Category:

Architecture

Photographing Milan (Taking Off From Linate Airport)

Milan (Italy – but on the way to Paris, France). I’m a frequent flyer to Paris from Milan: usually, mine are just business trips, and unfortunately they are too short to let me walk free, photographing around Paris (the “Ville Lumiere”). For this reason, I normally don’t bring any of my cameras with me – except the Ricoh GR, which is always with me in my suit pocket.

However, some days before – when I was visiting a photographic exhibition – I noticed an old black and white picture of Milan, taken (I guessed) from an airplane. I thought at the end, that landscape deserved to be photographed, even for the simple purpose of documenting the urban development of probably the most vibrant and dynamic city in Italy.

So, while the plane was moving from the parking area to the take-off strip, I prepared my camera expressly brought to capture this image (for the occasion, I decided to use a Summarit-M 1:2.5/90 mm lens) and a few seconds after leaving the ground, I was at the to take aerial photos of Milan under me. And frankly speaking, considering the window (and the glass, which is not the highest quality one – in photographic terms), I think I can be satisfied.


Milano (Italia – ma sulla rotta per Parigi, Francia). Mi capita spesso di volare da Milano a Parigi: di solito si tratta di viaggi per motivi di lavoro, e purtroppo sono sempre talmente brevi da non darmi modo di farmi un fotografico per la Ville Lumiere. Per questo, evito di portarmi la macchina fotografica (giusto la Ricoh GR che ho sempre con me nella tasca della giacca).

Tuttavia, alcuni giorni fa mentre visitavo una mostra fotografica, ho visto una vecchia foto di Milano, in bianco e nero, scattata dall’alto (presumibilmente da un aereo). Ho pensato che alla fine, quel panorama meritava una fotografia, anche per il solo fatto di documentare il cambiamento urbanistico di quella che forse è la città più dinamica d’Italia.

E così, mentre l’aereo muoveva dal parcheggio alla pista di decollo, ho preparato la mia macchina fotografica appositamente portata per scattare questa immagine (per l’occasione ho deciso di usare un obbiettivo Summarit-M 1:2.5/90 mm) e pochi secondi dopo aver lasaciato terra, ero al finestrino che scattavo foto aeree di Milano sotto di me. E sinceramente, nonostante appunto il finestrino (il cui vetro non è certo della miglior qualità – in termini fotografici) penso di potermi ritenere soddisfatto…

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Domes and Minarets From Hagia Sophia in Istanbul

Istanbul (Turkey). I have probably taken this photo five or six times in the past years, basically I shoot it every time I have the opportunity to visit Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya in Turkish). This landscape is what you can see from a small hidden window at the upper floor of the former basilica, which was converted into a mosque and now is (and hopefully it will remain) a museum.

This is probably one of the most typical photos of Istanbul, and despite this fact it’s still not annoying at all for me. I consider the Blue Mosque somehow framed between two domes of Hagia Sophia one of the most beautiful skyline in the world. And beyond this, it is also a very “symbolic” image of the former Constantinople, today Istanbul.

So, if you are planning to visit Istanbul – and I’m sure you will include Hagia Sophia in your itinerary – do not forget to look for this small window and to watch outside through it: a significant portion of Istanbul’s history will be displayed in front of your eyes.

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Sala Azionisti – Edison S.p.A.

Milan (Italy). Having the office in a historical building in the heart of Milan – although I spend here most of the time – has for sure several pros. One of them is represented by prestigious architectures that decorate and embellish what otherwise would be an anonymous working environment.

The “Shareholders’ Meeting Room” (in Italian: Sala Azionisti) at Edison S.p.A. headquarter is a perfect example to demonstrate what I’m trying to explain. Some days ago I finally had the opportunity to photograph this prestigious room, where there is one of the most beautiful ceilings I have ever seen in my life. It is a finely decorated polychrome glass dome, built in 1922 by the Italian manufacturing company “Corvaya & Bazzi” with a special decorative technique named “tubage”.

Tubage was very popular at the beginning of 1900s, but unfortunately the Second World War made most of the companies working with this technique disappear – and with them, their skills and expertise. Today some specialized companies are able to reproduce this technique, which basically consists of decorating using a syringe filled with a special paste, covering the work with a transparent enamel and tempering the surface at high temperatures.

Unfortunately, the Edison Shareholders’ Meeting Room it’s not a free access place, unless there are some public events. You can check it here, just in case!

 

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Fuorisalone 2016 (Milan Design Week) – Baccarat Lumieres Out Of The Box at Brera Distric

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 photo posted here has been taken at the Baccarat stand inside the Accademia di Brera Museum: I like shooting this type of subject, it is a nice exercise, given the high contrast between light and darkness… The title of the stand is “Baccarat – Lumières Out of the Box” and these chandeliers – designed by the Dutch designer Marcel Wanders, also known by his iconic Knotted Chair – are the spheric version (therefore very difficult to realise) of the legendary Baccarat model “Zenith”.

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Palazzo Dugnani a Milano (dal Parco di Via Palestro)

Milan (Italy). The wonderful seventeenth (the initial body) and eighteenth (the expansion) century Palazzo Dugnani photographed from the Via Palestro Park, today named after Indro Montanelli. Hidden corners of Milan – a city that is never known enough – that are worth being contemplated.


Milano. Il bellissimo secentesco (di base, ma settecentesco come sviluppo) Palazzo Dugani fotografato dai Giardini di Via Palestro, oggi conosciuti anche con il nome di Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli. Angoli nascosti di Milano – mai abbastanza conosciuta – che meritano di essere contremplati.

