. There must be an extraordinary world hidden in there.

Buildings such as these are bringing a different light to Milan, and they confirm that architecture is always at the forefront in transforming the perception of a city.

What would you transfer to Milan from another place?

Although I was born in the North with its famous banks of fog – which I absolutely adore – I’d nonetheless lend Milan a bit of Rome’s sky and light.

In exchange for a bit of Milanese energy and enthusiasm, though!



Jamie Hayon

What are the origins of your relationship with Milan?

My relationship with Milan started when I decided to study design in Madrid and probably the first thing I was thinking is that Milan is the most amazing design city on the planet.

Though the first thing I encounter when I went to Milan for the first time in my life is that there was everything except design and when I went to Milan the first time, I was so shocked about how Milan had a lot of retro design.

Now, when I went the first time to the Salone del Mobiles, I realised that design transforms the city and becomes something really special.

And little by little, through the years, I’ve understood that design it’s everywhere in Italy and in Milan especially.

So this was the conclusion at the end.

The relationship begin definitely at the beginning when I went to the Fair, discovering it as a student and then as an actor of the Fair.

I’ve always became very much attracted to this city and what this city can give you.

And right now, it’s like a gathering point to meet friends and see companies and to discuss the progression of our design world, so it’s a very interesting city to me in that way.

What is your favourite historical building in the city?

I love the Brera area and the Pinacoteca.

Obviously, the Castello Sforzesco for me has always been a quite interesting place, obviously, the Torre Velasca is fantastic, and the Pirelli building, which it’s just so beautiful where it is; I love where it is because it has the contrast with the station, which is so Mussolini-like and so monumental and so expressive that in contrast to that beautifulness the sharpness of Gio Ponti is quite fantastical.

That’s why I like it.

What do you normally do when you are in Milan?

When I go to Milan, I go for different reasons.

I go for works though, I mainly meet people, I go to showrooms, I go to Brera all the time and I have dinner there and I’m always in-between.

I’m always in the Brera area first for some reason, you know, to visit the showrooms, to visit the friends, to go to different places, I go to the Torre di Pisa sometimes to eat but mainly I just go to Brianza or go around I don’t stay so much around it, but if I’m staying a little bit longer in the city, I always try to find a new spot and try to find a nice new restaurant or ask somebody, what’s the next place I should go to.

I’m always asking people for new spots, but I would say that mainly I stay in the Brera area and always around the Garibaldi area.

­Is there a shop in Milan where you buy special items?

Along Via Solferino there’re three shops I used to go a lot: one that I used to eat a little pizza rectangles, which I really like, which is not too far from where the Boffi showroom is; one is an optician where I used to buy glasses and the latter is a shop where I used to buy jackets.

What is your favourite cafe, bar or restaurant in Milan?

I love to go to the Latteria.

We’re talking about like style Bar Basso or the Torre di Pisa, probably I like the history of those places.

I love the really establish trattorias in Milan, that’s what I like, and there is a certain type of style and simplicity in it – this is something I really am fond of.

Which new buildings have transformed of the city?

There’s a lot of new buildings up there, but I don’t think necessarily they’re making the city better.

Definitely not. I mean, I love these, this building with the balconies full of plants and stuff, I don’t know how you call them in Italy but, but I like those a lot, I think that’s a very interesting type of architecture that is up there, less what’s going on there with the big towers and everything around the area where Corso Como is, I’m not so fan of that, to be honest.

It’s quite interesting to see a progression but I think Milan is interesting because of its old historical centre and the variety of families and people doing beautiful things, you know, I think that’s the most positive thing to me in general.

What would you transfer to Milan from another place?

I think Milan needs to be more structured in terms of transportation and be easier to cycle around and not giving so much to the cars.

I think it should be more ready when there’s events in it because it’s like a hell to get an hotel or it’s over-expensive when you get an hotel in, during the times when there is the Fairs.

I would centralise more flights to Milan than all of them to Rome if I was the government, I would do that. And I think Milan should show within its structures, which are belonging to the government, how important design is.

