Category:

Architecture

La Ville-Lumière (La Defense)

Paris (France). Paris is often referred as “La Ville Lumière” (the “City of Light”) for its key role during the Age of Enlightenment. But to me Paris is also the city of sunsets: a different way to interpretate the word “Lumière”…

I love – when I’m in Paris and I have time – to climb up to the terrace at the Arc de Triomphe, watching the skyline of La Dèfense from there. When I can even choose the time of my visit, I prefer of course the sunset (I love the Parisian summer sunsets, when the sun goes down very late) and I remain hypnotised and mesmerised by the landscape. Sometimes the sky gets coloured with a lovely warm orange tone, which creates a very nice contrast with the tall buildings at the end of the Avenue de la Grande Armée and Avenue Charles de Gaulle. Despite the long distance (more or less 4 or 5 kilometres in line) the majesty of the buildings make this complex look like it is much closer to the downtown.

And turning back of 180 degrees, there’s the rest of Paris with its low houses and regular roofs: another nice contrast that makes the terrace of the Arc de Triomphe a “must-dos” in Paris.

0 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest
Garibaldi Station (Back to Milan)

Milan (Italy). Here we are… holidays are over (you will see some photos taken during my summer vacations here soon, don’t worry!) and I’m back to Milan.

Maybe you noticed a low activity on my blog during the last three weeks: only three posts… it’s a shame! I will do my best to remedy 🙂 For the time being, let’s warm up with a new – albeit taken some weeks ago, in July – photo of Milan. It’s the new skyline with the Porta Garibaldi train station, taken from the bridge of Via Farini at sunset. Here, you can see some of the newest architectures characterizing Milan: from the “Bosco Verticale” to the “Unicredit Tower” and the new “Lombardy Tower”. If you are interested to know something more about the new skyline of Milan, you can read this post here.

So, nice to see you here again! It will be a very intense year, with many new posts to be shared!

0 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest
La Farmacia Di San Marco a Firenze (Walking Along Via Cavour in Florence)

Florence (Italy). I wonder how many Florentine (not to mention tourists) walking along Via Cavour before arriving to Piazza San Marco, have ever noticed this beautiful – and sadly abandoned – Pharmacy’s shop window. Yet, this is a piece of Florence history, although its conditions seem not supporting this fact.

I’m talking about the “Farmacia di San Marco” (translated in English – sorry – Saint Mark Pharmacy), which is twin with the more famous (and today pretty fashionable) “Officina Profumo Farmacia di Santa Maria NovellaI” (I will do my best to post a photo of this place’s interior soon); both of them were established by the order of the Dominican Monks, but the Farmacia di San Marco was founded by Father Antonino, a very important personality for Florentines, and who later became the city’s archbishop and – then – Saint. Initially, the Farmacia di San Marco operated only for the monastic complex (which was rebuilt by Cosimo de’ Medici in 1437) but in 1450 was open to everyone with the sale of “legendary” products such as the “Alchermes” (a liquor made with ethyl alcohol, sugar, water, cinnamon, cochineal, cloves, cardamom and rose water) and the “anti-hysterical” water, prepared with aromatic plants like balsamita, mint and cinnamon from Ceylon, and characterized by beneficial and refreshing properties.

In the years after, the range of products was extended with the introduction of liqueurs such as the “Stomatico” and the “Dominican“, as well as infusions, products based on elastin, and with the Scots Pine syrup; in the 1700 a new product made with rose water (with authentic roses from Bulgaria) and praised by Dominicans themselves as an anti-wrinkle product was launched and became very well-known.

The portal photographed here still shows the names of some of these abovementioned products, with the writings blacken by time and smog. The Farmacia is now closed, and the entire activity has been moved to the suburbs of Florence; but it would be nice if it could return to its ancient splendor, and with it this shop window in Via Cavour too – as it happened to the Officina Profumo-Farmacia di Santa Maria Novella.


