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Porta Nuova

Walking Toward New Architectures (Milano, Porta Nuova)

Milan (Italy). Taken last Saturday from Alvar Aalto square, a new place created with the requalification of the so called “Varesine” district. Sometimes I like coming here and shooting some photos around me. Not only because you can meet interesting people, everyone with a very personal style and doing different things: skaters, businessmen, hipsters (so many!), dancers, families, dog sitters and so on. But also because this mix of lifestyles is projected against the same background given by the new architectures of Porta Nuova, such as the UniCredit Tower (probably one of my most photographed landmark in Milan) but also the UniCredit pavilion, the Bosco Vericale (“Vertical Forest”), the Solaria Tower (at my back in this photo) and the less famous “E1-E2 building” (or “Porta Nuova buildign”, the one at the left).

I always find very inspiring contrasts here: every lifestyle has its own relationship with the urban environment, and each of them perfectly makes sense. The businessman perfectly fits with these architectures, and so does the hipster or the skater, as well as the dog sitter and the family. This means – to my eyes – “architectural versatility”: a great asset for a place, which has therefore the right characteristic for people integration.

 

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Landscape of Milan from the Terrazza Triennale

Milan (Italy). Some days ago I finally could go to the Terrazza Triennale – the terrace of the Triennale museum – a very popular place for an aperitif, with a great view on the park (Parco Sempione) and the new skyline of Milano (which I described here in detail).

I was not so impressed by the place itself: to be honest, the drink was nice but the Terrazza Triennale it is not the best “aperitivo in Milano”. A very nice list of gin bottles (it’s going to be a standard, but it’s good since – if you follow my posts – you should know that I’m a gin lover) with many top labels, and used not only for the classic gin tonic, but also for more elaborated cocktails. I was a bit annoyed by the waitress and by their inefficiency, probably due to a bad management of the bar (for example, first they served cocktails and after long time we received something to eat). I even gave a look to the menu for the dinner, but it was quite unappealing (and I heard bad comments about food).

What made this place special to my eyes is its view – and thank’s God I was back from the Fondazione Prada, so I had my camera with me! The sunset was P-E-R-F-E-C-T and while the sun was going down, its rays were coloring the facade of buildings at Porta Nuova. The trees of Parco Sempione were adding something to this fantastic landscape, giving the feeling that the skyline was de facto emerging from the forest in a very impressive contrast.

To capture this photo I used one of my favorite lens, an old glorious Nikon 55 mm f/1.2 Ai, which was badly damaged few hours earlier falling on the ground when I was at the Fondazione Prada (look here: I posted a photo on Instagram…). A bitter-sweet landscape…

 

 

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(Milan by Night) Porta Nuova District

Milan (Italy). It’s not the first time I capture some photographs of Porta Nuova district. And, especially at night, I find this area of Milan particularly exciting and inspiring. I find the contrast between the modern architectures of the UniCredit Tower – designed by the starchitect Cesar Pelli – and the blue dark skye in the background pretty nice.

Perhaps the Porta Nuova District is not yet a symbol of Milan, but I guess it will be soon one of the main city’s attractions, and not only for landscape photographers and architecture lovers. And I think that the skyline of Milan is more and more characterised by these lines.

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The Juggler at Porta Garibaldi Station in Milan

Milan (Italy). It’s very hot in Italy in these days, and in Milan – like in many other cities – people are suffering the high temperatures. Even simply walking around the city is tough! For this reason I was very impressed when some days ago, during a street photography shooting around Milan with my new Leica Q, I met this juggler. His job is making people at the crossroads smile, and he was putting all his energies to do it in the best possible way (and possibly raise some money). Believe me, it was really hot and he was completely sweaty.

After his performance, I met him and we had a short conversation. He told me his story: he’s from Sao Paulo in Brasil, but his life now is in Italy, where he lives happily with his wife and daughter. He explained me that his job does not consider the weather: it can be terribly cold (as it is in winter!) or extremely hot as in these days, it does not matter. Every day his mission is taking his “monocycle”, his tools and wait for the red light to start his performance and make people smile, eventually rendering their wait at the crossroad lighter.

When I watch this photograph, I like it because it shows people smiling while looking at him and therefore they give me the impression that they are enjoying his performance. Well done my juggler friend, I’m sure we will meet again at some crossroads around Milan!

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Let’s Listen to the Sound of Milan (City’s Voices, Alberto Garutti)

Milan (Italy). There are some afternoons during the weekend, in which I really love (well more then love, it’s a sort of need) to take one of my cameras, leave home and walk around randomly, without a specific destination or assignment. When I was living in Istanbul, I remember I used to go very frequently to Uskudar to take photos of people, landscapes, situations: it was a great way to fight against the stress accumulated during the week and relax a bit.

Being now in Milan, one of my favorite “walk around” areas here is the new site at Porta Nuova, with the UniCredit Tower and some other modern buildings such as the Bosco Verticale. The situation here is of course completely different from the one I was dealing with in Istanbul. In fact, photographing around Uskudar was mainly based on trying to capture the unique mix given by interesting people, a breathtaking landscape, and – sometimes – peculiar situations (to give an example: this is one of my favorite photos ever, taken on the Bosphorus seaside close to the Kiz Kulesi). Photographing around Porta Nuova and Piazza Gae Aulenti in Milan is a totally different situation, and when I’m there walking around, my attention is mostly captured by the architecture, and how it can influence the behavior of people spending their time there (many people gather here for a walk).

The photo posted here is an example: it’s an interesting artwork by Alberto Garutti. Several pipes – 23, to be exact, and they look like trumpets – connecting different floors of the building, and used by people to listen to the sounds from underground. The name is “City’s Voices”, and people show to appreciate them putting their ear to listen to the soft noise coming from the other floors (as said, “underground”).

I photographed this artwork using a Leica Q camera with its wonderful 28 mm Summilux lens: the perfect angle for situations like this one (in my opinion).

 

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