It’s that time of the year again! Crazy deadlines and a wonderful sense that the city is full of life in April. Yes…it’s that time of the year when the famous Salone del Mobile in Milan takes place and the horde of design obsessed fanatics gather in the city to party, see the latest trends and network.
For those who have never visited during this period let me do a nice rundown of what occurs followed with some tips and also some highlight events that you should check out if you are in town.
Ever since I moved to Milan (wayback in 1992) this Event typically takes place during the first or second week in April staying far way from the Easter Holiday which is on the third week of April so as not to lose visitors.
We recommend the following as a base to start with
Locations not to be missed:
the Botanical Garden
the Brera Academy
Brera Design District
– via Palermo 1, Brera Design Apartment (3rd floor) this year will be set up by Cristina Celestino. Planetarium is his project inspired by space and the underwater world, which will reinterpret the carpet as a contemporary material in a setting with luminous sculptures.
– via Palermo 1, The Socialite Family, a “Parisian” apartment in Milan.
– via Palermo 1, the gallery-home that will host a new exhibition and Le Botteghe su Gologone, a collection that combines contemporary design with the traditions of the Sardinian Barbagia.
– via Palermo 5, Marimekko (P5Apartment).
– via Palermo 16, Maisons du Monde.
– via Solferino 11, Dimore Studio, Boffi and Paola C, the invitation is to get lost in temporary locations and showrooms.
– via Moscova 28, Moooi in the beautiful location of the Santa Teresa Media Library.
– via Lovani 6, Artek.
– via Goito 7, HEAD, Haute école d’art et de design de Genève.
– corso Garibaldi 116, DcomeDesign Reloaded (Humanistic Library of Santa Maria Incoronata).
– corso Garibaldi 117, Hem.
– via Ciovasso 17, MT Masking Tape.
– Largo Treves 5, Memphis.
The 2019 edition of the 5vie district is dedicated to the work of Ugo La Pietra.
– via Cesare Correnti 14, Territorial Design, Genius Loci. Discovering the traditional Italian know-how that meets design.
– via Meravigli 7, Masterly – The Dutch in Milan (Palazzo Turati).
– Corso Magenta 24, The Litta Variations.
– via Santa Marta 15, ceramic Paravicini.
– via Santa Marta 18, Human Code by Roberto Sironi, a reflection on human development and 300,000 years of evolution.
– via Bandello 14, Rossana Orlandi, a reflection on human development and 300,000 years of evolution.
Duomo / San Babila
– via Gesù 5, Palazzo delle Meraviglie, Bagatti Valsecchi Museum.
– via Manzoni 5, The Manzoni-Tom Dixon, Restaurant and showroom.
– via Morigi 9, Botanical Reflection, Palazzo Belgioioso.
– via Pietro Mascagni 8, Interstellar, Dimorestudio.
– corso Monforte 35, COS Palazzo Isimbardi, with a 3D printed installation by the French architect Arthur Mamou Mani.
– Palazzo Reale, The Art Side of Kartell, to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the company.
– via Festa del Perdono 7, Interni Human Spaces, State University of Milan. In particular we point out the tribute signed by Piuarch studio to the Forest of Violins, the centenary forest in Val di Fiemme swept away by bad weather last fall. Two large spruce logs will emerge suspended from the loggia of the University’s Courtyard.
– via Ferrante Aporti 27, 17 installations in maxi format. There will be a strong Japanese presence, Maarten Baas with a special project, Freitag, Rapt Studio with the interactive installation Tell me more …
– Royal Room of the Central Station, Pleasure & Treasure, Austrian design.
– via San Gregorio 29, Wallpaper * Handmade, Isko, Denim Sound Texture.
– via Bergognone 34, Ventura Future, Bagatti Valsecchi Museum.
– via Tortona 32, IKEA-Lexus, Torneria where the new speaker collection will be launched with a light and sound installation.
– Superstudio Più, Superdesign Show-Innovation & Tradition, Normann Copenhagen, Lexus, LG Electronics, Japan Loves Superstudio, Korea Craft & Design Foundation, Materials Village.
– Opificio 31, Paola Navone studio, Belgium is Design, Hyundai (in collaboration with the Monocle magazine), Peugeot Design Lab, Citroën …
– via Tortona 35, Outspoken Design Language.