Firenze. Mi domando quanti Fiorentini (per non parlare dei turisti) passando per via Cavour prima di arrivare in Piazza San Marco, abbiano mai notato questa bellissima – e purtroppo abbandonata – vetrina di farmacia. Eppure questo è un pezzo importante di storia di Firenze, anche se lo stato in cui versa non le rende giustizia e anzi, mi sembra decisamente irrispettoso.

Si tratta della Farmacia di San Marco, gemella della celebre (e anche un po’ mondana) Farmacia di Santa Maria Novella; entrambe infatti sono state istituite dall’ordine dei frati domenicani, ma la Farmacia di San Marco è stata fondata da frate Antonino, personaggio molto caro ai Fiorentini, che successivamente diventò vescovo di Firenze e infine Santo. Inizialmente la Farmacia di San Marco funzionava per il solo complesso monastico (ricostruito da Cosimo de’ Medici intorno al 1437) e nel 1450 fu aperta al pubblico con la vendita di prodotti “storici” tra cui l’alchermes (un liquore a base di alcol etilico, zucchero, acqua, cannella, cocciniglia, chiodi di garofano, cardamomo e acqua di rose) e l’acqua detta “antisterica” a base di piante aromatiche (balsamita, la menta e la cannella di Ceylon) e dalle proprietà benefiche e rinfrescanti.

Negli anni successivi la gamma di prodotti si allargò con l’elisir stomatico, il liquore domenicano, la tisana, l’elastina e lo sciroppo di pino silvestre, mentre nel 1700 fu presentato un prodotto a base di acqua di rose, fatta con rose di Bulgaria e di cui gli stessi Padri Domenicani citavano le capacità nel contrastare la formazione delle rughe.

Il portale rappresentato nella foto riporta ancora i nomi di alcuni di questi prodotti, con le scritte annerite dal tempo e dallo smog. La Farmacia è tristemente chiusa ed è stata trasferita in periferia, ma sarebbe bello che potesse tornare all’antico splendore – e con essa anche questa vetrina di Via Cavour – così come successo alla Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella.

0 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest
Glimpse of Udine Before Climbing Up to the Castle (Loggia del Lionello)

Udine (Italy). Giovanni Boccaccio mentions Udine and the Friuli region in the 10th Day’s “Fifth Novel” of his most famous masterpiece Decameron written in 1350.

“In Friuli, a country, though cold, glad with goodly mountains and store of rivers and clear springs, is a city called Udine…”

The feelings I have when I walk around Udine are those of a very pleasant city with high life quality, characterized by a typical medieval urban tissue perfectly integrated with stylish shops, cozy cafes and beautiful bookstores.

I love so much visiting Udine and photographing its glimpses. This one in the image is the colonnade along the steep way to the Castle, captured some days ago at sunset.


Udine. Giovanni Boccaccio menziona Udine e il Friuli nella “Novella Quinta” della decima giornata del suo celebre Decameron, scritto intorno al 1350:

“In Frioli, paese, quantunque freddo, lieto di belle montagne, di più fiumi e di chiare fontane, è una terra chiamata Udine…”

Le sensazioni che si hanno passeggiando per Udine sono quelle di una cittadina assai piacevole con una alta qualità della vita, caratterizzata da un’impronta urbanistica tipicamente medievale che si concilia perfettamente con negozi eleganti, caffè ospitali e belle librerie.

Mi piace molto visitare Udine e fotografarne alcuni suoi scorci. Questo nella foto è il colonnato che accompagna la ripida salita al Castello, in uno scatto fatto giorni fa al tramonto.

0 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest
Trieste in Chiaroscuro (Palazzo del Governo)

Trieste (Italy). I love photographing when the sun goes down and paints the buildings facades with a warm tonality, creating at the same time long dark shadows. I have even created a tag to describe this special situation of contrasts – naming it “chiaroscuro”.

Some days ago I was walking around Piazza Unità d’Italia in Trieste, undoubtedly one of the most beautiful squares in Italy, and the sunset was partially painting the elegant facade of the “Palazzo del Governo” (Government Building), which today hosts the Province and the Prefecture. Is there any better situation to enrich my gallery of chiaroscuro photos?


