Milan is an important centre for design, but only recently are we seeing some significant new buildings appearing. What is the relationship between the old and the new, and how is design helping to reshape the city? We spoke to Silvio De Ponte of De Ponte Studio Architects, an office working on city design, street furnishings, tower buildings, interiors of residential buildings, offices, hotels, spas and wellness centres, in addition to the design of industrial products and communications.
LUXOS: What is the relationship between new buildings and the pre-existing architecture in Milan?
Silvio De Ponte: Like many Italian cities, Milan is based on existing historical architecture. In the 1950s and ‘60s, a lot of new building was done in the suburbs, and often this was at disastrously low quality that did nothing to improve the sociological situation. More recently, some interesting new architecture is appearing within the city, with some examples of very high quality such as Porta Nuova, which is the most interesting construction project in Milan, perhaps in Italy and the whole of Europe. Porta Nuova links areas that were previously unconnected, such as Corso Como and the Isola district, and this is one of the positive features of Cesar Pelli’s masterplan for the area.
You have chosen the Porta Nuova district for your Fuorisalone event. Could you tell us something more about this?
Fuorisalone 2015 - INVOLUCRI
The choice of Porta Nuova is a challenge for two reasons. First, because Porta Nuova is new on the design circuit. Secondly, because we will be exhibiting in a showroom in Via Marco Polo, in an interesting space that includes design objects within a series of interiors, with which we will have to interact. Our project’s name, Connections, reflects the importance of links in society. As regards the event itself, for us, Fuorisalone offers the opportunity to reflect on the state of design today. We explore experiential marketing, privileging visual, audio, tactile and olfactory sensations. At our events, we invite the public to touch and feel!
What would you recommend to visitors coming to Milan for Design Week as worth seeing?
Porta Nuova - flickr.com/KentWang
First of all, Porta Nuova is an unmissable sight. Other interesting events include Material Village at SuperStudio, which offers a panorama of the most innovative materials in architecture and design; Vittorio Castelli’s project at Palazzo Litta is also well worth seeing. Other locations that I would recommend are the Triennale, Museo del Novecento, Fondazione Prada, and the new MUDEC museum.