– via Savona 56 / A, Sony Affinity in Autonomy.
– via Savona 35, Norwegian Presence.
– via Vigevano 18, Nendo.
Palazzo Bovara Palazzo Bocconi
– via Vivaio 7, Wonderglass, Nendo, Institute for the Blind.
Island Design District
– via Gaetano de Castillia 26, La Stecca 3.0, the first bar entirely printed in 3D and other events.
– via Genova Thaon by Revel 21, Japanese design and art installations (Fonderia Napoleonica Eugenia).
– via Pastrengo 14, Milan Design Market, Milan Icons with the miniatures of Milan’s most iconic buildings by the artist Ornella Corradini.
– Via Pastrengo 7, Different Bodies, Royal Academy of Fine Arts Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation (KADK).
– via Confalonieri 11, The arctic and sustainable living, Academy of Art and Design of the University of Lapland.
– via Procaccini 4, Unduetrestella, Kids.
XXII Triennale dedicated to sustainability and the relationship between man and the environment.
Being a passionate fan of the old Fiat 500 car (it is my dream to buy one of these relatively soon!) while doing some research regarding the cost and repair tips for these antique classic cars I stumbled upon a young 23 year old self-taught femail mechanic called Giovanna who was recently featured on La Repubblica online edition of the famous Italian Newspaper.
Wow! What a treat to see such a young architect decide to learn on her own how to repair and restore these models from scratch!
Here (in Italian) are some of her videos explaining the genesis of her training
La Repubblica featured article video:
Nana’s Garage promo
Giovanna explains how to restore a Fiat 500 engine
To close out here is where you can find some more information regarding this talented young entrepreneur.
Instagram account: Nana’s Garage
Facebook account: Nana’s Garage
Its official! This June we are going to attend one of the most coolest conference events!
Traverse is back for 2019 and heading to the stunningly beautiful Trentino, Italy!
We will be joining bloggers, YouTubers, Instagrammers, influencers and digital content creators from around the world for a series of talks, workshops, masterclasses, panels, one on ones and more in Italy. Midweek events will be taking place in the days leading up to the conference, with the whole event open to influencers from all backgrounds and abilities.
For the first time at Traverse, post event adventures will take places following the conference, giving attendees the chance to spend more time in this stunning region.
The great thing is that we will be joining our dear friend Chef Dennis K. Littley (https://www.askchefdennis.com/) and his wonderful wife Lisa! We can’t wait!
Roughly 13 years ago we had the fortune of coming across a small abandon country house up in the town of Ca Bazzari (Bazzari) which is our paradise for relaxation when the city of Milan gets to be a bit too much. A small old three-story barn with a patio and no landscaping to deal with but which offers wonderful views of the Val Tidone valley which is considered quite close to the Tuscan hills in beauty and nature (with less tourist!)
Right behind our house is a vast wood area which is covered with Chestnut trees (that tend to arrive in October) that provide fertile ground for the growth of Mushrooms (especially of the Porcini variety). We constantly stumbled upon our neighbor’s descriptions of how many Mushrooms they had found in the past years but in our constant walks in the woods the constantly ran into mushrooms that when we brought them into town they were the joke of the town and suggested to use as poisonous solution to get rid of the spouse. Betti obviously did not appreciate.
This weekend she decided to put a stop to that and dragged me into the woods in search of the always elusive Porcini mushroom. I suggested we try to go as far up and away from the main paths as possible and with Betti guiding the way we stumbled upon a whole field of diverse mushroom from which immediately Betti saw these orange colored variety called Ovuli which are way more rare than the Porcini mushrooms and hard to find.
Upon re-entry from the woods, we brought our bag of mushrooms which obviously contained the typical set of poisonous-looking Porcini but included in the pack we had these two gems
This time Ms. Fernanda and the local mushroom experts dropped their jaws and told us that they are the hardest to find since they are considered a delicacy which gathers a price of 50 euro per kilo!
Betti immediately got on the phone with her Mom to inquire on how to cook them and the final conclusion was just to brush off the dirt, slice them thin and pour a touch of olive oil and lemon drops over them and to dispense of them raw. A true delicate taste and a great way to put a highlight on the weekend.
Who has not dreamed of a traveling cottage able to protect us like a snail shell snail from the elements and able to take us to the most exotic and faraway places, maybe without a circulation permit, car insurance or monthly car payments?