Trieste. Mi piace fotografare quando il sole scende e colora con una tonalità calda le facciate dei palazzi, creando al tempo stesso lunghe ombre scure. Ho anche creato un tag – l’ho chiamato appunto “chiaroscuro” – per descrivere questa speciale situazione di contrasti.

Alcuni giorni fa ero in Piazza Unità d’Italia a Trieste, senza dubbio una delle piazze più belle d’Italia, e il tramonto colorava una parte della facciata dell’elegante Palazzo del Governo, sede della Provincia e della Prefettura. Quale miglior occasione per arricchire la mia galleria di foto in chiaroscuro?

0 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest
France Pavilion at Expo Milano 2015

Milan (Italy). I finally had the opportunity of visiting Expo Milano 2015, the Universal Exhibition hosted in Milan from May 1 to October 31, 2015.

Unfortunately, as expected, the queues were too long and it was impossible to visit more than five or six pavilions in a day. The waiting time to see Brasil, Japan or Italy was more than three hours, and I found it very frustrating.

Therefore, I decided to take some photos: I brought my Leica with me and it was a nice exercise. Some pavilions (Russia and Germany, for example) have a terrace which offers a decent view over the exposition area.

Here are some samples: all my photos of Expo are tagged with “Expo Milan 2015” and can be seen clicking here.

The image here has been taken inside the France pavilion (one of the few ones I could see) and shows one of the Country’s characteristics: its wide production of seeds and agricultural products.

0 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest
Fuorisalone 2016 (Milan Design Week) – One of the 50 Manga Chairs by Oky Sando at San Simpliciano

Milan (Italy). In these days, Milan seems “the place to be” – and not only for architecture lovers, trendy designers and unmissable hipsters. For sure, like every year around this period, the city attracts an incredible amount of people coming here to discover the latest tendencies in the sectors of furniture, lighting, decoration and home appliances.

I cannot miss the opportunity of keeping my eye (and my camera) on this interesting world of course, and I like to share what I’m seeing here in my photoblog (isn’t it its purposes?). What’s really impressive, for those people living here all the year, is assisting to a true and deep change in the city’s spirit: let me try to better express myself. Although I consider Milan as probably the most living, enjoyable, innovative and “sparkling” city in Italy (for sure, one of the best life quality), during the so called “design week” the “routine” goes through an authentic transformation, which means pulling out a completely new soul made not only of parties, events, vernissage, opening ceremonies and installations (these things are pretty normal – let me say) but made of a sense of general “discovery”. Yes, during the Fuorisalone’s week, Milan’s people (re)discover their city made of hidden courtyards, beautiful buildings (some of them exceptionally open to public), street decorations and so on. In other words, it looks like a sort of “inspirational wave” floods the city’s districts (not only the fashionable Brera or 5 Vie, but also Lambrate, Tortona etc.) to demonstrate that the urban environment can react to the daily routine, and transform the ordinary into something of extraordinary.

Of course there are critics: why it can’t be all the year? Why the next week – once the design events will be over – Milan will return to hide its beauty? I’m not in a position to answer; but as long as I see that this creative magma is still boiling under the city’s asphalt, the enthusiasm’s eruption of the design week is very, very welcome!

The photograph posted here shows the wonderful exhibition of “50 Manga Chairs” by the Japanese – Canadian designer Oky Sato, included in 2006 (when he was only 29 years old) in “The 100 Most Respected Japanese” ranking prepared by Newsweek magazine, winner of innumerable awards and with a long list of collections exposed at the most prestigious museums all around the world (from the MoMA of New York to the Victoria and Albert Museum of London; from the Centre Pompidou of Paris to the Triennale Design Museum of Milan). I loved the concept of this exhibition, which – by the way – is hosted in what I think is one of the most beautiful and prestigious locations of the entire “Fuorisalone 2016”, the cloister at San Simpliciano church, in the heart of Brera district (and for those visiting it, do not miss a walk in this wonderful and old church).