So, for example, refurbishing some of the stations, making better the train system and things like that would be much more nice, you know, for the city of Milan, you know, this is something I think really relevant to the city, it’s not only about like families, but it’s like the government should be design-oriented.

This is what I would say that it’s missing: when you go to Singapore, the airport, the trains, the infrastructures are all meant to be quite spectacular, and to show the progression of the modernity. So, this is what I would feel.



Ramek Fazal

What are the origins of your relationship with Milan?

In April of 1994 I decided to leave New York and visit Milano. I had a small portfolio of photographs and a knapsack containing the essentials.

Arriving at Stazione Centrale I was enthusiastic and ready for an adventure.

A one-star hotel close to the train station served as my “general headquarters” for a few months.

What is your favourite historical building in the city?

Terminal 1 at Malpensa doesn’t enjoy monumental status, at least not yet. As a global hub, it’s maligned. We’re constantly told it doesn’t meet international standards. My appreciation of what Malpensa Airport represents has developed over time.; It’s grown on me. Rather than any formal design or ergonomic qualities, I enjoy the airport as a gauge.

The zeitgeist of the Milan, is forecast through the advertising, the fashion trends and euro/dollar exchange rate which dominates to some extent the discourse around commerce and consumption.

The arrival and departure experience at MXP are distinctively different.

Upon arrival, you spend time with the passengers you first saw at your departure point and with whom you shared the transcontinental flight experience. I

’m always surprised by the layers added (and subtracted) from the original interiors by Sottsass Associati. The interiors have always been a reference point.

The departure requires passengers to negotiate a gauntlet of luxury consumption before arriving at the departure gates.

On this trip I noticed billboards for “Billionaire Fashion” brands.

The arrival and departure to and from MXP are the brackets of my trip.

What do you normally do when you are in Milan?

I enjoy overhearing brief conversational exchanges.

They animate my time in Milano. Through these pleasantries, layers of social cohesion reveal a warm Italian national character.

Living in the desert of Southern California, I miss the boisterous.

Is there a shop in Milan where you buy special items?

Here we turn towards consumption.

Of course there are plenty of things one can only find in Milano, but I’m learning to “buy” less and more importantly “make to do” with what’s at arms reach.

When I return home to Claremont, I usually bring home 5 pairs of reasonable blue under the knee socks I can only find at Esselunga.

What is your favourite cafe, bar or restaurant in Milan?

Poste Italiane at Malpensa. The clerks are willing to patiently share the latest Italian philatelic offerings

Which new buildings have transformed the face of the city?

The large edifices peering between buildings, dodging in and out of perspective call to mind Godzilla’s mythic tail.

What would you transfer to Milan from another place?

Milano is like a irascible child, it’s perfect as it is. The defects and idiosyncrasies are part of its charm.

I hope Milano continues resisting the transformative changes that tend to normalize our cities towards a increasingly common baseline.



About Domus

Nicola Di Battista and Ronan Bouroullec browsing Domus 1012

Domus: since 1928, the most authoritative voice in architecture, art and design

As an international review of architecture, interiors, art and design, Domus has been describing, promoting and previewing architectural and artistic movements for 89 years. It is where creative expression is meticulously monitored, explored, probed and divulged.

The monthly was founded in 1928 by the architect GioPonti, joined in 1929 by the publisher Gianni Mazzocchi. Together they established the Editoriale Domus publishing house specifically for Domus magazine.

In the era afterGio Ponti, since 1979, Domus has been led by Alessandro Mendini, Mario Bellini, Vittorio Magnago Lampugnani, François Burkhardt, DeyanSudjic, Stefano Boeri, Flavio Albanese, Joseph Grimaand the current editor-in-chief, Nicola Di Battista.

From a one-man magazine, Domus developed into a contributors-based publication, continuously working with prestigious opinion leaders at the helm of its editorial office in a deliberate aim to guarantee constant freshness in its approach to contemporaneity.

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