From June 30th to September 9th at the Tadini Academy in Lovere is open the exhibition entitled “Lo squardo del viaggiatore”, which narrates the journeys and the work of Giorgio Oprandi: the artist who introduced colonial Africa to the Italians but perhaps the most interesting thing on show in the exhibition is the car that accompanied him on all his travels.
Oprandi was a painter and an explorer born in Lovere who was the precursor of those artists that, at the beginning of the ‘900, painted landscapes and inhabitants of the Italian overseas possessions.
He was a solitary traveler who toured between deserts, cities, and colonies of Africa with his Fiat 503 equipped with a 16-horsepower petrol engine, that was modified to be equipped with a kitchen and a room, containing all the tools of the craft colors, brushes and canvases.
It is almost impossible to follow the traces of his uneasy wanderings: only the titles of the paintings and sketches give us the geographical coordinates of the artist’s nomadism.
After more than twenty years of traveling between Africa, Albania, and Italy, in the fifties, the historic vehicle was replaced with a second prototype: a Fiat “Giardinetta” equipped with a special framework on which, once the hood has been lowered, a tent could be mounted.
A careful restoration of the first original car welcomes visitors to the exhibition: browsing inside the cockpit you can try to imagine the spirit of adventure and freedom of this artist and his romantic existence.
But in a future date, we will come back to this town overlooking Lake Iseo because it still has many stories to tell.
This Sunday we had the wonderful pleasure of receiving an invitation from our dear friend (as well as talented designer link link here Anders Lunderskvo and his lovely wife Michela Solari (her showroom in Milan is here) to attend one of the editions of Piano City which was set up in the courtyard where Andres has his Laboratory.
Piano City Milano is based on the concept of Piano City Berlin and it finds itself at a fourth edition bigger and better than ever. In fact this year long lines to get into the main events kept us away but an invitation for such an intimate courtyard option was perfect for a beautiful Sunday morning.
Here is a short video snippet that gives an idea of the talented pianist (Julia Barriero and Lorenzo Cattel) who graced us with the wonderful sounds of Schumman, Chopin, Bizet, Honegger and Debussy.
More info regarding this specific concert at this link: Piano City Milano
As some of you might know we are approaching the date for Italy to hold its general Elections. It be more precise it is exactly on March 4th which is roughly less than two weeks away and already we are getting bombarded with the final sprint by all the main parties which are involved in this current version of an attempt at bringing some sense to who will govern this country.
At this current moment from what I can gather the choices are divided between these three guys present in the image below (yes! Thats Berlusconi back in action just like in the old days…mamma mia!)
Let’s start from left to right:
On the left we have Luigi Di Maio of the Five Star Movement party which is represents a populist surge derived from a coalition between a famous Italian comedian Beppe Grillo (who is quite funny in my personal opinion and his close friend who recently passed away Gianroberto Casaleggio, a web strategist. They seem to be favourite in recent polls and recently in the news due to some internal party money issues that are still being investigated.
Than in the middle with have the recently departed Prime Minister Matteo Renzi of the Partito Democratico party, close friend of Barak Obama, who resigned last year after a referendum and gave way to the current techical team governing the country. Who is not doing great in the polls due to internal diatribes inside his own party and I have serious doubts he will be able to have good numbers since folks seem to be a bit fed up with him.
Than last but not least we have Silvio Berlusconi who even if elected he has a ban from the EU to be able to govern so he as linked up with the North League resentative Matteo Salvini along with ex-Alleanza Nazional candidate Giorgia Meloni. These folks are representing a so called Central Right movement but the candidates that Berlusconi has lined up with in my book come across as racist and self-interested of their goals.They are looking very good in the polls and this to me reflects a bit of has been a common trend in Italy of conservatism.
So we shall see in the next couple of weeks what will occur. Betti still is undecided who to cast here vote for and in my case I do not vote in Italy since I am a US Citizen and so not eligible to cast a say in this very confusing and sad campaign.
Blog Post Update!
The Central Right coalition had the most percentage of votes along with the populist Five Star Movement while the Democratic Party took a licking! All in all, what does this mean for Italy? Only time will tell. Right now everyone is playing poker till the Italian President Sergio Mattarella calls all involved on daily basis to try to get them to talk to each other and try to come out with a semblance of a coherent government. If this is no possible than we will probably end up with the current governmental members headed by Gentiloni and another go at making an Electoral Law that does not permit these sort of results.
