One More Photo From The Istanbul Marathon

Istanbul (Turkey). In these days I’m posting many photos about the Vodafone Istanbul Marathon (they are all collected under a common tag). The reason is simple: I have lived in Istanbul for many years, and the marathon is one of the best event for capturing very interesting photos; not only of the city – although the landscape from the Bosphorus Bridge is quite extraordinary – but also of people, which gather on the bridge to walk freely and enjoy an unusual Sunday morning.

And – as a photographer – I think that the best observatory point is exactly the mid of the bridge between the two traffic lanes. Well, I admit one reason is due to my addiction for symmetries. But it’s not only for that: I also love to see the human flow coming toward me and observe every single person, alone or in a group. In the behavior of them I try to understand their relationship with the city and, in a wider view, with the whole country. As I already wrote in one of my previous posts about the Istanbul Marathon, the bridge – which normally is a “transit place” to connect two continents – the day of the marathon becomes a gathering place, the place-to-be where people meet “to-be-there” and externalize their feelings, emotions, sentiments, passions and so on.

This Sunday morning Istanbul will meet on the Bosphorus Bridge (the first one). It would be a mistake not being there…

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At Charles de Gaulle Airport (Terminal 2F)

Paris (France). There are many ways to spend time in an airport before catching an airplane. There are those spending money at the duty free shop, those buying the last souvenirs, those relaxing in the lounge… and those, like me, who have fun taking some photos. In this case I was at the Terminal 2F of Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, which captures the passengers’ attention with its ceiling made of steel and glass. And not only of passengers, since the U2 themselves have chosen this location to stage the clip of their song “Beautiful Day”.

Parigi. Ci sono tanti modi diversi per passare il tempo in un aeroporto prima di prendere un aereo. C’è chi spende soldi al duty free, c’è chi compra gli ultimi souvenirs, c’è chi si riposa nelle lounge… e c’è chi come me si diverte a scattare qualche foto. In questo caso ero al Terminal 2F dell’aeroporto Charles de Gaulle di Parigi, che con la sua copertura in vetro e acciaio cattura molto l’attenzione dei viaggiatori. E non solo la loro, dal momento che anche gli U2 hanno scelto questo luogo per girare il video della loro canzone Beautiful Day.

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Afternoon at the Museo del Novecento

Milan (Italy). After a rainy Saturday in Florence, I think I deserved a wonderful sunny Monday (April 25th is bank holiday in Italy) in Milan! I spent some hours between Palazzo Reale and the Museo del Novecento: the first one is currently hosting a very interesting exhibition about Umberto Boccioni, an Italian painter and sculptor, known for being a main actor of the Futurism movement (his works are exhibited at several prestigious museums including the MoMA and the Metropolitan Museum in New York); the second one, among some works from Boccioni himself, includes works (paintings and sculptures) made by artists from the XX Century such as De Chirico, Modigliani, Kandinskij, Klee and many others.

It was not my first time at the Museo del Novecento, but this is such a beautiful place that it is worth more than one single visit. And not only for its paintings and sculptures, but also for the building interior design, with a spiral staircase which brings the visitors from the ticket booth to the museum entrance, and for its arrangement on several floors, ending at the top of the building where a wonderful windowed room offers an unique landscape over the Cathedral’s Square.

Of course, once arrived here I captured many photos, including some without anyone (I went there late afternoon, when the museum was going to close). But at the end I selected this one because the presence of some people doing different things (chatting, photographing or simply watching the fantastic landscape) makes it more “alive”, more realistic, more dynamic. As usual, I found my “comfort zone” trying to find the room symmetry, exalted by the geometric weft of the windows’ frame. Out of the window, the Milan Cathedral and the arch of the Vittorio Emanuele’s Gallery – with an intense blue sky in the background.

As said, I found in this scene – with its light and colors – an opportunity for people, architecture and landscape photography at the same time and the perfect (and well-deserved) compensation after a rainy weekend in Florence!

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Fuorisalone 2016 (Milan Design Week) – 50 Manga Chairs by Oky Sato / Nendo 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.

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I Was Walking Around Milan, When I Pointed My Camera Through A High Window and…

Milan (Italy). As the title says, I was walking around Milan today – more or less it was lunch time – when I noticed a high window above my head. It was open…

To be honest, I knew what was behind that window, but still I wanted to “steal” a photo of the interior. I have been loving this place – the cloister of San Simpliciano Basilica – since the first time I saw it. It’s such a magic location in the heart of Milan, so peaceful and “disconnected” from the hectic life out there, with the colonnade surrounding a wonderful garden.

During the Design Week, it’s normally used for some expositions and installations and for this reason is packed with people. Today no, the cloister was empty and “the silence coming from the interior” is what captured my attention. I took my camera, I brought it above my head to reach the high window and I took this photo.

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The Ceiling of Nostra Donna Church in Pontremoli

Pontremoli (Italy). I must admit: have a sort of obsession for ceilings (here there are some samples from this blog) and I consider  myself a lucky person because sometimes I find great ones during my trips! Those who have seen me taking photos, can witness that I stay long time curved to find the perfect symmetry above my head: indeed photography is a great passion, and for a passion you can do everything, including painful things 🙂

Anyhow, let me stick on this photo, just to provide some information (well, I don’t have too much to say… just look at it!). This is the ceiling of Nostra Donna Church in Pontremoli: I visited it some weeks ago, and although it was not my first time there, still I noticed that it’s impossible not to remain amazed by this place! It totally captures your eyes, not only with its unusual shape, but also for its decorations on the walls and – of course – on the ceiling.