The exhibition includes 50 chairs, each one based on typical Manga comics’ abstract lines and shapes: the idea is perfectly displayed in a video at the end of the exhibition, and I think visitors should start from it to better understand the concept of Oky Sato’s work. Each chair is made of stainless steel, and all of them have the same basic frame (legs and seatback): what it changes and makes each piece something of unique is the “decoration”, representative of an emulation of the movement – as it is described in a manga comic. If the observer remains concentrated on a single chair per time analyzing its decoration, at the end she will perceive – with the chair itself – the emotion given by the represented movement. The result is a collection of 50 objects conceptually very static (such as chairs can be) but emotionally incredibly dynamic. A great contrast – the one between statics and dynamism – that only a great designer, such as Oky Sato, can represent in this masterful way.

0 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest
San Simpliciano, NODUS Breaking Boundaries | Fuorisalone @ Milano Design Week 2017

Milan (Italy). Here we are again: one year has passed, and Milan is again the place to be for architects, interior designers, bloggers, design lovers and simple curious – like me. Well, this year I’m a bit beyond the pure curiosity, since I’m completing the renovation of my apartment and I feel myself much more involved than the past year. But this is a personal stuff, and I guess it won’t interest anyone.

The Fuorisalone is the “unplugged” face of the Milan Design Week (the official name is “Salone Internazionale del Mobile”), and it’s a set of events taking places in different parts of Milan, including some prestigious and hidden locations. The list counts almost 1,500 events, scattered all around Milan downtown: Brera, Isola, Università Statale, 5 Vie, Lambrate and Tortona are the most popular and dense of events locations, but more or less every part of the city has something to offer.

Under the tag Fuorisalone 2017 I’m posting my personal way to watch, visit and photograph the many exhibitions, installations, events and any other thing that can be considered as “design”. If you don’t have enough, you can give a look to past editions’ events here (2016) and here (2015).

The cloister at San Simpliciano church is one of the “Must” of every Fuorisalone: the location itself is fantastic, and the contrast given by the contemporary design of Nodus rugs versus the old traditional cloister’s architecture is perfect. Furthermore, this is a corner of quietness (at least, it was so today) from the mad crowd of Brera Design District, one of the main zone where to find events, expositions and installations.


Milano. Eccoci di nuovo: un anno è passato, e Milano è nuovamente il posto giusto per architetti, disegnatori di interni, blogger, amanti del design e semplici curiosi – come me. A dire il vero, quest’anno sono un po’ oltre la pura curiosità, dal momento che sto terminando la ristrutturazione del mio appartamento e mi sento molto più coinvolto degli anni passati. Ma questa è una facecnda personale, e immagino non interessi a nessuno.

Il Fuorisalone è il lato “non ufficiale” del Salone Internazionale del Mobile, e offre una serie di eventi in diverse parti di Milano, incluse alcuni luoghi prestigiosi o nascosti. La lista conta quasi 1,500 eventi, sparsi in giro per il centro di Milano: Brera, Isola, l’Università Statale, 5 Vie, Lambrate e Tortona sono tra le zone a più famose e con la più alta densità di eventi, ma più o meno ogni parte della città ha qualcosa da offrire.

Sotto al tag Fuorisalone 2017 posto il mio personale sguardo sulle varie mostre, installazioni, eventi e tutto ciò che può essere considerato “design”. Se non ne avete abbastanza, potete anche guardare le foto degli eventi delle passate edizioni qui (2016) e qui (2015).

Il chiostro della chiesa di San Simpliciano è uno dei posti da vedere di ogni Fuorisalone: già il luogo è fantastico, e il contrasto dato dal design contemporaneo dei tappeti Nodus rispetto all’architettura del vecchio chiostro è qualcosa di perfetto. Inoltre, questo è un angolo di tranquillità (almeno, così era oggi) dalla folla impazzita del Brera Design District, una delle zone principali dove trovare eventi, mostre e installazioni.

 

0 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest
Newer Posts