To add to the whole picture the visit of Steve Bannon in Italy (NY Times article here) last week indicating that it is time for the populist movements to raise their head against the EU and pull out! A total mess!
As some of you might know after moving to Italy back in 1992 and having left the sunny shores of South Beach, my first set of interviews looking for a job as in Architect in Italy (with vast Cad Management experience) was sort of touch and go.
All the studios I initially contacted on my arrival in Milan loved my portfolio but back then they were just starting to embrace CAD and offered measly salary offers as opposed to what I was earning back in the US.
After a foray of interviews, I went into a slump and was a bit depressed to the point that my wife considered moving back to Miami (my old position was always open since my boss at the time had mentioned that if I encountered any problems in my new country that I was welcome back).
But out of the blue, my wife’s sister calls me up and says that a friend of hers architectural studio in Genoa (about 2 hours away from Milan) was precisely looking for a person with my qualifications.
So I rush down to Genoa and have the interview with my future boss that went much better than expected (considering that it is an architectural studio that designs Cruise Ships – something totally different than the type of projects I worked on in Miami back in the day).
I have to say that after 24 years working at this studio the level of projects and the working environment are superb! And along the road after embarking on projects for companies such as Princess Cruises, Cunard, and Silversea we arrive at the first of a series of vessels for the new company founded by Sir Richard Branson. Last week we had the pleasure of being his guest at the Steel Kneel ceremony (Steel kneel relates to placing the first steel component of the ship and officially starts the construction process) at the Sestri Levante Shipyard.
The party was amazing as you can see if the short video clips below. Boy George was the DJ (Culture Club was one of the first groups on the Virgin Records roster). I also had the pleasure of having a short chat with Richard at the after party in which we spoke about the vessel.
So in a nutshell….I tend to imagine what would have happened if I had not encountered my current boss and moved back to Miami back in 1992?
Life and its mysterious routes…. Viva Italia!
Here is an additional link regarding the new ship currently under construction.
Virgin Voyages sites
Having moved to Italy back in 1992 I did not grasp or understand the mentality and philosophy that Italians have regarding the sacred concept of “ferie” or vacation.Living in Miami before coming here and working in one of the cities biggest architectural firm where vacation time was handed out with an eye drop approach.
At that time back in Miami I could only take a maximum of 7 days off in one year and even have worked with the firm for 12 years the maximum that I could accumulate was 10 days off but it was a major hassle to be able to use the allotted time when you wanted.
Here in Italy, it is a totally different story. In Milan, everybody works hard but when that heat wave starts arriving in mid-July, the nerves start rising parallel to the heat, and folks start talking about vacation locations and the fact that finally, August is here!
The month of August is the clue month in which most companies take off and shut their doors for approximately 3 weeks. In the last 5 years some companies rotate the time frames and do combination vacation shifts but it will be close to impossible to contact anyone for work related stuff in the two middle weeks of that month.
As I write this, I have just started mine and as I wait for Betti to arrive from the country and we start packing our bags to head off to Lisbon this Tuesday, the quiet sounds of an empty Milan are a gift to my ears. Even if the temperature is in the low 90s I still love this time of the year when we can recharge and get ready for the second half of the year.
Enjoy the Summer and baci from Casa Chiesi!
Above photo: @toscaradigonda
For the last couple of week, I have been playing with the new version of Anchor FM (2.0 to be precise) which is an App for both IOS and Android that lets you become an audio broadcaster in a very simple and fun way. I had been debating for the last couple of months the need or willingness to set up some sort of Podcast related to our love for Italy.
I am really loving the simplicity and fun factor in using this new tool but the jury is still out on if we should do a Podcast and more precisely: what subject matter?
This is going back and forth between myself and Betti for the last couple of weeks and since we are now heading to our MUCH needed Holiday break (It’s our 25th Wedding Anniversary this August 15th) the jury is still out.
In the meantime, we invite you to subscribe to our Anchor station and check out myself talking about a diverse subject matter related to what else? Italy of course!
Listen to our latest episode of Casa Chiesi on Anchor by clicking on: Casa Chiesi on Anchor