by Secondome

Sometimes you have to stop in order to move forward. Make a quick recap, a summary of what’s already been done and restart, with a clearer mind and new objectives. Milan has been living its greatest time for a few years. Design gave to the city an injection of self-esteem and a stage that every day sends out the images of a growing, buzzing creativity all over the world. But to keep moving fast, you need to be aware of your origins, of who you were before. In a word, retrace your own history and your own DNA. And this is the effort put out by a beautiful, thick book: the title is The design city – Milan city lab, curated by Anna Mainoli and Marco Sammicheli, edited by Forma edizioni in collaboration with Salone del Mobile.

The book reviews the Milan of design, in the past and in the present. A section is dedicated to the study of the past, to the fathers and mothers of the noble art that determined the success of the city in the world, another section is about their heirs, the following generations still at work who redesigned the world after the old masters planned it. A needed book, almost an atlas, with two hundred and fifty pictures and about eighty portraits, a long time ago it would have been called a baedeker, that displays on its pages the reasons why this city is both a creative hub and a design laboratory, through the pictures of the studies of the Castiglioni brothers, Vico Magistretti, Giulio Iacchetti and many foreign designers, such as Nendo, who are always very active in the city. A city that, as shown by this tour of designers’ studies, has already become polycentric, as its Design Week that keeps growing every year, reaching and gaining new areas and new districts. A city that, to use the words of one of the book’s curators, Marco Sammicheli, promotes new actions true to the cause of quality, coexistence, occasion and public good.

“The knowledge heritage that Milan has been able to preserve and develop is passed on and becomes incubator for future creativity”, writes the Salone del Mobile president Claudio Luti in the introduction, while Stefano Boeri, the Triennale president, speaks about a unique city, “a small yet very intense metropolis, with the desire for new spaces and the technical ability to innovate both in the field of materials and fabrics, together with the amazing propension to take creative risks that Milan narrates, also and foremost in the area of the intense personal relationships that connect everyone in it.”