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Moscow International Business Center

Moscow (Russia). Last night I was going through some old photos taken almost one year ago during a trip to Moscow, and I found this image posted here. It’s not one of my favorite, since it has been taken in a tough situation: I was without a tripod in a low light environment and it was extremely cold (I remember it was going to snow!). One of the things that makes me particularly nervous, it is the fact that I photographed this complex of skyscrapers from their feet and in complete darkness (not the best observatory point and situation to enhance this type of skyline and its architectures) and that I had to cut the latest two floors of the “Naberezhnaya Tower”.

However, while I was watching it, I thought that it was still able to give an idea about what I wanted to show: the new raising city of Moscow. This is the Moscow International Business Center (known also as Moscow IBC or Moscow City), one of the most interesting areas under development in the world, with investments for 12 billions of dollars, 300,000 people working and living here, and 6 skyscrapers above 300 meters of height (including the 374 m Federation Tower, at that time still under construction).

But the most interesting skyscraper – and I must admit it stands out in the skyline not only for its shape, but also for its enlightenment – is the Evolution Tower (right, 255 m high), in which each floor is 3 degrees rotated versus the previous one, for a total rotation of 135 degrees: a sort of huge DNA chain, to symbolize the relationships among human beings, families and generations, designed by Tony Kettle and Karen Forbes and already become a landmark of the new Moscow.


Mosca. Ieri sera stavo riguardando alcune vecchie foto di un viaggio fatto a Mosca circa un anno fa, e ho ritrovato questa immagine. Non è tra le mie preferite, dal momento che è stata scattata in condizioni non ottimali: poca luce, senza treppiede, ma soprattutto con un gran freddo (ricordo che stava per nevicare!). Una delle cose che maggiormente mi infastidisce è l’aver fotografato il complesso di grattacieli così da sotto e al buio, e l’aver dovuto tagliare gli ultimi due piani della “Naberezhnaya Tower”.

Però, riguardandola, ho pensato che riesce ugualmente a dare un’idea di ciò che volevo far vedere, della nuova Mosca che sta nascendo. Si tratta del Moscow International Business Center (conosciuto anche come Moscow IBC o come Moscow City), una delle aree di sviluppo immobiliare più interessanti del mondo, con 12 miliardi di dollari di investimenti, 300,000 persone che ci vivono o ci lavorano, e con ben 6 grattacieli che superano i 300 metri di altezza (tra cui la Federation Tower, all’epoca ancora in costruzione e alta 374 m).

Ma il grattacielo sicuramente più interessante – e che devo ammettere spicca non solo per la forma, ma anche per la sua illuminazione – è la Evolution Tower (a destra, 255 metri) in cui ogni piano viene ruotato di 3 gradi rispetto al precedente, per una rotazione totale di 135 gradi: una sorta di grande DNA che simboleggia i rapporti tra individui, famiglie e generazioni, pensato dagli architetti Tony Kettle e Karen Forbes e diventato uno dei simboli della nuova Mosca.

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Fuorisalone 2016 (Milan Design Week) – Dragontrail By Asahi Glass at Superstudio Piú

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!

And the “Dragontrail™” photographed here is one of the results of this “eruption”: I captured it at Superstudio Più (Via Tortona): a nice subject to be photographed! The idea comes from AGC Asahi Glass, with Eisuke Tachikawa (Managing Director at Nosigner) and Izumi Okayasu, lighting designer. Together, they have created an installation incredibly light (looks like a crystal cloud), flexible and expressive; another strong “contradiction” (like the 50 Manga Chairs at San Simpliciano, from Japan too): transforming something of rigid and fragile (such as glass) into something of soft and flexible, simply using 5,000 small fragments and showing how this amorphous material can be treated and used.

The glass used for Dragontrail™ is the same one used for smartphones, tablets and other touch screens. Light, robust, flexible, resistant and scratch-proof: Dragontrail™ was a sort of microscopical view of the real structure of glass, able to make visitors incredibly small and to give them the possibility to appreciate this fantastic material.

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Ex Perfosfati (Stazione di Portogruaro)

Portogruaro (Italy). I have been watching this building for several years: every time I was arriving to or leaving from the small train station of Portogruaro (a town in the north east of Italy), my eyes were totally captured by this huge sample of industrial archaeology.

Surfing the web, I discovered some interesting things about this building. First of all, it dates back to 1949 (imagine: the Second World War was just finished and Italy was trying to resurrect) and it was built on a former industrial area operative since the beginning of the XX century. The shapes of the two ceiling were two huge paraboloids (37 meters wide, 28 meters high and 70 – the first building – or 90 meters long). These buildings were hosting the activities of the Perfosfati – a large Italian company specialized in producing fertilizers – and their operations ended in 1989, with the closure of the entire complex. Since then, the area was reclaimed (not completely, though) and then abandoned, as it is now.

However, – do not ask me why – I love these buildings! Behind their architecture and their shapes, there’s a long industrial history. The idea that every day hundreds of people were coming here to work, clashes dramatically with its current abandoned status. It looks like a “devastated cathedral” or a ghost town, but it contains the heritage of an industrial past and can therefore be seen as a monument to hundreds of workers that spent part of their life here.

For this reason, when some days ago I arrived here several minutes earlier than my train’s departure, and behind the building there was an amazing sunset coloring the cloudy sky of an intense red, I thought it was the perfect moment to capture this photograph. But I hope that the next photo I will take from here, will talk about the restoration (and development) of this abandoned area.

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