When I took this photo, the light was quite uniformly illuminating it, so the conditions were perfect for capturing this triumph of colors and scenes. If you have the opportunity to come to Pontremoli and visit the Church of Nostra Donna, do not forget to watch above your head: you will be truly amazed and you will understand my “obsession”! You can trust me…

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Obsessed by Geometries

Tbilisi (Georgia). Can geometry be an obsession? Can someone be addicted to find the perfect line of symmetry in whatever is in front of his eyes? I’m talking about myself: I must admit that I’m quite obsessed by geometries, even when I do not have my camera in my hands. There’s a sense of self-confidence in the perfection of geometries, something that relaxes my eyes and my mind.

I was crossing the famous Bridge of Peace in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. It’s a pedestrian bridge, designed by Michele De Lucchi, a famous Italian architect. This bridge is characterized by a very geometric structure made of glass and steel, and my concentration was immediately captured by this ceiling. I decided to develop this image in black & white because I wanted to stress the shape of the structure against the sky and to make it look like a net that captures the observer – being or not obsessed by geometries.

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The British Museum in London

London (United Kingdom). What does make the beauty of a museum? I mean: saying that a museum is a beautiful one, what can be the main reasons? Have you ever questioned yourself about it? I did it, and I still do it basically every time I visit a museum – which luckily happens quite often because I love going to a museum.

But before giving my answer I want to say something I noticed, and that appears to me quite as a nonsense: for several people (perhaps the majority) the beauty of a museum is given by the number of famous authors (painters, sculptors etc.) exhibiting there. And unavoidably, the result  is that a museum with ten Picasso is better than another one with only two. Isn’t it absurd? Oh yes, definitely it is; but it’s also true. So, the consequence is that visitors are much more concentrated on the small label with the title and the author of a painting, than on the painting itself! And they spend the whole visit at a museum curved down on the low corner of the frame, admiring the name of some famous author, without putting their eyes on what could be a masterpiece of art’s history.

For the same reason, I love when I visit a museum and I see someone standing in front of a canvas or a sculpture, writing or sketching on a notepad: it’s a totally different approach, much deeper and in intimate relationship with art…

Anyhow, coming back to my initial question: what makes the beauty of a museum? To me, one of the key elements is its architecture: the visit to a museum is a pleasure not only for what it includes, but also for the spaces where the visitors walk. For this reason I loved the Fondazione Prada in Milan, where people walk in a former industrial site, completely reinvented but with well visible the traits of some structures used in the past to produce spirits. And of course I loved the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris, designed by Frank Gehry with his typical futuristic concept of structures. But one of my favorites and that I loved most is the British Museum (in the picture, the Queen Elizabeth II Great Court), with its striking ceiling designed by Sir Norman Foster (based on Foster’s concept for the roof of the Reichstag in Berlin, Germany).

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The Municipal Building in Piazza Unità d’Italia in Trieste

Trieste (Italy). I have already written in my previous post about the Central European soul of Trieste, and how it perfectly coexists with the Mediterranean one. Here is a clear example!

This photo has been taken in Piazza Unità d’Italia, one of the most suggestive squares I have ever seen, and which recaps very well the coexistence between these different souls of Trieste. Standing at the center of the square, in front of the Municipal Building’s facade, it’s impossible not being amazed by the majestic and imposing architectural styles, which bring the mind to buildings in Vienna or Budapest. These buildings – not only the Municipal one, but also the close Palazzo del Governo photographed here – make feel all their presence and austerity to people, as if they want to remind when Trieste was the Austro-Hungarian Empire’s south outlet and the main maritime emporium of the Mediterranean region.

Yet, an observer turning over and looking behind his shoulders will see that this square has a side which is completely free. It’s the sea…

I had the privilege of visiting another square, as beautiful as this one, characterised by an empty side on the sea that enhances the magic: I’m talking about Praça do Comercio in Lisbon. Those who have visited both Piazza Unità d’Italia in Trieste and Praça do Comercio in Lisbon will take very short time to connect these two places (although the second one is more exactly on a river – the Tejo – in its last part before flowing into the sea). Both of them are conceptually and architectonically very beautiful, but are also characterised by an incredible light.

The light that few cities – and Trieste is among them – have, and that make photography something able to give unique emotions.

Trieste. Ho già parlato in questo mio post precedente dell’anima Mitteleuropea di Trieste e di come questa conviva perfettamente con quella Mediterranea. Ecco un bellissimo esempio!

Questa foto è stata scattata in Piazza Unità d’Italia, una delle piazze più suggestive che abbia mai visitato e che sintetizza benissimo questa coesistenza tra le anime diverse di Trieste. Ponendosi al centro, davanti alla facciata del Municipio, è impossibile non restare affascinati dai maestosi e imponenti stili architettonici che rimandano agli edifici di Vienna o di Budapest. I palazzi – non solo questo del Municipio, in foto; ma anche il vicino Palazzo del Governo – fanno sentire tutta la loro presenza, la loro austerità, quasi a ricordare quando Trieste era lo sbocco a sud del potente Impero Austro-Ungarico e il principale emporio marittimo del Mediterraneo.

Eppure, basta che chi osserva si giri e guardi dietro le proprie spalle per vedere che la piazza ha un lato completamente vuoto. E’ il mare…

Ho avuto la fortuna di vedere un’altra piazza altrettanto bella e famosa, caratterizzata da un’apertura sul mare che ne esalta la magia: è Praça do Comercio a Lisbona. Chi conosce sia Piazza Unità d’Italia a Trieste che Praça do Comercio a Lisbona ci mette poco a collegarle (sebbene la seconda sia più propriamente su un fiume – il Tejo – nel suo ultimo tratto prima di incontrare il mare). Entrambe non sono solo concettualmente e architettonicamente bellissime, ma sono anche caratterizzate da una luce incredibile.

Quella luce che poche città – e Trieste è una di queste – hanno, e che rende la fotografia un qualcosa in grado di dare soddisfazioni uniche.

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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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